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17 nights
from £6595

Mauritius, Madagascar & Mozambique

An expedition exploring the remarkable flora and fauna from Mauritius to Mozambique aboard the Serenissima

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  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Expedition Cruising

"With the vessel’s purpose built Zodiacs we will land on otherwise inaccessible beaches, enjoy guided walks with our naturalists, encounter the bountiful and unique wildlife of Madagascar and experience the underwater world whilst snorkelling."

  • Reunion

Here is an extraordinary cruise for those who enjoy the natural world and all its wonders. Sailing from Mauritius we will land on its nearest neighbour, Reunion, a little bit of France in the Indian Ocean and a truly stunning place. We will spend the day exploring its truly awesome and dramatic scenery including the Central Highlands with their spectacularly rugged peaks of dormant volcanoes which cradle huge natural amphitheatres known as cirques. We then continue to Madagascar where we will have the luxury of nine days to explore the incredible verdant and beautiful island.

Madagascar is unique; the animals, plants, landscapes and people that make up this thousand mile long island are unlike anywhere else. This extraordinary country has long remained obscure as a destination and it is still relatively unknown even amongst the most serious of travellers. The long separation from the African mainland has given rise to its amazing number of unique species of flora and fauna. Its people are also unique, having descended from Malay-Polynesian mariners who sailed from south East Asia between 1500 to 2000 years ago. Later arrivals included slaves from Africa, traders from Arabia, India and Portugal and more latterly French colonials. Our experienced expedition team will provide commentary on all that we see and will reveal the wonders of the world’s ‘eighth continent’.

Leaving the wonders of Madagascar behind, we have a relaxing day at sea before we arrive at Inhaca Island in Mozambique, a beautiful island and the perfect ending to our voyage through this immensely rich and timeless corner of the world.

  • What to Expect...

    Crowned Lemur

    We are truly delighted to be bringing the charming MS Serenissima to the Indian Ocean for the winter of 2017 – 2018. With twenty-five years’ experience of operating expedition cruises in the region, we know the MS Serenissima is ideally suited with her fleet of Zodiacs allowing us to land in remote locations and with only 90 guests, we will be able to explore islands which are off the usual cruise routes of the larger ships in the area.

    The difficulty we face when trying to describe our voyages through this region is the real danger of using language which may be taken for typically over-embroidered brochure writer’s waffle so we have asked one of our most experienced Expedition Leaders, Pam Le Noury who has years of experience leading expeditions in the region to explain why she believes the area is perfect for small ship expedition cruising:

    The Indian Ocean is one of my most treasured destinations. It offers a wide array of experiences; bustling urban scenery and colourful markets, historical icons like Zanzibar, pristine primary forests just off the beach in Madagascar to the idyllic beaches of Seychelles. It’s a very good mix.

    Some islands are pretty tourist-savvy, but where we go in Madagascar and parts of Mozambique they do not see many tourists. There is not that much to buy and guiding is quite basic but all this is enriched by the authentic and appreciated interactions we have with some lovely local people. Having small denomination local currency is helpful to the local people in the remote places we go to as there are usually informal vendors with little handicrafts or spices to sell and it’s a nice way to contribute and engage with locals. Learning a few local words will earn you some huge smiles, getting your photo taken with the people (rather than of the people) is a lovely compliment to them and another way to engage. Local market places are not for everyone; colourful and eclectic in the guide books; you should prepare to have your eyes, ears and nose possibly assaulted with things you just don’t experience at home. It’s wonderful but many of us only really appreciate it in retrospect.

    For me a highlight are the hikes we undertake in Madagascar (Masoala) in the hope to be rewarded with a glimpse of the lemurs and chameleons. We try to snorkel at every opportunity and there are some excellent reefs, but we need good sea conditions on the day. An obvious highlight is the beaches of the Outer Seychelles and for the days we are in the Seychelles you will feel like you are on your own deserted island with a selected group of guests.

