SA Cruise News

Durban celebrates inaugural port call of MSC Orchestra with traditional dance ceremony

The Port of Durban laid on a traditional Zulu dance ceremony for passengers aboard MSC Orchestra this week as the ship made her inaugural port call in Durban ahead of her 2019/2020 South African cruise season out of the city.

Saturday was a big day for the city’s cruise tourism scene, with the new beachfront promenade launched, the ground-breaking for the new Durban Cruise Terminal, and the arrival of MSC Orchestra, marking the official start of the new 2019/2020 SA cruise season.

Passengers aboard MSC Orchestra were greeted with a traditional dance ceremony

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Moshe Motlohi, General Manager, Port of Durban, said these developments reflected growing confidence in Durban as a cruise destination and homeport.

“We thank MSC Cruises for continuously deploying their cruise vessels to the South African market, which has increased our country’s cruise competitiveness,” he said.

“MSC Orchestra’s use of the Port of Durban as her homeport will see even more domestic and international tourists enjoying itineraries that take in our South African hub cruise ports of Durban and Cape Town, as well as ports in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Mauritius,” he added.

Motlohi said that the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) had aligned its goals with city officials to grow the city from a regional cruise hub into a global cruise capital, with the new Durban Cruise Terminal and the Point Development project working in tandem.

“TNPA, in partnership with the City of Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal, is growing Durban as a Smart Port City and a world-class cruise capital,” he said. “This aligns with the KZN Integrated Maritime Industry Development Strategy launched onboard the MSC Sinfonia in 2013, which highlighted Maritime Tourism as a catalyst for economic development.”

MSC Orchestra, alongside sister ship MSC Musica, is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in South Africa

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MSC Orchestra is a sister ship to MSC Musica, which homeported in Durban last year for the first time, the largest cruise ship ever to do so. Orchestra is the same size and carries the same number of passengers, with a 2,550 capacity at double occupancy.

She is a year younger though, having been launched in 2007.

MSC Orchestra’s arrival in Durban ended a 29-night cruise from Genoa in Italy and almost a full week at sea on the run from Reunion.

Traditional dancers welcomed the ship to the Zulu Kingdom as she tied up alongside at M-Berth, becoming the latest in a long line of MSC cruise ships to cruise roundtrip from Durban.

These include MSC Symphony, MSC Monterey, MSC Rhapsody, MSC Melody and more recently MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Musica.

Musica and Opera will both return to South Africa in tandem next year when MSC Cruises launches its largest South African cruise season to date, with Musica homeporting in Durban and Opera in Cape Town.

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