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FAQs

1.

Q. What are the most important things to take with me?
Your ticket, passport, spending money, camera, sun cream and essential medication are the most important things to carry with you. When travelling internationally it is always advisable to carry copies of prescriptions for any scheduled medication you may be taking.

Note: Keep your passport on you as you need to present it to Immigration Officials before boarding ship.
Keep your medication (& prescriptions) and all valuable items on you or locked safely in your hand luggage.

 

Q. How much luggage can we take?
There is no weight restriction for cruising, but only luggage which can be carried over gangways and kept in a cabin is allowed on board. We recommend you take smaller bags so as not to clutter your cabin area.

When travelling internationally, please remember that the amount of luggage you can take will be restricted by the airline you are travelling on.

 

Q. Can my family and friends contact me when I am at sea?
Both the Melody and the Sinfonia have a Satellite telephone on board. This service is VERY expensive and should be used for emergencies only.

Melody Tel: Int. 00 870 335315710/ 635315710 
Sinfonia: Tel: Int. 00 870 335671611/621
Melody Fax: Int. 00 870 335315712/3
Sinfonia: Fax: Int. 00 870 335671614/23

For international cruises please contact us.

 

Q. How do I make sure I don't miss the boat"?
All passengers must embark at least 3 hours prior to sailing, please check the embarkation times on your tickets to ensure that you embark timeously.

Please make sure to book flights that allow you to arrive well in advance of your cruise departure in the event of flight delays. We recommend that you book flights which arrive at least 4 hours before your cruise departure and at least 4 hours after cruise disembarkation.

 

Q. What about Parking at Cape Town port?
Parking facilities are available at Duncan Dock, Eastern Mole 1, however this is not covered parking and we would highly recommend that passengers make alternative arrangements to be dropped off and picked up again after their cruise rather than park their cars there for the duration of their cruise.Â

Secure parking is available at the Breakwater Parking Garage that is located across from the V & A Waterfront Shopping Centre. The cost is approximately R80 per car per 24 hour period. This parking cannot be pre-booked and passengers are warned that it is some distance from Duncan Dock, E Berth.

 

Q. How do I get from Durban Airport to the Harbour and back?
There is a continuous transfer service between Durban Airport and the Port when the ship is in harbour.  Transfer tickets are on sale at the airport and the harbour at R110 per person each way, or give yourself peace of mind by phoning our Sales Offices and booking and pre-paying your transfers at least 7 days prior to departure in order to receive the tickets at the same time as your cruise tickets. Children under 3 travel free on the transfer - provided they do not take a seat (They would have to sit on parents' lap).  The driving time is now 45-60 minutes per way and the last transfer will leave the airport at 13h00.

 

Q. How do I get between the Airport / Hotels in Durban and the Port and back?
Taxis are plentiful and are a relatively inexpensive way to get around. We have negotiated Private Transfer Rates should you prefer to take advantage of these.
King Shaka Airport to the Hotel (Hotels along the Marine Parade Only)
1-7 Passengers R190 per person per way
Hotel (Hotels along the Marine Parade Only) to Durban Harbour (Pick up from Hotel 11h00)
1 -7 Passengers R100 per person per way
Must be pre-booked at the time of Reservation

 

Q. If I arrive by car can I park at Durban harbour while I am away?
Car parking is available only in Durban on a first come first served basis. The fare is R80 per car per night (valid for all car types), which will be converted into USD at the actual exchange rate and will be added to your onboard account.
All vehicles are parked at the owner's risk and MSC Starlight Cruises and MSC Cruises will not be liable for any loss or damage to any vehicles or articles therein, through any cause whatsoever. Drivers are required to sign an indemnity at the Port.

 

Q. How do I get from Cape Town Airport to the Harbour and back?
We are able to arrange Private Transfers between the Airport and the Harbour at the following costs:
1-7 Passengers: R190 per person per way
Must be pre-booked at the time of Reservation

 

Q How do I get from the airport to ports for international cruises?

We are able to arrange private or shuttle transfers for you in all the ports our cruise ships call on.