    The Indian Ocean destinations that our small ship and Zodiacs can take us to are wild, off-road, fun, unconstrained by precise timings and fascinating. The intrepid are drawn to this scattered urban wilderness of Africa’s tropical ocean, we love it and we can’t wait to explore it with you.

    More information

Serenissima

Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

View vessel details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Mauritius.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 - Mauritius.

Arrive today and transfer to the MS Serenissima. Sail this evening.

Day 3 - Reunion.

This morning we arrive in Reunion where we have a choice of excursions. On a full day tour we will visit the central highlands where spectacularly rugged peaks of dormant or extinct volcanoes cradle huge amphitheatres known as cirques, where mountains tower to over 10,000 feet and beautiful waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet. The rich soil and mellow climate produce a lush and verdant landscape which is dotted with villages and towns with a uniquely French atmosphere. We will enjoy views from the Nez des Bouefs and see the Piton de la Fournaise crater. After enjoying a creole lunch in a local restaurant we will visit the “Cite du Volcan” Museum. Alternatively enjoy a morning tour to a vanilla plantation in St Andre where we learn about the history and culture of this integral part of Reunion’s heritage. We will also enjoy some free time in St Denis before returning to the MS Serenissima for lunch. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before we set sail this evening.

Day 4 - At Sea.

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea as we cross to Madagascar.

Day 5 - Ile Sainte Marie & Nosy Nato, Madagascar.

Our first call in Madagascar is at Ile Sainte Marie, also known as Nosy Bohara, a lush tropical island offering sandy beaches, coral reefs and natural beauty. This morning we will explore the capital of Ambodifotatra including the oldest church in Madagascar built in 1837 and the vibrant market. We will then head over to neighbouring Nosy Nato where you can choose to join a nature walk keeping an eye out for the wildlife or simply enjoy an afternoon of swimming and snorkelling.

Days 6 & 7 - Nosy Mangabe & Masoala National Park.

Arrive this morning at Nosy Mangabe, a 520 hectare island reserve in Antongil Bay. Here we find one of the most diverse areas of virgin rain forest in Madagascar which has also been an important research centre since the mid-1960s when several aye-ayes and lemurs were released into the forest. We will use our Zodiacs to land on the beach next to the forest and organise a series of nature walks looking at the varied trees, plants and ferns and also hope to spot chameleon, lizards and black and white ruffed lemur. For the birders we will keep an eye out for Madagascar buzzard, kingfisher and paradise flycatchers. We remain in Antongil Bay overnight to visit Madagascar’s largest protected area, the Masoala National Park which comprises coastal rainforest, flooded forests and marsh and mangroves. Mammal species encountered include the red-ruffed lemur, the red-fronted brown lemur, the ayeaye, the greater hedgehog tenrec and the ring tailed mongoose. The park is also home to various species of brightly coloured Mantella frogs and all manner of extraordinary chameleons. Masoala is also a refuge of the endangered Madagascar red-owl and Madagascar serpent eagle and many endemic bird species. We will run a series of walks for all levels during our time here whilst you will also have the option to swim off the beach or perhaps visit the local village.

Day 8 - Diego Suarez.

After a morning at sea we will enter dramatic Diego Suarez, a stunning natural harbour with a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants including Creoles, Indians, Chinese, Comorans and Arabs. After a brief tour of the town we will use 4x4 vehicles to make our way to the Malagasy Rainforest at the Mount Amber National Park. Dividing into short and long walk parties we will go in search of lemurs and chameleons as we explore the rainforest. If this is not possible based on weather conditions, we will instead visit the Domaine de Fontenay where we will explore the reserve rich with flora, fauna and several waterfalls. On our return to the MS Serenissima we will take a detour to the bay of Diego with its impressive views of the sugar loaf and also home to the indigenous baobab suareziensis tree.

Day 9 - Nosy Tanikely.

We arrive this morning at the Nosy Tanikely Island Marine Reserve, an uninhabited island which offers snorkelling opportunities and wonderful beaches. We will take the chance to either swim in the clear waters or snorkel over the corals keeping an eye out for reef fish, turtles and morays. Alternatively our naturalists will lead guided walks on the island where we may see the resident lemurs, fruit bats and hermit crabs and enjoy fantastic views from the lighthouse on the island’s highest point. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at sea.

