SA Cruise News

Cape Town reaps reward of cruise terminal redevelopment in 2019/2020 season

The V&A Waterfront’s R59-million redevelopment of the Cape Town Cruise Terminal in 2015 has supported growth in the South African cruise sector, with more passengers and cruise ships calling in the Mother City than ever before.

The number of cruise passengers that have visited Cape Town through the cruise terminal since 2015 exceeds 266,000, while during the 2019/2020 cruise season alone more than 100,000 are expected to visit the city.

The first ship ever to be received at the new Cruise Terminal in 2015 was the luxury German liner, the Europa. Since then the harbour has had 150 ship visits, some on multiple occasions.

MSC Musica and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth shared the cruise terminal in January

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For the upcoming cruise season beginning in October, 2019 and ending in April, 2020, 21 different ships from 11 cruise lines will dock at the Cruise Terminal’s E berth.

AIDAmira, sailing her first South African cruise season, will return as many as 17 times for turnaround calls, while MSC Orchestra will return six times during her roundtrip Cape Town itineraries (she is primarily based in Durban for the season).

The luxury cruise ships Azamara Quest (four times) and Nautica (three times) will also make multiple port calls, while Bremen and Albatross (two German ships operated by Hapag-Lloyd and Phoenix Reisen) will each make two visits. This culminates in 57 ship visits for the season.

These will amount to 100,000 passengers and 30,000 crew visiting the city during the season, according to tourism officials, who said the city is well on its way to becoming the go-to cruise port in Southern Africa.

“Cape Town is fast becoming known as the ‘turnaround’ port for both inbound and outbound international arrivals and departures, and we aim to build on this success,” said Andre Blaine, Executive Manager, Marine & Industrial, V&A Waterfront, yesterday during the second call of the year by Queen Elizabeth.

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront

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“Our objective is to become the number one port in Southern Africa for cruise liner business,” he added.

Queen Elizabeth’s first cruise departure of the year from Cape Town in January coincided with a turnaround by MSC Musica as well. It was the first time Cape Town had two ships docking on the same day.

In the season ahead Cape Town can look forward to more double arrivals, notably Artania and MSC Orchestra on January 17th, 2020 and three ships, Norwegian Spirit, World Odyssey and AIDAmira on March 23rd, 2020.

The end of the 2018-2019 cruise season welcomed the arrival of the Viking Sun on her maiden voyage. It was the first occasion that her owner, Viking Ocean Cruises, included South Africa on their itinerary.

In addition, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, the biggest ocean liner in the world at 365m, will return to Cape Town on March 31st, 2020.

These cruise ship calls and turnarounds have a major impact on the local economy, according to Blaine.

“While in port, these visitors all use local transport and book tours, visit local restaurants and tourist attractions and shop for gifts, all of which positively impacts on the economy and job creation,” he says.

“Many passengers and crew also choose to extend their stay in the city, and they either fly home from here or fly to the next port to catch up with their ship,” he added.

The services required by these ships also create a ripple effect on the wider SA economy. While here, they restock with local goods such as food, wines, flowers and more.

Some ships also require maintenance creating further employment for ship builders, welders, electricians, and a host of other technical crew.

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