SA Cruise News

MSC drops Opera’s 2020/21 Cape Town cruises, Orchestra’s Durban season uncertain

MSC Cruises has cancelled its planned 2020/21 Cape Town cruise season aboard MSC Opera due to ongoing travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, but remains in talks with the South African government for MSC Orchestra’s Durban season.

MSC Cruises modified its 2020/21 South African cruise season amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases globally, which have prompted many countries to reintroduce lockdowns and travel restrictions, as result, the line will not be deploying Opera in Cape Town.

MSC Opera was due to cruise roundtrip from Cape Town for the 2020/21 season.

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In a statement, MSC Cruises said that many of the ports along MSC Opera’s route between Europe, where she is currently located, and South Africa, are closed, making a repositioning cruise unfeasible.

Because of this, they have cancelled the voyage, and the ship’s South African season with it.

“We are genuinely sorry for this most unfortunate situation and would like to extend our gratitude to our guests booked on the cruises for their understanding,” the cruise line said.

Passengers booked on MSC Opera will receive a voucher for the value of their cruise package, known as a future cruise credit.

The future cruise credit is redeemable for the proposed coming season on MSC Orchestra or for the scheduled 2021/22 season aboard MSC Opera, when she is due to return to South African waters.

The future cruise credit can be used for any sailing departing on or before December 31, 2021, according to MSC Cruises.

MSC Orchestra’s season out of Durban is due to go ahead, but MSC has not yet recieved approval from SA authorities.

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Guests who avail the FCC will also receive a shipboard credit of $50 (R812.45) per cabin to be used on their next cruise.

While MSC Opera’s South African cruises have been cancelled, the cruise line has not yet dropped its Durban itineraries aboard MSC Orchestra.

Unlike Opera, the larger Orchestra is already pre-positioned in Durban and is ready to resume cruises once the South African government gives its approval for the resumption of cruise operations.

Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises South Africa, who previously said the cruise line was in talks with local authorities, said the company will continue to work with the South African government and all other relevant authorities, ports and destinations.

“We want to demonstrate that our new health and safety protocol can ensure that future guests can enjoy a safe and relaxing cruise holiday when we are able, subject to approval, to resume our operations in the coming season with MSC Orchestra,” he said.

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