Day 10 - Mahajanga.

Mahajanga is a major port in northwest Madagascar situated on the Betsiboka River and is our base for a full day excursion to Ankarafantsika National Park. This deciduous forest is a haven for birds, lemurs and reptiles and on a choice of walks we will explore with our guides. Eight species of lemur have been observed here including the famous microcebus, the smallest primate in the world. Meanwhile over 120 species of birds nest here and we will keep an eye out for the Madagascan fish eagle and banded kestrel whilst the 44 species of reptile include chameleon, turtles and crocodiles that live in Lake Ravelobe. After lunch in the park there will be the opportunity to join further walks and we hope to visit the Durrell Breeding Programme which was established at Ampijora and is dedicated to protecting the ploughshare tortoise, one of the most threatened breeds in the world.

Day 11 - At Sea.

Our lecture programme continues as we continue our journey around the Madagascan coast.

Day 12 - Morondova.

From our anchorage off the town of Morondava we will use the Zodiacs to land on the local beach. From here we have a choice of excursions to explore the local region. A half day morning tour will visit the Avenue de Baobabs. Of the eight baobab species in the world six are endemic to Madagascar and here we will see the Adansonia grandidieri species with a row of 20-25 trees which border the gravel road. We will learn about the trees and their spiritual significance before returning to Morondova and exploring the local market. Alternatively join a full day excursion to Kirindy Forest. Situated approximately a two hour drive from Morondova, we will pass the Avenue de Baobabs as we travel north. Kirindy is a 10,000 hectare, dry deciduous forest, one of the most endangered in the world where the flora and fauna includes many endemic species. Here we find three species of baobab, many birds and reptiles including snakes, tortoises and lizards, eight species of lemur including the rare pale form marked lemur and other mammals including giant jumping rat, fosa and narrow striped mongoose.

Day 13 - Tulear.

Our last call in Madagascar will be Tulear on the southwest coast. From the port we will drive to the Antsokay Arboretum which is entirely devoted to conservation of the plants from the southwest of Madagascar and after more than thirty years of hard work offers a densely kept selection of flora presenting a typical sub-arid thicket with baobab trees towering over the smaller plants. We will see the four hectare botanical garden which comprises over 900 species of plants of which 90% are endemic to the region.

Day 14 - Europa Island, Mozambique Channel.

Situated in the Mozambique Channel, around 150 miles off the coast of Madagascar we find Europa Island, a small low lying atoll and part of the “scattered islands” of the French Southern and Antarctic lands. This uninhabited island is an important nesting ground for sea turtles and seabirds as well as being a migratory stop for birds moving between Africa and Madagascar. Its isolation has also contributed to a unique flora and fauna including a number of endemic subspecies of birds and reptiles. We have requested permits to anchor and use our Zodiacs to land and explore the island this afternoon on a series of walks with our expedition team.

Day 15 - At Sea.

Relax on board as we cross the Mozambique Channel. Our lecture programme will continue whilst you may want to watch for wildlife from the deck.

Day 16 - Inhaca Island, Mozambique.

Situated in Maputo Bay, we arrive this afternoon at subtropical Inhaca Island which is home to hundreds of coral species, fish, dolphins and up to three hundred bird species. Today you can choose to either snorkel on the coral reefs where we hope to find scorpion fish, butterflyfish and parrotfish or alternatively join our naturalists on a nature walk as we search for greater sand plovers, lesser crested tern and kingfisher. Then there is the opportunity to simply spend your last afternoon relaxing on the beach. This evening we will sail to Maputo where we moor overnight.

Day 17 - Maputo to London.

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.

Day 18 - London.

Arrive this morning.

8th to 25th February 2018

Day 1 - London to Maputo, Mozambique.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 - Maputo.

Arrive today and transfer to the MS Serenissima. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail tonight.

