SA Cruise News

Cape Town Cruise Project launched to put South Africa on mainstream map

Cape Town has long been popular with expedition cruise ships and luxury cruise lines, but now the city is focusing on growing port calls from the major mainstream cruise lines with the Cape Town Cruise Project.

The project is a collaborative effort by various stakeholders to improve cruise liner accessibility, as well as transport in and out of the Mother City and plans to improve Cape Town’s competitiveness in the global cruise industry.

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

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Transnet, the V&A Waterfront, the Western Cape government, Wesgro, The City of Cape Town, the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) have expressed interest and an MoU will be signed in the coming weeks.

“The Cruise Cape Town initiative emulates the collaborative development model that has made the Cape Town Air Access so successful in developing direct air links to the city,” a statement read.

The initiative aims to build on the current success the city is seeing as an emergent cruise destination, with cruise lines like AIDA Cruises and TUI homeporting in the city for the first time, and MSC Cruises planning to bring a dedicated Cape Town cruise ship for a full season.

Cunard Line’s ship Queen Elizabeth at the V&A Waterfront cruise terminal

According to V&A Waterfront marine and industrial executive manager  Andre Blaine, Royal Caribbean, the second-largest cruise line in the world, has also expressed interest in cruising from Cape Town.

Speaking to the South African, he said passenger numbers coming into the harbour were up 19% and that Cape Town is considered a great “turn-around port” for cruise liners, and expects the influx of tourists to do wonders for Western Cape industry.

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

The Cape Town Cruise Project has been welcomed by the local cruise market as well.

“There has been a significant appetite for Cape Town from international cruisers as well as more cruise offerings for the local cruise market,” Oceania’s Sales Director for Mainland EU, ME & Africa, Riet Goetschalck told IoL.

“South Africa is a growing cruise market and destination Cape Town a popular option for international cruise passengers,” she added.

This popularity is evident in Nautica’s three cruises from Cape Town during the 2019/2020 cruise season, with a two-week roundtrip cruise planned for the 2020/21 season as well.

Norwegian Cruise Line is also cruising from South Africa in 2020 (for the first time), with Norwegian Spirit, and will follow her turnaround port call up in 2021 with Norwegian Dawn.

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