The R300-million cruise terminal is expected to significantly boost the local cruise sector and will be up and running during MSC Orchestra’s coming cruise season out of Durban.
In an interview with the Berea Mail, Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises SA, said that although the project had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was now back on track.
“Once complete, the terminal will transform the port experience for cruise passengers,” he said. “It will also have appeal beyond the cruise sector thanks to its contemporary feel, improved energy efficiency, as well as a flexible space for conferences and events.”
“There will be parking for 300 vehicles, with curbside drop-off facilities for six buses, dedicated baggage drop-off areas, separate screening and temporary holding areas, as well as separate passenger entry and exit points,” he added.
The cruise terminal will be 5,000sqm, with a 340-metre quayside, meaning that even the new 200,000-gross ton World-class megaliners being built by MSC Cruises will be able to use it (although there are no plans for that in the foreseeable future).
The Durban Cruise Terminal (also known as the Kwa-Zulu Natal Cruise Terminal), was meant to be completed this year. The first ground-breaking took place in 2019, with the project forming part of a much larger re-development of the Durban Waterfront area.
A new boulevard will connect the Durban Cruise Terminal with the newly-launched Beachfront Promenade. Beyond the Beachfront, new hotels, restaurants and other lifestyle retail developments are planned, transforming the city’s downtown skyline.
The plan is for the Durban Cruise Terminal to sit in the heart of a new tourist quarter for the city, enhancing its appeal for MSC Cruises as a homeport, as well as other international cruise lines, which typically homeport in Cape Town during the annual winter cruise season.
The redevelopment of cruise infrastructure in Dubai and Abu Dhabi concurrently during 2015 to 2020 has shown that cruise ports in the same country don’t need to compete.
Instead, cruise lines typically inter-port between the two cities, offering both as a turnaround port on their roundtrip cruise itineraries.
Durban has huge potential as an international cruise destination and homeport. It’s the principle cruise port for the domestic cruise market, accommodating MSC Cruises since the 1990s, and lies within a few days sailing of multiple exotic destinations in the Indian Ocean.