Day 3 - Inhaca Island, Mozambique.

Situated in Maputo Bay, we arrive over breakfast at subtropical Inhaca Island which is home to hundreds of coral species, fish, dolphins and up to three hundred bird species. Today you can choose to either snorkel on the coral reefs where we hope to find scorpion fish, butterflyfish and parrotfish or alternatively join our naturalists on a nature walk as we search for greater sand plovers, lesser crested tern and kingfisher. Another option is to simply spend time on the beach. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy an afternoon at sea.

Day 4 - At Sea.

Relax onboard as we cross the Mozambique Channel. Our lecture programme will continue in the lounge whilst you may want to watch for wildlife from the deck.

Day 5 - Europa Island.

Situated in the Mozambique Channel, around 150 miles off the coast of Madagascar we find Europa Island, a small low lying atoll and part of the “scattered islands” of the French Southern and Antarctic lands. This uninhabited island is an important nesting ground for sea turtles and seabirds as well as being a migratory stop for birds moving between Africa and Madagascar. Its isolation has also contributed to a unique flora and fauna including a number of endemic subspecies of birds and reptiles. We hope to anchor and use our zodiacs to land and explore the island this morning on a series of walks with our expedition team.

Day 6 - Tulear.

Our first call in Madagascar will be Tulear on the southwest coast. From the port we will drive to the Antsokay Arboretum which is entirely devoted to conservation of the plants from the southwest of Madagascar and after more than 30 years of hard work offers a densely kept selection of flora presenting a typical sub-arid thicket with baobab trees towering over the smaller plants. We will see the four hectare botanical garden which comprises over 900 species of plants of which 90% is endemic to the region.

Day 7 - Morondova.

From our anchorage off the town of Morondava we will use the Zodiacs to land on the local beach. From here we have a choice of excursions to explore the local region. A half day morning tour will visit the Avenue de Baobabs. Of the eight baobab species in the world six are endemic to Madagascar. Here we will see the Adansonia grandidieri species with a row of 20-25 trees which border the gravel road. We will learn about the trees and their spiritual significance before returning to Morondova and exploring the local market. Alternatively join a full day excursion to Kirindy Forest. Situated approximately a two hour drive from Morondova, we will pass the Avenue de Baobabs as we travel north. Kirindy is a 10 000 hectare, dry deciduous forest, one of the most endangered in the world where the flora and fauna includes many endemic species. Here we find three species of baobab, many birds and reptiles including snakes, tortoises and lizards, eight species of lemur including the rare pale form marked lemur and other mammals including giant jumping rat, fosa and narrow striped mongoose.

Day 8 - At Sea.

Our lecture programme continues as we continue our journey around the Madagascan coast.

Day 9 - Mahajanga.

Mahajanga is a major port in northwest Madagascar situated on the Betsiboka River and is our base for a full day excursion to Ankarafantsika National Park. This deciduous forest is a haven for birds, lemurs and reptiles and on a choice of walks we will explore with our guides. Eight species of lemur have been observed here including the famous Microcebus, the smallest primate in the world. Meanwhile over 120 species of birds nest here and we will keep an eye out for the Madagascan Fish Eagle and Banded Kestrel whilst the 44 species of reptile include chameleon, turtles and crocodiles that live in Lake Ravelobe. We enjoy lunch in the park and this afternoon can join further walks or visit the Durrell Breeding programme which was established at Ampijora and is dedicated to protecting the ploughshare tortoise, one of the most threatened breeds in the world.

Day 10 - Nosy Tanikely.

Over lunch we arrive at the Nosy Tanikely Island Marine Reserve, an uninhabited island which offers snorkelling opportunities and wonderful beaches. We will take the chance to either swim in the clear waters or snorkel over the corals keeping an eye out for reef fish, turtles and morays. Alternatively our naturalists will lead guided walks on the island where we may see the resident lemurs, fruit bats and hermit crabs and enjoy fantastic views from the lighthouse on the island’s highest point.

Day 11 - Diego Suarez.

