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FAQ – Cruising South Africa

All you need to know right here.

Here you will find answers to most of your questions regarding cruising in South Africa.
Click on the FAQ tabs to find your answers.

QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR SHUTTLES

Kindly click on the red dot to open / close a question.

SHUTTLE PRICES

The cost of a shuttle is R150 per person / per way.
Children under the age of 5 travel free.

This price includes:
* Passenger liability insurance of R30 million per incident.
* Porter service at both the airport and harbour.
* Free delivery of your bags to your cabin (usually late afternoon)
* Quick boarding at the harbour. (Save up to 2 hours in queues)
* 27 staff to make your boarding a breeze.

SHUTTLE DEPARTURE TIMES

FROM THE AIRPORT:
Buses depart the airport on the hour every hour from 08h00 to 12h00. On very busy days they will run as soon as they are filled.
You will need to register at our shuttle desk located outside the Mugg and Bean Restaurant first. There we will check your cruise documents and give you a shuttle pass.

FROM THE HARBOUR:
Buses depart from 06h00 to 09h00 on a ‘fill up and then go’ basis.
If you have booked your trip through us, you would have received a voucher via email or at our airport desk if you booked on arrival.
If you have booked your trip directly with MSC then you will receive a bus-pass under your door the evening before disembarking.
N.B. There are no buses in the harbour between 08h00 and 09h00.
They will return to collect passengers who have flight departures after 12h00. Passengers who have early flights are requested to disembark the ship first.

WHAT SIZE OF BUS DO YOU USE?

Generally, we use 60 – 70 seater buses.
We also make use of 7, 13, and 22 seater vehicles.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A BUS IS DELAYED?

We have no knowledge of how many people will arrive on a specific flight.
We also have no knowledge of how many passengers to expect on the day, as there are often many people who simply turn up unannounced.
However, in all our 28 years, not a single passenger has ever missed a cruise whilst travelling with us!
In the event of extreme numbers of passengers arriving unannounced, or traffic congestion along the way, (which is beyond our control) you could experience waiting times. We do our utmost to ensure that you get to the ship on time. We are in contact with the ship’s captain and keep him advised of any delay and he, in turn, will wait for us as we are the official transport operator to MSC Cruises. (MSC will not wait for passengers arriving late by other means)

N.B. The cruise terminal closes promptly at 13h30. No person will be allowed inside if they arrive after this time. (Exceptions for cruises departing after 15h00) 

WHAT HAPPENS IF A BAG IS MISSING?

Luggage handling is a huge operation! Thankfully, not many bags go missing.

  • Each piece of luggage must have an MSC Luggage Tag attached to it. (We will do this for you so please do not cut/tear them out of your cruise  documents)
  • At the airport, you are responsible to take your luggage to the bus and hand it to a porter who will carefully load it for you. 
  • At the harbour, please remain seated on the bus until all luggage is loaded onto the ship’s trolleys and our staff will take them to security on your behalf.
  • From security, the port authority will take them on board and to your cabin.

Should you not find your bag in your cabin by 17h00, please go to the reception and enquire. (It could be that a tag had fallen off). They will investigate and call us to do the same.
We then check all our vehicles for your bag. If we find it, we will deliver it to the MSC Office at the port. 
You will be able to claim from your travel insurance included in your fare. Over and above this, we offer a maximum of R2000 compensation per bag to partly cover the expense of purchasing necessities on board, providing that we are found to be at fault – which is very rare for us!) You will be required to sign a waiver should you accept the compensation in cash on arrival back in Durban. (Airlines only offer R600)

DO YOU CATER FOR THE MOBILITY CHALLENGED?

Unfortunately, the answer is NO!
It is difficult to climb up the stairs of a shuttle bus.
However, we can arrange a private transfer in a combi with a CHAIR LIFT for the challenged passenger along with 3 guests. The cost of this transfer is R980 per vehicle per way from the airport to the harbour.
This quality service is bookable through this website.

ARE YOUR SHUTTLES LEGAL?

YES!

  • Our buses all have permits from the Dept. of Transport to carry paying passengers.
  • Government requires a R1 million passenger liability cover. We have R30 million cover.
  • All our drivers possess a professional driving permit issued by the traffic department.
DO YOU COMPLY WITH COVID-19 REGULATIONS?

YES!