Luggage
Please label your luggage very clearly with your Name / Surname and Cabin Number. Cruise Luggage labels are available at the port. Labels must be fixed to all of your main luggage items as you will be handing them over to the “check in" staff at the harbour for delivery to the ship. Please ensure that all bags are securely locked and that NO VALUABLES OR BREAKABLES HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE. .

Safety and Security
Please do not put any valuable or fragile items in your main luggage.
Items such as cameras, video cameras, jewellery, medication, documentation such as passports and ID cards, money and credit cards should be carried in your hand luggage and kept with you at ALL times.

Your checked luggage will be screened and delivered to your cabin during the course of the afternoon on the day of sailing. Due to high volumes, please allow 2 - 3 hours after boarding for your luggage to arrive at your cabin.

Checked luggage that is screened and found to contain alcohol will be set aside and passengers will be recalled to the terminal to identify their bags, from which the alcohol will be removed and disposed of. In order to avoid any delay in the departure of the ship, luggage found to contain alcohol and which is not identified by the owner will not be loaded on to the ship and will be held at the terminal for collection by the passenger on conclusion of their cruise.

Please Note: Security regulations dictate that you personally deliver your suitcases to the luggage bay located in the passenger terminal.

 

Q. What do I do if I find that my luggage has been damaged?
On board: Should you find that your baggage has been damaged during the embarkation process, please approach Guest Services onboard and request a Lost/Damaged Luggage Form". A staff member from Guest Services is to sign and acknowledge that the damage has been viewed by them and has been reported to them.

On disembarkation (local cruises): Please approach the information desk inside N Shed where an MSC Starlight Representative will hand you a copy of a Lost/Damaged Luggage Form" that the Representative will sign acknowledging damage to the luggage.

It is important that these procedures are followed if passengers are considering instituting a claim from their travel insurance for loss or damage of luggage

Passenger embarkation (local cruises)

Embarkation in Durban takes place at N Shed - Durban Harbour
Embarkation in Cape Town takes place at E Berth, Duncan Dock
(Driving directions are on our website www.mscstarlightcruises.co.za)

You will receive a sticker with a number on it when you arrive at the harbour. When embarkation starts the numbers will be called and displayed, and you may then proceed to embarkation. Facilities at the Ports are VERY limited, and a lengthy wait at the Port is not necessarily the ideal way to start to a good holiday.  As all cabins have been assigned prior to the day of departure, no real purpose is served in arriving at the Port prior to the embarkation times stated.

Embarkation times do occasionally vary and are set and regulated by immigration officials and custom control authorities. We like to remind our guests that the Port facility is maintained and operated by the National Ports Authority (NPA) and not by MSC Starlight Cruises.

Group Embarkation
Please take note that Special Group Embarkation is no longer offered.

 

Q. Can my family and friends come on board to see me off?
Regrettably no visitors are allowed past security control in the passenger terminal. The ship security staff is always present during embarkation and disembarkation and follow international security regulations in the monitoring of passengers and baggage.
Our security is your security!

 

Q. What Travel Documents do I need?
Your Cruise Ticket
Cruise tickets, along with any tickets for additional services are issued about 3-2 weeks prior to your departure (local cruises) / 60 days before departure (for most international cruises). Your E-Documents will be e-mailed to you 2-3 weeks prior to your cruise departure. You will be required only to print off the Cruise Ticket to present at the harbour for embarkation.

Special circumstances for collecting tickets on Departure:
If you have booked close to departure and there isn't enough time for us to e-mail your ticket, you will need to show your cabin number as stated on your booking invoice.

Your Passport

Every passenger (adult and child) will need a valid passport to clear immigration at the Port.

NO PHOTOCOPIES ARE ACCEPTED

  • South African citizens with dual nationality - MUST USE THEIR SOUTH AFRICAN PASSPORT TO EXIT AND ENTER SOUTH AFRICA.
  • Non-South African Citizens/Permanent Residents must have their permanent residence endorsed in their foreign passport.

