South Africa’s ports are ramping up for a bumper cruise season with at least eight luxury cruise lines and over ten passenger vessels of varying sizes set to ferry international and domestic tourists across the country’s port cities.
The South African cruise
season kicked off officially in October with a number of smaller vessels already having called at South Africa’s ports. They are en route to and from travel hotspots in Africa, Europe
, the Far East
, the Mediterranean, South America and more.
However the MSC SINFONIA – a cruise ship in the local cruise calendar – marked a highlight in the 2015/16 cruise calendar when she arrived in her homeport of Durban in the early hours of Thursday, November 19. This was her first South African call this season.
Fresh from a 50 million Euro revamp, the already impressive vessel has been upgraded with new features and facilities, including lengthening by an extra 24 meters and the addition of around 200 extra balcony cabins with capacity for around 500 more passengers.
The upgrades called for close collaboration between TNPA and MSC to ensure that the longer vessel could be accommodated at South African ports.
TNPA’s Port Manager for the Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi, said, “The newly lengthened MSC SINFONIA will now be accommodated at the longer M berth in the Port of Durban, however other cruise liners will continue to be served at Durban’s N Shed cruise ship facility, which has recently been upgraded through a joint initiative between TNPA and MSC. This has brought the terminal more in line with international standards and will cater for the growth of the local cruise tourism sector.”
N-Shed now boasts a number of new features for an improved passenger experience such as new signage, immigration and check-in desks, a new fast track lounge, new baggage scanners and conveyor belt, an air-conditioning system, extra seating, balustrades, turnstiles and sail shades, new ramps and a back-up generator and UPS in the event of load shedding.
TNPA also recently awarded the tender for the upgrade of the cruise facility at E Berth in the Port of Cape Town to the V&A Waterfront and is finalising the Terminal Operator Agreement with the preferred bidder. The V&A Waterfront has proposed a three-phase growth plan involving capital spend aimed at enhancing the passenger experience. The terminal upgrade makes up the first phase of a larger site revamp. Once completed, the port’s passenger terminal will be able to accommodate its current and future passenger vessel fleet. It is also envisaged that the upgraded facility will house value-added retail and hospitality services.
The RMS ST HELENA was the first passenger vessel to call this season when she berthed in Cape Town in October. MS OCEAN PRINCESS, owned by Princess Cruises, has called at the Port of Cape Town followed by calls at East London and Durban. MS AMADEA, owned by Amadea Shipping Company and operated under charter by the Germany-based Phoenix Reisen, has called thus far at Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Richards Bay. Holland America Line’s MS ROTTERDAM also called at Cape Town.
The South African cruise season runs from late October to early May. Cruise liner calls to South Africa for the remainder of 2015 include the following, although dates may be subject to change:
- MSC’s MSC SINFONIA, calling at Durban on November 19
- Oceania Cruises’ NAUTICA, calling at Richards Bay on November 20, Durban on November 21, Cape Town from November 23-24 and Port Elizabeth on November 30
- MSC’s MSC SINFONIA, calling at Durban on November 23 and again on November 27
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ SEVEN SEAS MARINER, calling at Cape Town (November 23-24), Mossel Bay on November 25, Durban on November 29 and Port Elizabeth on December 2
- Transocean Tours’ MS ASTOR, calling at Cape Town on November 26
- Oceania Cruises' MS MARINA, calling at Cape Town from November 27-29
- Oceania Cruises’ INSIGNIA, calling at Richards Bay on November 26, Durban on November 27, East London on November 28 and Cape Town from November 30 to December 1
- Oceania Cruises’ NAUTICA, calling at East London on December 1, Durban on December 2, Mossel Bay on December 7 and Cape Town from December 8-10
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ SEVEN SEAS MARINER, calling at Port Elizabeth on December 2
- RMS ST HELENA, calling at Cape Town from December 4-6
- MSC’s MSC SINFONIA, calling at Durban on December 5 and returning on December 7
- Silversea Cruises’ SILVER CLOUD, calling at Cape Town on December 6, Port Elizabeth on December 8, East London on December 9, Durban on December 10 and Richards Bay on December 11
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ SEVEN SEAS MARINER, calling at Cape Town from December 8-10
- MSC’s MSC SINFONIA, calling at Durban on December 11 and returning on December 14
- Oceania Cruises’ OÇEAN NAUTICA, calling at Port Elizabeth on December 12 and Durban on December 14
- Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2, calling at Richards Bay on December 12, Durban on December 15, Port Elizabeth on December 16 and Cape Town on December 19
- Voyages to Antiquity’s AEGEAN ODYSSEY, calling at Cape Town from December 16-18 and Port Elizabeth on December 24
- MSC’s MSC SINFONIA, calling at Durban on December 18 and returning on December 21
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER, calling at Durban on December 19, Cape Town from December 20-21, returning to Durban on December 24 and Richards Bay on Christmas Day, December 25
- MSC SINFONIA, calling at Durban on December 28 and returning on December 21
- Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2 calling at Cape Town on 26 December, Durban on December 29 and Port Elizabeth on December 30
- RMS ST HELENA, calling at Cape Town from December 28-30
- Silversea Cruises’ SILVER CLOUD, calling at Durban on December 31