All roundtrip cruises from Cape Town aboard TUI, AIDA, MSC, Azamara and Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as international departures aboard other major lines have been cancelled for the rest of the year.
There were a dozen cruises from Cape Town scheduled for the remainder of the year, with the 2021/22 cruise season due to start in November, but due to ongoing uncertainty over travel restrictions, cruise lines have been forced to pull out of the country.
The move mirrors that taken by cruise lines in September last year, when the 2020/21 cruise season was cancelled due to a third wave of infections across the country, which saw the national lockdown extended.
Although South Africa has now begun to open up again, many countries continue to maintain a “do not travel” designation for the country, meaning any foreign tourists to South Africa, including cruise tourists, will need to quarantine on arrival back to their home country.
The United Kingdom, one of the largest foreign markets for fly-cruise tourism to South Africa, has kept the country on its “red list”, meaning at least ten days of mandatory quarantine for returning tourists, which makes a cruise to or from Cape Town unfeasible.
While Germany, the primary source market for AIDA Cruises, which was due to homeport AIDAmira in Cape Town, has removed South Africa from its red list, the ongoing travel restrictions for other countries on the itineraries makes a repositioning voyage from Europe logistically impractical.
AIDAmira is currently in cold lay-up in Tenerife off the coast of West Africa, along with Mein Schiff Herz, her a fellow German cruise ship, which was also scheduled to homeport in Cape Town for the coming cruise season.
While the outlook is currently bleak, the 2021/22 South African cruise season isn’t yet lost entirely.
Azamara currently still has its January, 2022 cruises from Cape Town aboard Azamara Pursuit open for booking, as does Norwegian Cruise Line for Norwegian Jade, which was meant to be sailing her first ever South African cruise season this year.
Other cruise lines with scheduled departures from Cape Town for the remainder of the 2021/22 cruise season include Regent Seven Seas Cruises (aboard Seven Seas Mariner), Hapag-Lloyd (aboard Europa 2), and Silversea Cruises (aboard Silver Whisper).
Norwegian, Azamara and Hapag-Lloyd are offering roundtrip cruises of 12 nights in January, while Hapag-Lloyd is due to sail a 14-night roundtrip in February, before repositioning to the Canary Islands at the end of the month.
There are a total of 13 cruise departures from Cape Town for the remainder of the season, but it’s likely that most or all will be cancelled unless more of the major cruise source markets open up to South Africa(Europe, North America, Australia, UK, etc all maintain a red list status for South Africa).