Exceptions:
The only exception is for cruises that do not leave South African waters as in a Cruise to Nowhere "Mossel Bay Cruise" and Cruises from Durban to Cape Town and vice versa. For these cruises an official photo Identification is required - your ID Book, Passport, or in the case of children, an original birth certificate is required.

Additional ID for International Cruises

For international cruises you are required to carry a 2nd form of photo ID, apart from your passport. This is because the cruise line will keep your passports’ n their safe, and you need another form of ID in order to be able to leave/ re-board the ship at the various ports of call.

 

Q. Do I need Visas and Vaccinations?
Mozambique
South African passport holders do not require visas or vaccinations for Mozambique.

Foreign passport holders will need to obtain a visa at a cost of US$25. This can be obtained on board and does not have to be pre-arranged. (SADAC passport holders do not require a visa for Mozambique)
(The following passport holders are not required to pay the Visa Charge for Mozambique: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe)Â

Mauritius
South African and British passport holders do not require visas for Mauritius.

Madagascar
South African passport holders require a visa for Madagascar. Visas can be obtained onboard through the passenger manifest. Madagascar has confirmed that there will be no fee payable for the visa.

Mossel Bay
For these cruises an official photo Identification is required - your ID Book, Passport, or in the case of children, an original birth certificate is required.

Walvis Bay, Namibia
South African and British passport holders do not require visas for Walvis Bay. All passengers require valid passports for Walvis Bay, Namibia.

International Destinations

South African passport holders require visas for most popular cruise destinations, including Europe and the USA (Caribbean and Alaska). Please contact us for specific details.

 

Q. Do I need to take precautions for Malaria?
Mozambique, Madagascar and certain countries in the Far East and South America are Malaria areas. It is best to speak to your doctor or pharmacist or a Travel Clinic if you have any concerns.

 

Q. What if I am pregnant?
Cruise lines accept passengers up until their 23rd week of pregnancy. The Company will not accept a booking or carry any passenger who will be 24 weeks pregnant or more by the end of the cruise. Passengers who are up to 23 weeks pregnant at the end of the cruise must obtain a medical certificate from a medical Dr. confirming their fitness to travel onboard the vessel taking into account the specific itinerary.

 

Q. Does it matter how old I am?
Children:
For local cruises, a maximum of 2 children under 18 are permitted to share a cabin with 2 adults. When advising a child's age, it must be the age that the child will be on the date of return from the holiday. In the Balcony Suites onboard MSC Sinfonia a maximum of 2 Adults and 2 Children under 12 only are permitted. Travel may be refused or costing adjusted if the date of birth on the child's passport differs from the age given on the ticket.

Some international cruise lines do not allow children at all. Please contact us for specifics.

70 years and older:
Passengers over 70 years of age do not need to provide a doctor's certificate verifying their fitness to travel, however they are advised to study the Insurance brochure very carefully as there are very specific exclusions for passengers over 70 - whether pre-existing conditions exist or not.

 

Q. Can my infant share my cabin with me?
Infants are classified from 0-1.99 years of age and may share the existing bedding in the cabin. A release will need to be signed agreeing to these conditions of travel. If you need a cot for your infant please ensure that it is requested at the time of booking as there are limited cots on board. Alternatively you may bring your infant's camp cot on board with you.

Q. How do dinner sittings work?
On most cruises, there are two sittings for dinner. On the MSC Sinfonia an alternative Casual Dining  Buffet is available for families or passengers who prefer more casual dining.  The Casual Dining Buffet is served from 18h30-20h00 in La Terrazza Restaurant on Deck 11.

Melody
The Galaxy Restaurant is used for both dinner sittings. The first is at approximately 18h30 and the 2nd at 20h45.

Sinfonia:
The Il Galeone and the Il Covo Restaurants are used for both dinner sittings. The first sitting is at approximately 18h30 and the second at 20h45.Â

Note: Your preference of dinner seating, either 1st or 2nd is a request ONLY at the time of booking, and your table number and allocated dining time is only confirmed to you upon embarkation. If you want to sit with friends and family, please request this at the time off booking. Lunches and breakfasts are generally open sittings and guests can choose between a casual buffet and the more formal restaurants for their meal.