After a morning at sea we will enter dramatic Diego Suarez, a stunning natural harbour with a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants including Creoles, Indians, Chinese, Comorans and Arabs. After a brief tour of the town we will use 4x4 vehicles to make our way to the Malagasy Rain Forest at the Mount Amber National Park. Dividing into short and long walk parties we will go in search of lemurs and chameleons as we explore the rain forest. In the towering vegetation we may spot several species of lemurs and chameleons as well as endemic birds, including parrots. If this is not possible based on weather conditions, we will instead visit the Domaine de Fontenay where we will explore the reserve rich with flora, fauna and several waterfalls. On our return to the MS Serenissima we will take a detour to the bay of Diego with its impressive views of the sugar loaf and also home to the indigenous baobab suareziensis tree.

Days 12 & 13 - Nosy Mangabe & Masoala National Park.

Over the next day and a half we will stay in Antongil Bay. Our first call is at Nosy Mangabe, a 520 hectare island reserve in Antongil Bay. Here we find one of the most diverse areas of virgin rain forest in Madagascar which has also been an important research centre since the mid-1960s when several aye-ayes and lemurs were released into the forest. We will use our Zodiacs to land on the beach next to the forest and organise a series of nature walks looking at the varied trees, plants and ferns and also hope to spot chameleon, lizards and black and white ruffed lemur. For the birders we will keep an eye out for Madagascar buzzard, kingfisher and paradise flycatchers. We remain in Antongil Bay overnight to visit Madagascar’s largest protected area, the Masoala National Park which comprises coastal rainforest, flooded forests and marsh and mangroves. Mammal species encountered include the red-ruffed lemur, the red-fronted brown lemur, the aye-aye, the greater hedgehog tenrec and the ring tailed mongoose. The park is also home to various species of brightly coloured Mantella frogs and all manner of extraordinary chameleons. Masoala is also a refuge of the endangered Madagascar red-owl and Madagascar serpent eagle and many endemic bird species. We will run a series of walks for all levels during our time here whilst you also have the option to swim off the beach or perhaps visit the local village.

Day 14 - Ile Sainte Marie & Nosy Nato.

Our final call in Madagascar is at Ile Sainte Marie, also known as Nosy Bohara, a lush tropical island offering sandy beaches, coral reefs and natural beauty. This morning we will explore the capital of Ambodifotatra including the oldest church in Madagascar built in 1837 and the vibrant market. We will then head over to neighbouring Nosy Nato where you can choose to join a nature walk keeping an eye out for the wildlife or simply enjoy an afternoon of swimming and snorkeling.

Day 15 - At Sea

Enjoy a day at sea.

Day 16 - Reunion.

We arrive at breakfast in Reunion where we have a choice of excursions. On a full day tour we will visit the central highlands where spectacularly rugged peaks of dormant or extinct volcanoes cradle huge amphitheatres known as cirques, where mountains tower to over 10,000 feet and beautiful waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet. The rich soil and mellow climate produce a lush and verdant landscape which is dotted with villages and towns with a uniquely French atmosphere. Fields of sugar cane and plantations of tropical fruits, vanilla and all manner of spices perfume the air. We will enjoy views from the Nez des Bouefs and see the Piton de la Fournaise crater. After enjoying a creole lunch in a local restaurant we will visit the “Cite du Volcan” museum. Alternatively enjoy a morning tour to a vanilla plantation in St Andre where we learn about the history and culture of this integral part of Reunion’s heritage. We will also enjoy some free time in St Denis before returning to the MS Serenissima for lunch. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before we set sail this evening.

Day 17 - Mauritius to London.

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight to London.

Day 18 - London.