  • At both the harbour and airport we have sanitizing stations available.
  • We also have gloves and masks available for purchase.
  • All our vehicles are sanitized after each trip.
  • N.B. No person will be boarded without a mask applied to the mouth and nose.
  • All passengers will need to have their temperature taken prior to boarding the bus.
  • Screening of every passenger is done according to the Dept. of Health regulations.
  • Passengers who refuse any screening will not be allowed to board.
DO YOU GIVE REFUNDS?

YES – But Terms and Conditions Apply!

  • Refunds are only given to pre-booked services and with a 2-week notice.
  • Tickets bought on the day do not qualify for refunds.
  • Should a cruise be canceled by MSC or the Government, no refunds are applicable. Instead, you will be awarded an advance booking credit which you may use on another cruise. This credit is valid for one calendar year.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A VEHICLE BREAKS DOWN?

Breakdowns can happen at any time! We are not immune to this 🙁
Air Conditioners – This is a common problem in Durban as at times it is far too hot to cool a bus down effectively. This is thankfully a rare occurrence for us.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A BAG HAS ITEMS MISSING?

At the outset let us be very clear. Cruising SA staff are NEVER in a position to steal anything from your bag!

Sadly, the airline luggage handlers are renowned for looking inside bags. Although ACSA does have security cameras, on occasion they do not work.
The port has security cameras too, and they too do not always work.

Please report any missing items from your luggage to the Reception staff on board ship. They will notify the port manager to investigate.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR MSC CRUISE

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DO I REQUIRE A PASSPORT TO CRUISE?

If you are on a cruise to nowhere, you only need your ID and children U18 years need an UNABRIDGED Birth Certificate from home affairs showing both parent’s details.

ON ALL OTHER CRUISES YOU WILL NEED A PASSPORT!
Passports must be valid and the expiry date must be more than 6 months after your arrival back in South Africa.
Children U18 will need a passport AND an UNABRIDGED Birth Certificate from Home Affairs.

DO I REQUIRE A VISA TO CRUISE?

South African passport holders do not require a visa if travelling within SADAC countries (Mocambique, Mauritius, Namibia)

Visas are required for most other countries. Ask your agent if you require a visa when making a booking!

DO I REQUIRE TRAVEL INSURANCE?

YES!

If you are a South African cruising locally, you do not require your own travel insurance. Travel Insurance is included in your MSC fare.

If you are cruising the Med or the Caribbean for example you will need your own travel insurance.

 

PHOTO SHOP & GALLERY

Photography
An on-board Photo Service is available throughout your cruise. Professional photographers will capture the highlights of your cruise both on board and ashore, and record anniversaries, and other special moments. You can view their work at your leisure in the Photo Gallery. The Photo Manager will also be happy to discuss any specific requirements you may have.

Portraits
Our photographers can also create portraits of you and your family or friends using a variety of high quality studio backgrounds or setting up at key locations throughout the ship, such as the Grand Staircase. No appointment is required. All portraits will be displayed in the Photo Gallery and are available for you to purchase during the cruise.

Video DVD Service
A dedicated team of skilled videographers is on hand to video special events during the cruise. They also accompany guests on excursions, capturing the memorable places visited on video. At the end of each cruise, the team produces a special video record of your cruise on DVD, which may be purchased at the Photo Gallery.

Retail products
A wide range of products to satisfy all your photographic and video needs can be purchased in the Photo Gallery. As well as films, batteries, there is a wide selection of digital cameras and video cameras at duty free prices. Our photo team is available to offer advice, answer your questions and help you select the right equipment for your needs and budget.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE CABINS?

External cabins feature a porthole or a balcony, while internal ones does not have a window.

CAN I MAKE A CALL FROM MY CABIN?

Yes, at no cost if the call is to other cabins or to the ship’s facilities (i.e. shops, Guest Services, SPA). For outside calls, a fee will be charged on your on board account; rates and instructions are available on board.

CAN I HAVE MEALS IN MY CABIN?

Yes, in-cabin breakfast is served every morning (except on disembarkation day) from 7am to 10am. It is included in the Fantastica, Aurea and Yacht Club experiences, while it carries a fee of €/$3.50 for Bella. A doorknob menu is available in the cabin. To order breakfast select the items required and leave the menu hanging on the doorknob outside the cabin the night before.

WHAT FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR KIDS?