 

Q. Are we able to have Lunch on the day of embarkation and Breakfast on Disembarkation day?
Lunch is served on the day of embarkation and passengers embarking between 12h00 and 15h30 will still be able to enjoy lunch on board on that day.

Breakfast is served on the morning of disembarkation between 06h30 and 09h30. All passengers are required to vacate their cabins by 07h30 on the morning of arrival back into the Port.

 

Q. Is the General Emergency Drill on board necessary
A General Emergency Drill for all passengers and crew will be held shortly after the ship has set sail.  Your attendance is compulsory according to International Safety Laws governing ships. Please listen very carefully to all announcements and read the emergency instructions posted behind the cabin door. During the Emergency Drill all the ship's services are closed.

 

Q. Do you cater for special dietary needs?
A vegetarian choice is served at each meal time. Whilst the kitchen onboard is not strictly Halaal, Halaal meat is available onboard. We regret that we cannot cater for kosher meals on local cruises. Most international cruise lines cater for kosher meal requests.

 

Q. Can we take liquor on board?
In keeping with the policies adopted by cruise lines throughout the world, personal supplies of alcohol will be confiscated if found in your luggage or if observed in your cabin. Both your main luggage as well as your hand luggage will be thoroughly searched before embarkation. No exceptions will be permitted. AVOID EMBARRASSMENT IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR FELLOW TRAVELLERS - LEAVE YOUR PERSONAL SUPPLY OF ALCOHOLIC DRINKS AT HOME. Liquor purchased onboard at the duty free will be held until disembarkation. (Liquor confiscated will not be returned at the end of the cruise)

 

Q. Consuming liquor on Port Authorities property
The ports of both Cape Town and Durban harbour are “Alcohol free Zones". The carrying and consumption of all alcoholic beverages on any port property or access road is an offence and any passenger failing to comply with these security regulations will be escorted from the property.

 

Q. Can we take food on board?
Cruise lines follow the most rigid procedures to ensure food safety. For this reason and to prevent the introduction of food borne illness, guests and crew may not bring on board any beverage or food items.

 

Q. Can I take my fire arm on board?
Cape Town and Durban harbour are gun-free Ports.  Firearms, weapons and sharp objects are not permitted in the Port area or on board. Any passenger failing to comply with security regulations will be disembarked from the cruise.

Airlines have very strict procedures regarding the carrying of fire arms, Please contact us for details.

 

Q. How can I stay in touch with friends and family back home?
Mobile phone
Mobile phones rely on signal received from cell phone towers, thus cell phones have no signal at sea. Occasional signal is picked up while cruising along the coast. Many foreign Ports do have signal, but your phone will need to be enabled for International Roaming so please consult with your service provider before you leave.

On board communication facilities
There is an onboard satellite telephone and fax facility but this is expensive and should be reserved for emergencies only. Internet facilities are available onboard at a charge.

 

Q. Will my South African electrical appliances work on board?
The ships run on both 110v and 220v. The plug sockets are American (110v) and European round 2 pin (220v). The South African 3 pin plug will require a European 2 pin round adapter.
Hairdryers are available in the cabin.

For international cruise it is best to take your own international adaptor.

 

Q. Is there a Doctor onboard?
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 note the mandatory cruise insurance included in your cruise fare does not cover this Doctor. 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.

  

Q. What if I get sea-sick?
There is so much to do that most passengers don't even think about getting seasick. However, a very small percentage of people are susceptible to motion sickness, which is caused by the confusion of the senses, mainly sight and balance.
If you are predisposed to motion sickness, several excellent non-prescription drugs (eg: Stugeron, or Avonmine) and various homeopathic remedies (eg: Pegasus) are available on the market. It is best to start taking this medication 24 hours prior to cruising.
Fresh air and being on deck are excellent natural remedies. Movement of the ship is also reduced with stabilisers.

