SA Cruise News

Cape Town cruise sector has fully recovered from 2016 ‘dip’ caused by drought

The Cape Town cruise sector has fully recovered from the contraction in 2016 caused by the drought crisis, says the V&A Waterfront’s Andre Blaine, Executive Manager Marine and Industrial.

He said in a release that although a dip was recorded in the 2016/2017 season as a result of the drought, by the close of the 2018/2019 season, passenger numbers increased by 19% to 66,601.

According to Blaine, this strong recovery has been driven in large part by the new Cape Town Cruise Terminal, which was built in 2015 by the V&A Waterfront, which holds an exclusive contract to operate it for the next 25 years.

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront

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The new Cape Town Cruise Terminal offers the secure, quality service demanded by cruise line operators, says Blaine, and is part of the city’s efforts to increase the number of cruise lines homeporting in Cape Town.

“Cape Town is fast becoming known as the ‘turn-around’ port for both inbound and outbound international arrivals and departures, and we aim to build on this success,” he says. “Our objective is to become the number one port in Southern Africa for cruise liner business.”

“There has also been a significant increase in interest from international cruise line operators in adding Cape Town to their itinerary. These include TUI Cruises, AIDA Cruises, MSC and Royal Caribbean,” he added.

“We are also seeing growth in local cruising along the coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.”

However, it is not just cruise liner passengers who should visit the Cruise Terminal. In 2018 Cape Town’s flagship Panama Jacks seafood restaurant dropped anchor in the Cruise Terminal, from where it continues to provide the best seafood for ships passengers and locals alike.

Passengers disembark at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront cruise terminal

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Cape Town’s roundtrip cruise sector is booming for the coming season. In addition to MSC Cruises, TUI, AIDA and several luxury lines have launched roundtrip cruises from the Mother City for 2019/2020, and next year both TUI and AIDA will return for a full season between November and March.

Between October, 2019 and April, 2020, 21 different ships from 11 cruise lines will dock at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal’s E berth.

AIDAmira will be the first mainstream cruise ship ever to homeport in SA alongside MSC

One of the ships, AIDAmira, will return as many as 17 times, while MSC Orchestra will return six times, Azamara Quest four times, Nautica of Oceania Cruises three times and Bremen of Hapag-Lloyd and Albatross of Phoenix Reisen will each make two visits.

This culminates in 57 ship visits for the season. That number will grow further during the 2020/21 cruise season when MSC homeports MSC Opera in Cape Town as the city’s dedicated ship, while MSC Musica will return for a season out of Durban.

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