All ships feature a Mini Club for children from 3 to 6 year old; Juniors Club from 7 to 11; Young Club from 12 to 14;  and Teens Club from 15 to 17. Additionally, babies from 6 months to 3 years old can play at the Mini Club with their parents and follow the MSC Babytime programme. Parents can leave babies between 1 and 3 with the youth staff at the Mini Club and enjoy the MSC Babycare playing activities. All children can be signed up to the Clubs at no cost.

IS THERE AN ON BOARD LAUNDRY SERVICE?

Yes, there is an on board laundry service, available for a fee. A price list is provided in the cabin, or by calling 99 from the telephone in your cabin.

WHICH KIND OF ACTIVITIES CAN I FIND ON BOARD?

The following activities are regularly scheduled across the fleet: 
professional  dance classes;  fitness  classes ; pool games; arts & crafts; dance nights; team games;  theme parties;  board games; karaoke; talent contests; fun nights; quizzes; sports activities (ask the entertainment staff for more details).

DO I NEED TO BOOK FOR THE THEATRE?

MSC Cruises has built large theatres on all ships to ensure every guests has a comfortable, quality seat. Guests can attend one of the two nightly seating plans, which are identical to the restaurant service seating plans. Performances are repeated twice per evening, which means there is room for everyone. On board of the renewed MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica ships, there can be up to three seating’s for the evening shows. On these ships it is possible to book your preferred seating.

WHAT ABOUT INTERNET ACCESS?

hen at sea, it is not possible to access the internet using a high-speed broadband connection as you would on land. Instead, internet connectivity on board is provided by links between the ship and communications satellites in orbit far above the Earth.

Your internet data needs to travel vast distances between the ship’s antennae and the nearest satellite, and it needs an unobstructed line of sight between them.
A number of things may interfere with this, like storms and large objects that can block the signal, such as steep mountains close to the ship or tall buildings in ports. This interference can result in slow response times or even the system becoming unresponsive.

Satellite Internet Access is available in all public areas of the ship and in most cabins, including all MSC Yacht Club suites. All you need is one of our Satellite Internet Access packages and a mobile internet device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.).

Why is satellite internet access more expensive than a normal connection on land?

Providing internet access on board via the ship’s satellite connectivity involves significant investment in cutting-edge technology. The fees charged to those using the Satellite Internet Access service help cover the considerable costs of providing the service

FOOD ALLERGIES/INTOLERANCES?

Guests with food intolerances and/or allergies must inform MSC Cruises of their needs via the Special Needs Form and, once on board, confirm their requirements at Reception-Guest Service and/or with the Maître d’hôtel. MSC Cruises has obtained a certification from Bureau Veritas to provide gluten-free menus worldwide (food code: 20 ppm) in the main restaurants of MSC Preziosa, MSC Divina, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica.

Gluten-free menus are also available on MSC Meraviglia. 

On Lirica class guests can find only pre-packaged gluten-free snacks such as, biscuits, croissants, sponge cakes and muffins. Once, MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview and MSC Bellissima are launched, we will complete the certification process with Bureau Veritas that will allow us to offer gluten-free menus on these ships as well. So please check availability of gluten-free menus at time of booking.


Pre-packed Kosher meals*
 and high-quality Halal products (beef, lamb and poultry) are available if requested at least two months before departure. 

*Kosher meals may be available on board following former requests of the guest at least two months before departure for an additional charge starting from €25 p.p. to be confirmed at the time of booking.

MINI & JUNIORS CLUB

You and your children are about to embark on a vacation filled with new experiences and good times! So, as parents, you can relax and enjoy some quality time by yourselves, knowing that your children are in safe, expert hands.

Fill in the form and enroll your child in the MSC Mini & Juniors Club to get a head start on the fun! 

Please note that this is not an automatic online registration form. Please complete and print the form to save time upon embarkation . You and your child will still need to visit the MSC Mini & Juniors Club staff once onboard to complete registration.

WHAT ARE THE SERVICE CHARGES?

During your cruise, you will meet staff throughout the ship who provide you with excellent service. They are supported by just as many staff and crew who work hard behind the scenes to ensure you enjoy every moment onboard. For your convenience MSC Cruises will automatically add a daily Hotel Service Charge to your shipboard account, based on your chosen itinerary and the number of days for which the services are actually provided.
The Hotel Service charge serves to ensure we maintain the highest quality standards of service to our guests. The daily amounts below have been calculated with this in mind and cannot be modified. However, should you wish to remove any of the daily Hotel Service Charge in the unlikely event that you do not receive satisfactory service, you may do so by contacting the Guest Relations Manager on board. If you wish, the daily Service Charge for your cruise can be added to the price of your cruise at the time of booking, rather than added to your onboard account during the cruise. Please let your booking agent know if you would like to add the Service Charge to your cruise price.