 

Q. What if I have a disability or have Special Needs
If you or any member of your party has any medical condition or disability that need special travel, accommodation or dietary requirements please phone our reservations team BEFORE you book your holiday to ensure that we can adequately provide for you onboard.

 

Q. What if I need help on board?
The information / reception desk is open 24 hours.
There are several heads of department who can also attend to your queries depending on what assistance you require.

 

Q. What if I have a complaint whilst onboard?
Any Passenger with a complaint whilst on a Cruise must bring it to the attention of the Cruise staff onboard as soon as possible. If the Cruise staff are unable to resolve the problem, any complaint must be notified in writing to the Company within 14 (fourteen) days of the termination of the Cruise.  Failure to report the complaint within this time may adversely affect the Company's ability to deal with it.  Complaints relating to any other part of a package must be made promptly to the Company or the supplier.

 

Q. What if I am celebrating a special occasion?
Congratulations!  If you are celebrating a birthday, an anniversary or a special occasion we will try and help make it truly memorable! Simply advise reception as soon after embarkation as possible to give them time to prepare your special cake or treat. Note: A charge will be involved. “A Special Moments Package" can be pre-booked at the time of your cruise booking - To book or for more information on prices and inclusions call our Reservations Department.

 

Q. Purchasing Photos and DVD's of our Cruise
There will be many photo opportunities onboard and the Ship's photographer captures many special moments on film. These photographs are put on display and are available for purchase on board. A DVD of your cruise is also available for purchase on board. Please note that at the end of each cruise the photos and DVD's that have not been sold are destroyed, we are therefore unable to obtain any copies of Photos or DVD'S for you once you have disembarked the ship. Â

 

Q. Is there an activity programme for youngsters?
There are fun and exciting activity programmes on all local cruises for children aged between 4 and 12 years takes place every full day at sea from 09h00 - 12h00 & 14h00 - 17h00. An evening activity programme is also available from 20h00 until 23h00.

A children's play area is also available for children aged 2 - 4 years of age, however a supervising parent must be present at all time.

An orientation meeting for all parents and children is held on the first afternoon onboard.

See your daily programme delivered to your cabin for details of activities which range from treasure hunts to fun sports, creative activities and games.

Most international cruise line offer children’s’ facilities however there are some international cruise line who do not cater for children at all. Please contact us for specifics
 

Q. Is there babysitting on board?
Due to Insurance Regulations, private babysitting is not available onboard local cruises. Please contact us for specifics of babysitting facilities available on international cruises.

 

Q. What is there for adults to do on board?
The great thing about cruising is you can choose to do as much or as little as you like.

You can plan your day with your comprehensive daily programme which is delivered to your cabin every day. It includes information on all activities, shows, services, meals and dress codes.

For outdoor enthusiasts there are a variety of sports to choose from. For those that enjoy being active, there are various exercise & dance programmes on offer every sea day.
Day activities may include lecture presentations, creativity classes, fun activities on the deck and indoor game shows. Daily crosswords, Sudoku, brainteasers and word search puzzles are also available.
Other facilities include swimming pool, Jacuzzis, a gymnasium, a jogging track (Sinfonia), the casino, duty free shops and in-cabin movies.  In the evenings, more exciting entertainment options include live bands, the disco and our famous Deck Party!  In addition, every night we host cabaret shows featuring local and international artists.

 

Q. How much money do we need?
Meals and entertainment are included in your cruise fare. You will need spending money for drinks (15% Bar service charge is levied on all bar and on all restaurant bills); Duty Free Shopping, Photos, Gambling - including Bingo; Laundry, Beauty Salon and any optional shore excursions you would like to book.  All prices onboard are in Euros or US Dollars (depending on the cruise line).

 

Q. Cruise Card / How do we pay for goods & services?
For the convenience of all guests, the ships use a cashless system.  Every passenger (including children) will receive a personalised ID cruise card. This card may be used for all your purchases onboard, and is also your own personal identification onboard, and for that reason you will be required to show it to the gangway security team whenever you go ashore and return to the ship.