Arrive this morning

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER - SAVE UP TO £500 PER PERSON ON 2nd JANUARY 18 DEPARTURE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
2 to 19 January 2018
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
2 Standard Stateroom £7385 £6885
3 Standard Stateroom Plus £7585 £7085
4 Superior Stateroom £7795 £7295
5 Deluxe Stateroom £8285 £7785
6 Junior Suite £8385 £8085
7 Executive Suite £8995 £8695
8 Owner’s Suite £8995 £8695
9 Inside Single £6895 £6595
10 Standard Single £7585 £7085
2 Standard Stateroom for sole use £9385 £8885
3 Standard Stateroom Plus for sole use £9585 £9085

8th to 25th February 2018

Prices per person based on double occupancy
8 to 25 February 2018
Category Price
2 Standard Stateroom £7385
3 Standard Stateroom Plus £7585
4 Superior Stateroom £7795
5 Deluxe Stateroom £8285
6 Junior Suite £8385
7 Executive Suite £8995
8 Owner’s Suite £8995
9 Inside Single £6895
10 Standard Single £7585
2 Standard Stateroom for sole use £9385
3 Standard Stateroom Plus for sole use £9585

Tour Reference Code: SCSE020118/SCSE250218

Price Includes: Economy class flights, 15 nights aboard the MS Serenissima on a full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board, expedition team, shore excursions, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visa.

  • All Decks

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Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

 
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • On Deck
    On Deck
  • Harald Jarl Lounge
    Harald Jarl Lounge
  • Jacuzzi area
    Jacuzzi area
  • Owners Suite
    Owners Suite
  • Executive Suite
    Executive Suite
  • Executive suite
    Executive suite
  • Junior Suite
    Junior Suite
  • Superior Stateroom
    Superior Stateroom
  • De Luxe Stateroom
    De Luxe Stateroom
  • Standard Plus
    Standard Plus
  • Standard inside
    Standard inside
  • Serenissima
    Serenissima
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Accommodating no more than 100 passengers, the cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an ensuite bathroom with shower, sink, toilet, a selection of toiletries including shower gel, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. There are ten different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and with the exception of the three inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm. 

    Cabin sizes vary between 7 and 25 square metres.

  • Your Space

    The facilities onboard include two lounges – the larger Andrea Lounge is comfortable and spacious and the smaller Harald Lounge is more intimate. There is also a small library with a computer for internet access. The outside areas are something special with a spacious observation deck allowing for 360 degree views of the passing scenery. From here, step down to the lido area with two treadmills, Jacuzzi and outside bar.

    The covered seating area at the back of deck 6 is ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand. Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. 

  • Your Dining

    The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. Being on deck 5, it has great views from all tables. The picture windows mean the restaurant is light and airy. Breakfast is served buffet-style with cooked dishes available and eggs to order by the ship’s accomplished chef. Lunch is also served buffetstyle with hot and cold dishes available. Dinner is served a la carte and is four courses, except for at the Captain’s Dinner, which is a six course affair. In addition, there are al fresco dining facilities available in good weather.

    Where possible, local produce is sourced for an authentic dining experience. A choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks, and water are included at lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee are served around the clock in the Andrea Lounge. In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere onboard, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure and dress is informal except for the Captain’s Dinner for which you may wish to dress in smarter attire.

  • Life Onboard

    The MS Serenissima is more akin to a countryhotel than one of the large ships trawling the seas today. The European Captain, Officers and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on around the clock entertainment and dining, but instead on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. 

  • For your comfort

    There are so few ships of this generation still cruising and MS Serenissima is a great testament to her present and previous owners that they have seen fit to invest considerable sums over the years to keep her in top form and complying with the stringent health and safety requirements. There is a doctor onboard and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the bridge.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

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  • Drone Footage

    Please click below for some great drone footage of Serenissima.

  • Deck plans
    • All Decks

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What to Expect...

We are truly delighted to be bringing the charming MS Serenissima to the Indian Ocean for the winter of 2017 – 2018. With twenty-five years’ experience of operating expedition cruises in the region, we know the MS Serenissima is ideally suited with her fleet of Zodiacs allowing us to land in remote locations and with only 90 guests, we will be able to explore islands which are off the usual cruise routes of the larger ships in the area.

