MSC Cruises has invested significant money in the local cruise industry and has contributed immeasurably to Durban’s status as the lead homeport in the country, according to Acting Port Manager at the Port of Durban, Nokuzola Nkowane.
“MSC Cruises must be praised for its continued investment into the South African cruise tourism industry, introducing exceptional cruise ships and new itineraries that attract thousands of domestic and international tourists each year,” she said.
“Their commitment has certainly helped to cement the Port of Durban’s status as ‘Africa’s Leading Cruise Port’, as awarded at the 2018 World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean segment,” Nkowane added.
Her comments came as Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) bid farewell to MSC Musica last week with a plaque exchange and water cannon salute from the port’s tugs.
MSC Musica sailed 41 cruises from Durban during the 2018/19 cruise season between November 2018 and April 2019, and several from Cape Town as well.
She is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in South Africa and is a major sign of MSC’s commitment to growing the local cruise market.
In addition, MSC Cruises has partnered with TNPA to transform the port’s N-Shed into a more welcoming facility for domestic and international tourists, and is a partner in the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) consortium.
KCT has secured a 25-year port concession from TNPA to finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer a new Cruise Terminal Facility in the Port of Durban at an estimated value of more than R200 million.
“MSC Cruises’ continued partnerships with TNPA demonstrate that they are committed to supporting efforts to expand port infrastructure to accommodate more cruise ships, as well as larger ships,” said Nkowane.
For the forthcoming Southern African 2019/20 cruise season – which begins in November, 2019 – MSC Cruises will be bringing the similarly sized MSC Orchestra to the continent.
Nkowane said TNPA looked forward to welcoming the new visitor, which will make her maiden visit to the Port of Durban on 27 October, 2019.
To bid a temporary farewell to MSC Musica and to mark the close of the cruise season for the Port of Durban and South Africa as a whole, TNPA held a ceremonial tug spray and gift exchange ceremony aboard the vessel, while traditional dancers performed on the quayside.
Durban Harbour Master, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose of TNPA presented a plaque to the ship’s master, Captain Ciro Pinto.
Categories: SA Cruise News