Do not lose this card! In the event that you do misplace your card, you must proceed to Reception as soon as possible to have it replaced and to have your old card voided to avoid possible unauthorised charges being made to the card. On request, any cards (for a family for example) can be linked to a master account.

 

Q. How do I pay my expenses onboard using my cruise card?
You are required to activate your cruise card/s (only 1 member per family need do this) once you have embarked the ship. This then opens up your onboard account and your cruise card can be used for onboard purchases. For all onboard purchases you will present your cruise card and sign for these purchases which will then be added to your onboard bill to be settled in full on the night prior to arrival back in the port at the end of your cruise.

It is important to note that it is required that you activate your cruise card before anything can be purchased onboard

 

Q. Can I use my cruise card for purchases at the ports of call?
No. The cruise cards are only used to charge expenses and purchases to your onboard bill, and have no value besides for purchases and expenses onboard the ship. For these destinations you would require credit cards/ cash / travellers cheques etc as you would normally when travelling.

What money do I use in the Casino?
The Casino on cruises only accept CASH.
 

Q. Are there ATM's (Automatic teller machines) onboard?
There are ATM's on board the ships and in the ports only for international cruises, NOT for local cruises. It is therefore important that if are on a local cruise, & you wish to draw cash that you do so prior to arriving at the port and/or embarking the ship.

 

Q. What about a service charge?
During your cruise you will meet staff throughout the ship who will provide you with excellent service. They are supported by just as many staff and crew who work hard behind the scene to ensure that you enjoy every moment onboard. Hotel Service Charges will be prepaid at the time of booking .

Note: A 15% Bar service charge is automatically added to all purchases in all Bars and all Restaurants

  

Q. Can we snorkel at the destinations called on by local cruises?
Yes, but please take note that there is no gear available onboard to hire, and if you intend to snorkel, it is advisable to bring your own.  Barra Lodge and Portuguese Island do offer a snorkel excursion with gear hire included from a local source although fin sizes and condition of equipment are not guaranteed. A limited range of snorkelling equipment will be available for purchase at Durban harbour prior to boarding the ship.

 Q. Are landings guaranteed where transfer to the destination is by zodiac?
Landings are weather dependent and the sea conditions dictate whether a successful landing can proceed or not. The Captain has the final say as to whether a landing will proceed or not based on the information he has in regard to sea and weather conditions, and with the safety of the passengers and staff onboard as his primary concern.
 

Q. What about shore excursions?
The cruise line’s own shore excursions cannot be pre-booked for local cruises and are only available to be booked and paid for directly once on board. These excursions fill up very quickly so it is recommended that you go to Reception as soon as possible after boarding to see what shore excursions are on offer and to pre-book. Cruise Tag are however able to pre-book you on a selection of tours and excursions. Please contact us for details.

Most international cruise lines allow you to pre-book your shore excursions.

 

Q. Do I need take bath and beach towels?
Bath towels and pool / beach towels available on board.

 

Q. What is the Dress Code?
During the day casual wear is encouraged although no bathing suits are permitted in the main restaurant. A buffet breakfast and lunch are available on deck should you prefer casual dining.
Evenings are generally smart casual (from 18h00) with a formal night on any cruise 4 nights or longer. Every cruise has a FORMAL NIGHT where guests are encouraged to dress up.  Although the summer evenings are generally warm, it is advisable to bring a light jumper in case of a sea breeze or to wear indoors as most venues are fully air-conditioned.

 

Q. Can I request Double / Single beds in the cabin
The beds in Sinfonia are all Convertible Lower beds, which means that the cabin can be set up either as a double or as 2 singles as required. The beds in Melody are not convertible, and it is therefore important to request either a double or 2 single beds at the time of booking.

Most international cruise lines offer two twin beds which can be pushed together as a double bed.

 

Q. Can we get married / Renew our Vows onboard?
Weddings onboard are not legal and are merely “ceremonial". You will therefore have to be legally married in a civil service prior to having your wedding onboard. There are 2 packages which can be pre-paid for Weddings/ Renewal of Vows onboard. Please refer to the website for further information on the packages on offer and the inclusions.

 

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