After departing Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, we had multiple days at sea, and then a series of stops in island nations of the Indian Ocean, namely Seychelles, Mauritius, and Reunion Island. Thereafter we continued south towards South Africa and had a stop in Durban, then continued to our last port of Capetown.
1. Overnight stops in Seychelles and Mauritius
2. Scuba Diving in Seychelles and Mauritius
3. Bridge Class during the at sea days
4. Hikes aplenty at each of the ports
5. Family Learning hours - with new friends joining
1. Thick and dense cloud cover at the Maido overlook in Reunion
2. Unmet expectations in Durban
1. Overnight stops in Seychelles and Mauritius - the cruise ship stopped overnight in Seychelles and Mauritius, which a really great idea. Stopping overnight gives you that much more time to get out and about in the place, and see and do more. In each location, we took a day of sightseeing and hiking, and then the 2nd day for Scuba Diving. We're glad we did both things in both places.
2. Scuba Diving in Seychelles and Mauritius - Both places were great dive spots. In Mauritius, we even invited Monica and Ori along, neither of whom were certified, but both took to the water and to diving like pros. Niki and Rodrigo also came along, with Rodrigo diving, and Niki snorkelling.
3. Bridge Class during the at sea days - MSC provided some bridge experts, who taught bridge classes each day while at sea. It was good fun to learn to play bridge with the kids. I'm not sure I like it all that much, and we haven't played a lot since the cruise, but it was an enjoyable activity while on the ship, and it's nice to at least know the basics of the game now.
4. Hikes aplenty at each of the ports - We hiked along the ocean to a secluded Anse Major beach in the Seychelles, up a steep mountain of Le Morne Brabant in Mauritius, along a old volcanic ridge at the Maido viewpoint in Reunion, and along the boardwalk in Durban. We were willing (most of time companions) to keep going towards Tera's 50-hike goal.
5. Family Learning hours, with new friends joining us - Ori and Monica have been joining, and Maya (Megan's friend) and also Nikki and Rodrigo join on occasion. Our family learning hour is growing in scope and popularity.
1. Thick and dense cloud cover at the Maido overlook in Reunion - We did get a nice hike along the volcanic rock, but what we really wanted, and were DENIED was the view into the valley from the Maido overlook. The clouds were like pea soup, and we didn't see a single thing during the entire hike (expect for a 3 second glimpse into the verdant valley at one point when the clouds parted)
2. Unmet expectations in Durban - We had hoped to rent a car in Durban, but nothing on Google Maps lined up with reality, so we walked along the beach. The Wakanda movie was uninspiring, and upon departing, we realized that we hadn't even thought about a trip to the Durban temple. It was disappointing all around. This doesn't happen very often.
Monday – Friday – Days at sea. Lots of reading and family games and morning exercising and sauna sweating and eating. We’ve also begun to learn to play bridge, with the organized bridge classes onboard. There are also a number of educational presentations, which are hit or miss.
Saturday December 3: Seychelles – We arrived late into port, and only had the afternoon. We rented a car from the dock and we drove over to Anse Major (3.7 miles, 708 ft gain) to hike along the coast, out to a beautiful white-sand beach. It was a well-marked trail, and swimming in at the beach was a welcome relief to a hot sweaty walk. We then drove south to check out some other beaches.
Sunday December 4: Seychelles – We went Scuba Diving with Pro Divers with two great coral dives. Then we drove around the north side of the island, then headed south hoping for a sunset beach. We ended up stopping at a nice mountain overlook for sunset.
Monday - Tuesday December 5/6 - At sea
Wednesday December 7: Mauritius – We rented a car and Tera helped the Martin’s with their car (Tera drove), and we took a car sightseeing day. We saw the Grand Bassin temple, a hindu temple complex with a lake supposedly directly mystically connected with the Ganges river. We saw the Alexandra falls, and the Gorges viewpoint. Then we tackled the Le Morne Brabant hike. (4.3 miles, 1627 ft). It was a hot day, and after negotiating with the guard to allow us in after closing, it was a beautiful walk to the first viewpoint. The last few hundred feet to the second viewpoint were closer to a vertical climb/scramble. Jacob and Ori and I went up the final steep canyon, while the others waited below.
Thursday December 8: Mauritius – We all went diving in the morning with Ori and Monica and our new friends Rodrigo and Nikki. Tera and I dove a deep wreck for the first dive and Jacob and Megan stayed back on the shallower reef. Then we all dove together for the second dive. Thereafter, we drove north to check-out some local beaches for another swim at Perrybere beach.
Friday December 9: Reunion – We rented another car and with a number of scenic drives and overlooks to choose from, we drove to the Maido viewpoint. On arrival, we discovered we were looking directly into a cloud, with no view whatsoever (reminiscent of our Glacier National park view). So we decided to hike along the caldera ridge instead towards the Glaciere’ endpoint. (4.0 miles). The hike directly along the ridge on the return across volcanic remains was a great hike, and the mists cleared for about 5 seconds at one point to glimpse a view of the caldera. We returned via a lame stop at a geranium oil distillery (the perfect example of a manufactured cruise shore excursion destination) and after seeing the traffic building up, we returned to the boat a little early.
Saturday - Monday December 10-12 - At sea
Tuesday December 13: Durban, South Africa – Our attempt to rent a car around the port fell flat (companies did not exist in their googlemaps identified locations), so we walked along the beach boardwalk all the way to the Mall and back (4 miles). The beach was long and there were lots of people out, and it was also filled with trash at the high tide watermark, and swimming was confined to places where sharknetting was placed. At out mall midway point, we played some cards and watched the new Wakanda movie, then walked back to the boat.
Wed-Thu Dec 14/15: Our last days on the ship, last days to play bridge, see shows, eat in the dining room, and sun ourselves on deck. Goodbye MSC Sinfonia. You’ve been good to us.
Fall Semester 2022
Here we go again! Our 8 Suitcases have been whittled down to 4 suitcases as we take a four month world trip with our two youngest kids, Megan and Jacob. From Canada to Europe to islands in the Indian Ocean and finally to South Africa, from Sep to Dec 2022, here are our travels and experiences.