The difficulty we face when trying to describe our voyages through this region is the real danger of using language which may be taken for typically over-embroidered brochure writer’s waffle so we have asked one of our most experienced Expedition Leaders, Pam Le Noury who has years of experience leading expeditions in the region to explain why she believes the area is perfect for small ship expedition cruising:

The Indian Ocean is one of my most treasured destinations. It offers a wide array of experiences; bustling urban scenery and colourful markets, historical icons like Zanzibar, pristine primary forests just off the beach in Madagascar to the idyllic beaches of Seychelles. It’s a very good mix.

Some islands are pretty tourist-savvy, but where we go in Madagascar and parts of Mozambique they do not see many tourists. There is not that much to buy and guiding is quite basic but all this is enriched by the authentic and appreciated interactions we have with some lovely local people. Having small denomination local currency is helpful to the local people in the remote places we go to as there are usually informal vendors with little handicrafts or spices to sell and it’s a nice way to contribute and engage with locals. Learning a few local words will earn you some huge smiles, getting your photo taken with the people (rather than of the people) is a lovely compliment to them and another way to engage. Local market places are not for everyone; colourful and eclectic in the guide books; you should prepare to have your eyes, ears and nose possibly assaulted with things you just don’t experience at home. It’s wonderful but many of us only really appreciate it in retrospect.

For me a highlight are the hikes we undertake in Madagascar (Masoala) in the hope to be rewarded with a glimpse of the lemurs and chameleons. We try to snorkel at every opportunity and there are some excellent reefs, but we need good sea conditions on the day. An obvious highlight is the beaches of the Outer Seychelles and for the days we are in the Seychelles you will feel like you are on your own deserted island with a selected group of guests.

The Indian Ocean destinations that our small ship and Zodiacs can take us to are wild, off-road, fun, unconstrained by precise timings and fascinating. The intrepid are drawn to this scattered urban wilderness of Africa’s tropical ocean, we love it and we can’t wait to explore it with you.

Onboard Team

  • Guy Esparon

    Guy Esparon was born in the Seychelles and migrated to Australia in 1971, where he spent 30 years living between many of Australia’s cities and the outback. However, his heart never left the Seychelles. Guy lived his dream when he worked on the Aldabra World Heritage Site as Chief Warden. He has an incredible passion and love for Aldabra. He has worked on various expedition ships calling at the Seychelles, and has shared his love for nature and Aldabra with those fortunate enough to visit.

    Guy Esparon will be on the following tour dates: 2 to 19 January 2018 • 8 to 25 February 2018
  • Franz Gingele

    Dr Franz Gingele

    Born and raised in the mountains of southern Bavaria, Franz has long been surrounded by rocks and ice. While studying geology, glaciology, and climatology, Franz engaged in serious rock-climbing and mountaineering pursuits in the Americas. It was during his Ph.D. in marine geology at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven where Franz first became involved with the Polar Regions. He spent over a year in Antarctica throughout four comprehensive research cruises and the icy continent has gripped him ever since. Franz began as a polar travel guide and leader in 1998 and has over 160 expedition cruises to his credit along with his substantial scientific research.

    His work with the Wegener Institute also included Arctic research and extensive travel throughout the northern latitudes. This labor of love led to Franz being recognized as a Fellow of the Explorers Club, a professional society dedicated to the advancement of exploration and scientific research. Decades ago, Franz adopted Australia as his home and now takes part in marine geology and climate research at the Australian National University in Canberra.

    Dr Franz Gingele will be on the following tour dates: 2 to 19 January 2018 • 8 to 25 February 2018

Tour Extensions

    • 18-21 January 2018

      We are delighted to be able to offer an extension to Kruger National Park in-conjunction with our Mauritius, Madagascar & Mozambique voyage. Please note that places for the extension are limited to 20 guests so we recommend reserving your place as soon as possible. 

      Kruger National Park

      The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest game reserve at nearly two million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres (20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique border and is given over to an almost indescribable wildlife experience. This is the land of baobabs, fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees underneath which lurk the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino), the Little Five (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle), the birding Big Six (ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork) and more species of mammals than in any other African Game Reserve.

