SA Cruise News

Cunard sending Queen Mary 2 to South Africa for 2020 Cape Town to Southampton cruise

While Cunard Line sails between Cape Town and Southampton every year, it’s traditionally been less often that this historic route is operated by its flagship Queen Mary 2, but that has changed in recent years.

In 2017, Queen Elizabeth cruised between Cape Town and Southampton, while in 2018 Queen Mary 2 used the Mother City as a key turnaround port on her World Cruise, and in 2019 Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will cruise from Cape Town three times.


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The ramp-up in Cunard cruises from Cape Town comes amid growing interest from South African’s themselves in the cruise line, and growing demand for cruises from the SA source market.

“South Africa is a very mature source market where Cunard has established itself as a recognised cruise brand with a loyal following,” Bob Dixon, Cunard Line’s General Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Cruise Arabia & Africa back in 2015.

“In 2013, Imagine Cruising from the UK set up an operation in SA and we have seen a quantum leap in both passenger volumes and a step change in the type of cruises being booked, including more trans-Atlantics,” says Dixon.


Queen Mary 2’s Cape Town to Southampton voyage in 2020 is a 17-night cruise up the West African coast, departing April 1st, calling at Walvis Bay, Tenerife and Funchal before arriving in the UK. It’s a port-lean cruise that spends a full 8 days and nine nights at sea between Namibia and the Canary Islands (which were once considered the edge of the world).

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However, for South African cruise passengers, it’s a route with huge historic significance as it’s the same route taken by the Union-Castle liners between Cape Town and Southampton during the heyday of the ocean liner in the 19th and 20th centuries.


For those with the time and resources, this 17-night cruise can be booked as a 24-night voyage, which includes a 7-night leisurely trans-Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York.

On both of these itineraries, Queen Mary 2 will spend a full night and two days in Cape Town on April 1st and 2nd, 2020, giving passengers plenty of time to explore the Mother City, and giving South African Cunard passengers plenty of extra time to enjoy the ship.

Queen Mary 2 will be cruising this route following her major mid-life refurbishment in 2017, which saw key public areas and all staterooms upgraded or refreshed with new carpeting and other soft furnishings.

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