Silversea Luxury Cruises A Toamasina


Like most of Madagascar’s east coast ports, Toamasina, also known as Tamatave, began as a pirate community. The French, who were already a presence in Ile Ste-Marie, established a trading port here in the late 18th century, only to be challenged by the British governor of newly acquired Mauritius. Madagascar was the main supplier of slaves in the Indian Ocean. The British Parliament abolished the slave trade in 1807; the attack on Toamasina was made to end slavery at its source. View more

The victorious British retained a small garrison and began to develop Toamasina into a major port. In 1896 the French declared Madagascar a colony; it remained one until 1958 when the autonomous Malagasy Republic was established. Independence was granted by France in 1960. Theories on the origin of the name Toamasina vary; one is that King Radama I tasted the sea water and remarked "Toa masina" - it is salty. The lush coastal area is often referred to as the Coast of Greenery due to the extensive rainy season. Toamasina is also the name of the province, which includes the port town, the rice-producing plain of Maroantsetra, the Nosy Mangabe Nature Reserve, the rain forests around Andasibe, the giant Pangalanes Channel and the former pirate havens of the Bay of Antongil and Ile Ste-Marie. Today the town of about 70,000 is home to the country’s largest port. Its once-fine colonial houses lend Toamasina a somewhat shabby elegance. It is a busy place with sailors and tourists, offering a variety of bars, restaurants and hotels. Most visitors spend only a day or two in town as the attractions are really found outside in the country. While in town, visit the colorful market, where vendors display a wide array of produce, seafood and spices such as vanilla, cloves and black pepper, and locally made quality straw goods. The official language is Malagasy, with French as the second language, spoken mainly in the cities. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock in the port of Toamasina, located about one mile from the center of town. Taxis and pousse-pousse (rickshaws) pick up customers only at the port’s main gate. Walking to town is not recommended. Do not carry large amounts of cash on you or wear expensive jewelry as thievery is common in this busy port town. Shopping Visit the market for local color and an amazing display of produce and spices. Cloves are cultivated in large quantities and exported to India as food spices. A good selection of locally made straw articles are also available at the market. There are a few shops along Boulevard Joffre, Toamasina's main street, that are worth checking out. The local currency is the Ariary. Cuisine Oriental dishes, particularly Chinese food are your best bet here. European cuisine is only found in the major hotels in town. Try the restaurant at the Hotel Joffre, the Bateau Ivre, Sharon or Le Neptune. Other Sites If you wish to explore the town on your own, we recommend making the Hotel Joffre your landmark. To minimize your walk, hire a pousse-pousse (rickshaw), but be sure to negotiate the price before getting in. Beaches Although Toamasina has beaches, frequent shark sightings discourage swimming. A better choice is the pool at one of the hotels. Private arrangements are not encouraged in this port.

An Introduction to Silversea Cruises

The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.

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