      Bounded by the Crocodile River in the south and the Sabie River in the north, we will explore the southern region of the park which is also host to the jagged ridge of the Lebombo Mountains along the border to Mozambique, and the highest point in the park, Khandzalive, in the southwestern. The valleys are home to trees rarely found in other parts of the Kruger Park, such as the Cape chestnut, coral tree and lavender fever-berry.

      Giraffes Giraffes

      Day 1 Maputo to Kruger National Park, South Africa. Disembark the MS Serenissima this morning and transfer to the South African border before continuing into the Kruger National Park. We will transfer to the Lukimbi Safari Lodge where we enjoy lunch before embarking on our first game drive this afternoon. Return to the camp for a traditional Boma dinner this evening.

      Day 2 Kruger National Park. Hot and cold beverages will be waiting for you after your early morning wake up call. Enjoy a morning game drive showcasing the wildlife and nature of the southern region of Kruger National Park, followed by breakfast at the lodge. After breakfast, embark on an optional morning bush walk, followed by free time and a leisurely lunch. Later this afternoon you can enjoy another game drive before dinner at the Lodge.

      Day 3 Kruger to London. After another dawn game drive we will enjoy breakfast and check out of the lodge before driving to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport for our short flight to Johannesburg. Connect here with our onward scheduled flight to London.

      Day 4 London. Arrive this morning.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £1295
      Single £1495

      Price Includes: Overnight accommodation in Johannesburg on a bed and breakfast basis (pre-cruise itinerary only), two nights accommodation at the
      Lukimbi Safari Lodge on a full board basis, game drives, transfers, taxes, gratuities.

      Not included: Travel insurance.

    • 5th to 9th February 2018

      We are delighted to be able to offer an extension to Kruger National Park in-conjunction with our Mauritius, Madagascar & Mozambique voyage. Please note that places for the extension are limited to 20 guests so we recommend reserving your place as soon as possible. 

      Kruger National Park

      The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest game reserve at nearly two million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres (20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique border and is given over to an almost indescribable wildlife experience. This is the land of baobabs, fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees underneath which lurk the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino), the Little Five (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle), the birding Big Six (ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork) and more species of mammals than in any other African Game Reserve. Bounded by the Crocodile River in the south and the Sabie River in the north, we will explore the southern region of the park which is also host to the jagged ridge of the Lebombo Mountains along the border to Mozambique, and the highest point in the park, Khandzalive, in the southwestern. The valleys are home to trees rarely found in other parts of the Kruger Park, such as the Cape chestnut, coral tree and lavender fever-berry. 

      Lion Lion

      Day 1 London to Johannesburg. Fly by scheduled flight.

      Day 2 Johannesburg. Arrive this morning and transfer to our hotel. Remainder of the day and evening at leisure.

      Day 3 Johannesburg to Kruger National Park. After breakfast in the hotel we return to the airport for our scheduled flight to Nelspruit’s Kruger Airport. We will transfer to the Lukimbi Safari Lodge where we enjoy lunch before embarking on our first game drive this afternoon. Return to the camp for a traditional Boma dinner this evening.

      Day 4 Kruger National Park. Hot and cold beverages will be waiting for you after your early morning wake up call. Enjoy a morning game drive showcasing the wildlife and nature of the southern region of Kruger National Park, followed by breakfast at the lodge. After breakfast, embark on an optional morning bush walk, followed by free time and a leisurely lunch. Later this afternoon you can enjoy another game drive before dinner.

      Day 5 Kruger National Park to Maputo. After another dawn game drive we will enjoy breakfast and check out of the lodge before driving to the border and crossing into Mozambique for embarkation of the MS Serenissima in Maputo.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £1495
      Single £1695

      Price Includes: Overnight accommodation in Johannesburg on a bed and breakfast basis, two nights accommodation at the Lukimbi Safari Lodge on a full board basis, game drives, transfers, taxes, gratuities.

      Not included: Travel insurance.

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Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000