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Its happening! Expedition ships are back.

Everything is coming together for the Silversea’s Silver Explorer with up to 144 passengers to make a call to Ilha de Mozambique in April. This is the first ship since February 2020 and we are very excited, after a 2 year hiatus international tourism is coming back. Lets hope that this is the first of many expedition ships to visit our shores.

Blue Zissou are the ground handlers, we negotiate with the ship’s agent, design the shore excursions, liaise with local service providers and authorities to make sure things go smoothly overall. And we contract our partner Ilha Blue to set things up and run the activities on the day.

Expedition ships are different from large cruise ships.

Blue Zissou manager Liaising with Expedition Leader

Different in the same way that boutique lodges are different from package holiday resorts. Expedition ships are more luxurious, have fewer passengers and provide their customers with new and exciting experiences. Passengers are different too, they are looking for new authentic experiences and are fascinated by local history and culture making Ilha one of their favorite destinations.

Good news for tour guides, local women & youth

Guides and ship’s representative waiting for first passengers to disembark

Ilha Blue employs extra supervisors and guides, plus an army of young men and women to do everything from hanging shades, running errands, greeting passengers on the pontao and putting everything away afterwards. Add to this a team of local women to cook and feed the workers and you understand why everyone loves it when these ships call to Ilha.

opportunities for small business including DHOW BOAT OPERATORS, transport operators AND ATTRACTIONS

Traditional Dhow Flotilla

Anyone that knows how Blue Zissou operates understands that it is in our blood to share the economic benefits when an expedition ship calls here. We design the shore excursions to maximise the involvement of small business, this includes: 3 dance teams, 12 professional guides,10 dhows and all their crew, a bus transport operator to ferry passengers between attractions, a local cafe to provide refreshments and of course the main attractions of the Museum and Fortaleza that tickets every passenger that comes ashore.

A bonus for arts and craft makers & sellers

Women’s group Axinene creating embroidered textiles

Passengers on expedition ships are keen to buy things that are unique to the destination, of good quality and made from sustainable materials – so no shells, ebony or imported goods. Providence is important too, all the better if the items are made by the person selling them or are produced through a local cooperative or social enterprise. Vendors that get this right will find enthusiastic buyers willing to pay top dollar for their pieces.

A great way to raise the profile of Ilha de Mozambique as a World Class destination

Ilha’s world heritage skyline

Silversea are one of the world’s most luxurious expedition ship companies, so being included in their itinerary brings all kinds of additional benefits.

Importantly it situates Ilha de Mozambique alongside the other, more famous Indian Ocean destinations such as the Seychelles, Mauritius, the Maldives and Zanzibar and this brings Ilha the kind of ‘high-end’ publicity and media attention it could never afford to buy. Even hotels and restaurants that don’t directly benefit from expedition ships can enjoy this publicity and accompanying ‘halo effect’.

"Where expedition ships call, all boats rise". 

Creating A vision for the future

Globally, expedition cruising is set to grow exponentially and Ilha de Mozambique with all its unique attractions combined with the professionalism of Blue Zissou can be a part of this adventure. We expect to quickly get back to where we were in 2018 with 8 ships in a year, and hope to grow this within 2 or 3 years.

Blue Zissou can service their needs with creativity and professionalism. No other company in Mozambique has the expedition ship experience we have, or the networks of guides, other service providers and officials to successfully manage one of these major events.

This is sustainable economic activity with local culture at its heart. Happening mainly in the off-season between October and April and raising the profile of the destination to a global audience. Whats not to love?

For more information regarding the destination and shore handling for future expedition ships email


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