MSC Portuguese Island cruise

MSC Portuguese Island Cruise: Sunshine and pure bliss

Today I found my mind wandering back to a few years ago, to one of our first big trips together. An MSC Portuguese Island Cruise. A cruise to Maputo and The Portuguese island. For anybody who is unsure, The Portuguese island is a small, uninhabited island found off the coast of Mozambique, in Africa. It is nowhere close to Portugal. As South Africans – this was a trip that was not too far from home for us.

The cruise was a trip that we took back in 2014. As the first ‘international’ trip that Peter and I did together, this one will always hold a special place in our hearts. We have visited many exotic destinations and major cities around the world since then but the MSC Portuguese island cruise has still got to be one of my favourite trips. It may or may not have to do with my love for the ocean but I discovered a myriad of reasons why life is more fun when you’re out at sea.

The local MSC cruise from South Africa is typically either 3 or 4 nights long. We opted for the 4 night cruise with stopovers in both Maputo and The Portuguese island. Maputo was great but I had been to Mozambique before and it was The Portuguese island that stole the show. Stretched out over beautiful beaches, this uninhabited island is only 6km big. Yes, you could explore every nook and cranny of this island in a day! It’s so secluded which is one of the best assets that this island has to offer. The only people in sight are fellow cruisemates – speed boats transport passengers from the cruise ship to the island. Other than a few huts set up by MSC Cruises, Portuguese Island is made up of pristine stretches of beach skirted by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

MSC Portuguese Island Cruise: What makes it special

MSC Portuguese Island Cruise

Untouched by humans

Well not quite, since the MSC cruise takes people here regularly, but you get my drift. This is an uninhabited island, meaning that it is not populated by people. There is something so beautiful about visiting a piece of the Earth that hasn’t been destroyed by humans. With a world population of over 7.6 billion people, it’s hard to believe that there are still places in the world that don’t bare our permanent footprint. As we continue to grow in numbers, these types of places are likely to become more sparse. For those of us with an adventurous spirit, these experiences are surreal.

Tipo Tinto

Enjoyed in Mozambique for over 150 years, Tipo Tinto is an island specialty. It’s usually mixed with raspberry juice to make a delicious and very refreshing concoction to quench the thirst and of course, give you a “buzz”. Commonly known as R&R (Rum and Raspberry), it’s a hugely popular drink among South African holiday makers, a nation that is notorious for never missing out on a good party. It’s very tasty but can be quite potent. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

No rush, no worries and no noise!

You are free to listen to the waves crashing against the shore, feel the sea breeze blowing through your hair and look out into complete paradise with absolutely nothing else in sight. It’s very easy to find an isolated spot on the island, with nobody else in sight. You could even have your very own yoga session, if you wanted to. It’s a truly surreal experience. We hired a kayak that we took out into the ocean which was so much fun. The tide was so low and the sea so calm, that we paddled out for miles. We were still able to get out and stand, even when we were so far out from the shore. In fact, we could have gone on our own MSC Portuguese Island Cruise!

As the sun started to go down over the sea and the tide started to come in, it was time to head back to the boat. If I could have stayed on the Portuguese Island forever, I probably would have. I am a self-confessed island girl with a love for sunshine, salt air and beach sand. I most likely will never find an island that I don’t like but The Portuguese island has stolen a piece of my heart.

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Holly Goodyear

Wow, I’ve never thought about taking a cruise but this looks amazing! And I love reminiscing about past trips 🙂

Amy Fujimoto

Tipo tinto sounds lovely! Lol. You’re right that it’s hard to imagine some places are still untouched by the human population. It sounds like this cruise was a winner!

Amber Tatton
Amber Tatton

I always love the idea of exploring places that are uninhabited. In fact as a kid I used to visit an abandoned falling down barn in the countryside with my friends. This sounds like such a lovely place with so many memories


I’m very curious about this island now, would of loved to have seen some photos! We have an island here in the Netherlands that is also inhabitable and perfect for wildlife that you can visit for the day. It’s these places that are pretty sweet to visit!

Kathryn Rossiter

Hey I found your post via the FTB link up and wanted to say “Hi” as I’m a fellow travel blogging Saffa! I also did the MSC cruise to Portuguese Island about 2 years ago and it was heavenly!! I would love to go back… and take my kids next time. What a wonderful experience. Did you pop over to Inhaca Island too? I’ll link to my posts so you can read them… and plan your next cruise!

Mohana Das

Such a sonically pleasing name, Tipo Tinto! The Indian Ocean looks gorgeous. I have never been on a ship but this sounds like a great idea!

Mayi Mac

I’m intrigued by this island now and like Zoe, would have loved seeing some pictures of it! Maybe it meant so we can go, viist and see for ourselves? In any case, this would love to go in this kind of cruise.

Ali Dunnell

Your post makes this sound like the perfect way to spend a few relaxing days. I’ve been living in East Africa for four years, but have yet to make it to Mozambique… I hope I manage to visit these islands one day 🙂


Portuguese Island Cruise sounds amazing. And I would love to try the rum and Rasberry drink. I think I would be drinking that all day long 😀


I have always wondered do cruise make you sea sick? If not i would love to take a small trip. Lovely post.


What a lovely piece of paradise! I’ve also been fascinated by uninhabited island as they are very seldom to find. 🙂 MSC Portuguese Island Cruise sounds like a gem indeed! .. This is such a lovely memory btw.. I always find ‘firsts’ very special too. 🙂