Tips
MSC Cruises does not recommend tipping individual members of staff.

Bar Service Charge
A 15% Bar Service Charge is automatically added to all purchases.

IS SMOKING ALLOWED ON BOARD?

In line with global standards, smoking areas on board are fewer than non-smoking areas and are indicated by signage and ashtrays. 

Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not permitted in cabins, on cabin balconies and anywhere not expressly indicated by signage and ashtrays. 

The Company reserves the right to levy a fee should passengers be found smoking in non-designated areas of the vessel.  Repeatedly smoking in non-smoking areas can ultimately lead to disembarkation. 

We remind you that throwing cigarette butts or anything else overboard at sea is strictly prohibited as it may seriously put your safety at sea in danger.

WHAT MEDICAL SERVICES ARE ON BOARD?

The ship has a medical facility staffed by a Doctor and nursing personnel. This is a private service and all consultations are charged for. Please note that the medical facility does not operate as a pharmacy and a consultation with the Doctor is required prior to any medicine being dispensed. We highly recommend that you take all necessary medications onboard with you. 

Please also be advised to check with your Medical Aid Scheme prior to departure whether they will reimburse you for any visits to the Doctor on board realising that the Doctor is not a South African Doctor and does not have a practice number, and that you will be within International waters at the time of visiting the onboard Doctor. We are not able to provide any Doctors Reports/Practice number.

IS WI-FI AVAILABLE ON BOARD?

YES. It does however come at an extra cost.

WHAT ARE THE SHIP'S PHONE NUMBERS?

MSC ORCHESTRA
00870 7661 120 770
00870 761 120 775

 MSC OPERA
00870 773 925 400
00870 773 925 401

MSC MUSICA
00870 764 614 351
00870 764 614 354

 

 

 

ARE SUN LOUNGERS AVAILABLE ON BOARD?

Sun loungers are available free of charge for all passengers, although they cannot be reserved. Guests are kindly requested not to occupy deck-chairs and sun loungers with personal items during any long absences (more than 30 minutes). Beach towels are available in the cabins. These should be returned in cabins after use. Unreturned pool towels may be charged to the on-board accounts of guests.. 

The Exclusive Solarium on the top deck of each ship offers a private enclave of relaxation. Spa, jacuzzi and bar services are also provided in the Exclusive Solarium area on some ships.

WHAT IS A 'DAILY PROGRAMME'?

It is a detailed programme which is delivered to the cabin every evening for the following day. It includes important information about life on board, nautical peculiarities, timings of activities, dining, facilities, phone directory and more. It also contains full information on the activities and entertainment presented by the entertainment staff. 

Guests will also receive the Daily Specials, listing the special offers and promotions available the following day. Copies are also available at the Reception-Guest Service.

WHAT PAYMENT METHODS ARE AVAILABLE?

All on board purchases can be made with the personal cruise card, eliminating the need to carry cash or credit cards on board. After embarking and collecting the Cruise Card from your cabin, You should activate it for onboard purchases by self-registering your credit/debit/prepaid card at one of the Cruise Card Activation Points. You can do this independently, at any time from embarkation until 11:00pm the following day, at any of the Cruise Card Activation Points located around the ship. These new devices let you register your card simply, rapidly and securely. Please note that you will be asked to enter the PIN number. Alternatively, you can leave cash deposit at the Reception – Guest Service.

HOW DO I SETTLE MY ONBOARD ACCOUNT?

You can settle your final bill in any of the following three ways:


By credit card

The following credit cards are accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Diners, JCB, Discover and American Express. If you choose to pay by credit card, your account will be closed automatically at the end of the cruise, so there is no need to go to the Reception – Guest Service.


By debit or prepaid card 

You should make sure that your debit/prepaid card is enabled for use abroad. The following debit cards are accepted: Maestro, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, MasterCard debit Any amount debited to your card and not spent during your cruise will be reimbursed in cash at the Reception – Guest Service on the final morning before disembarkation.


