ZIMBABWE’S biggest luxury cruise liner, the Zambezi Explorer, is expected to hit the Zambezi waters in the second week of May and improve the country’s product offering ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to be co-hosted with Zambia in late August this year.
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.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi told businessdigest on the sidelines of the Zambezi Explorer’s official launch at GDI shipyard in Msasa the UNWTO organising committee, which he co-heads with his Zambian counterpart Sylvia Masebo, had plans to slot the cruise liner on the events list to add value to the UNWTO general assembly.
Zambezi Explorer CE Messias Maoneni said a mini carnival on April 20 will mark the boat’s send off to Victoria Falls where it will be reassembled over a three-week period before commencing trial runs and full scale operations.
Maoneni said the company hoped to recover all its costs of purchasing the boat, which were around US$1,2 million, in the first year of operation given anticipated strong patronage.
“We are certain this will be a success and we hope to get a wide customer base including corporates for their functions,” he said.
The boat will be transported along the Masvingo-Zvishavane-Bulawayo route as there are less overhead electricity pylons along the way en-route to Victoria Falls.
Late 2012, GDI announced the Zambezi Explorer would have three decks which are partly solar powered.
An official with the company said the dream was to have it completely solar powered to be ‘eco-friendly” but this would not be possible and it would only have on board-lighting powered by 30 square metres of photovoltaic cells. A cruise on the boat will cost between US$70-US$90 per person.
“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,” said a company spokesman.
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.