Patrick Chitumba in Victoria Falls
ZIMBABWE’S biggest luxury cruise liner, the Zambezi Explorer, was officially launched on Sunday on the Zambezi River bank before tourism sector executives. The cruise liner hit the Zambezi waters ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to be co-hosted with Zambia in late August.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive, Mr Karikoga Kaseke cut the ribbon before a bottle of champagne was popped and poured onto the liner’s entry point.
With capacity for 140 guests, the Zambezi Explorer has been described as ideal for both leisure and corporate events where either the entire craft or part of it may be hired for exclusive functions or product launches.
Mr Kaseke said such investment into the sector was evident enough that the country was still a major player to reckon.
“This is a historic moment in the tourism industry and is coming just under three months before we co-host the general assembly. A lot has been said and one concerning the general assembly and I know that we are ready to co-host the event,” said Mr Kaseke.
“This local investment shows that there is still confidence in local tourism and there is capacity for the tourism to regain its status. We are coming from a time when there was havoc caused by the Zimbabwe dollar when the hotels were empty but this shows that we are coming out of the woods.”
He said he hoped that the interest shown in the country by tourists would translate into actual business.
“The Ministry has already booked the vessel for the ministerial luncheon and for the spouses’ sunset cruise,” he said.
Zambezi Explorer chief executive Mr Messias Maoneni said they were optimistic that the country was on the right track to regaining its status as the tourism hub of the region. He said the $1,2million investment was going to result in the transformation of the cruising sector.
“We are looking into the future. We are looking at local, regional and international clients and that’s why the variety in dishes to be offered on this liner. It took us a period of about five years from conception period to actual realisation of our dream liner,” said Mr Maoneni.
The two lower decks provide a 5-star luxury service where guests can choose from an exciting range of beverages and cocktails as well as a selection of delicious snacks.
Information provided by the company indicates the “Signature Deck” is the third level and has gourmet hors d’oeuvres and premium beverages served from a private bar. Guests on that level can relax in the comfort of deep set couches and enjoy absolute VIP service.
The Zambezi Explorer offers sunrise, lunch, dinner and sunset cruises on the Zambezi.
The cruise liner also offers Jetty dinner — a candle light dinner accompanied by the ambient sounds of the African night.
Source: Biggest luxury cruise liner launched (11/6/13)