In cash

Any amount deposited in cash and not spent during the cruise will be reimbursed in cash at the Reception – Guest Service on the final morning before disembarkation. Please note that personal cheques are not accepted. For cruises in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Antilles, Dubai, the Emirates and Oman, as well as MSC Grand Voyages departing from Europe, the onboard currency is the Euro (€). For cruises in the Caribbean, South America and South Africa, as well as MSC Grand Voyages going to Europe and to Australia, the onboard currency is the US Dollar ($).

Europe: EC Regulation 1889/2005 states that: “Any natural person entering or leaving the Community and carrying cash of a value of Euro 10,000 or more shall declare that sum to the competent authorities of the Member state through which he is entering or leaving the Community in accordance with this Regulation”.

Please consult your travel agent and/or the relevant authorities (embassies, consulates or other local authorities) to find out whether there are any other restrictions to carrying cash on your itinerary.

CAN I DRAW CASH ON BOARD?

All on board purchases can be made with the personal cruise card, eliminating the need to carry cash. A cash in advance service is available before departing and can be booked in your personal area. Book your cruise credit now so you’re ready to go as soon as you board. This credit can be used on board for shopping, relaxation or any other activity for the whole duration of your cruise.

In alternative, the service is available by registering a credit card on board account. This can only be done in the on board currency (euro or US dollars, depending on the itinerary), for a fee, set according to the itinerary.

WHAT EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE IN THE CABIN?

All cabins are equipped with a mini bar, TV, (Interactive TV only on Musica and Fantasia class ships), safe hairdryer, air conditioning and telephone.

WHAT ABOUT SAFETY ON BOARD?

Before we depart, there will be a compulsory emergency drill (or briefing, if you embark in a secondary port)
In accordance with the international Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS), you are all required to take part in the emergency drill, where you will learn the correct way to put on your life-jacket and the procedures to follow in the event of an emergency.

Children 0-12 years 
If you are travelling with infants or children under the age of 12 years, on embarkation they will be provided with an ID wristband which must be worn for the entire duration of the cruise. In the unlikely event of an emergency while your children are involved in children’s club activities, our staff will escort them to the Children’s Pick-up Area where they will wait for you to arrive and proceed with them to your Muster Station/Assembly Station.

Security protection  
Guests are protected by a comprehensive system of security, such as the MSC Cruises Access Control and Screening System, which requires proof of identity to access with tickets and on a pre-approved list. Also all luggage must pass through strict check-points, cabins are protected by locks and individually equipped with safe boxes, public areas are monitored by cameras, and highly trained Ship Security Officers continuously patrol the ship and are on emergency call 24/7.

Code of conduct 
We want every Guest to have a truly enjoyable cruise experience. Therefore, MSC Cruises does not tolerate any behavior affecting the comfort, health, safety, and security of other Guests or our crew. Please refer to the contract conditions for more details on this important policy.

CAN I BRING MEDICINES ON BOARD?

Yes. If possible, they should be carried in hand luggage. We also advise our guests to carry the list of medicines they intend to take on board with them, to allow on-board medical staff to provide assistance in the event of a medical emergency.

WHAT ENTERTAINMENT IS AVAILABLE FOR KIDS?

There are ad-hoc programmes designed for every age group, as well as sports competitions, contests, quizzes, treasure hunts, and games in the swimming pool. A fully-equipped games room is also available with a vast selection of toys selected according to the needs of each age group. These range from board games, draughts, chess, stencils, art, blackboards, modelling clay, colouring, group games and much more.

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Cruising SA (Pty) Ltd, Dreamweaver Holidays (Pty) Ltd and Touring SA are divisions of Dreamweaver Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
Dreamweaver Holdings (Pty) Ltd is a registered company in the Republic of South Africa, United Kingdom and the Philippines.

Head Office:  33 The Crescent, Hillary, Durban 4094. The Republic of South Africa.  Tel: +27 31 463 1681  Fax: +27 86 609 3778
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Our emergency Cell number for our vehicle controller:  072 874 0859

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N.B. The views and content displayed on this site belong to the person/party who submitted them, and Dreamweaver Holdings (Pty) Ltd. holds itself blameless for any inappropriate content or copyright infringement made by a member. As the cruise industry is constantly changing, all cruising quotes and cruising information supplied by us are subject to the final confirmation, upon the client’s final payment to the cruise company concerned. We do not accept any responsibility for any incorrect information given. E &OE. We operate as agents for our own account and offer our own specials over and above those of the various cruise companies whose products we sell.

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