Cape Town looks set to make a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2021/22 cruise season, with 32 cruise ships calls expected.
The 32 scheduled cruise ship calls will primarily be made by ships homeporting in South Africa for the summer cruise season between November, 2021 and March, 2022.
The South African cruise sector reopened just a few days ago when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would move to an adjusted alert level 1 footing amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Under alert level 1, cruise tourism is allowed to resume, and the boutique luxury cruise line Azamara promptly confirmed it would be returning to the Mother City for a summer season.
MSC Cruises was close behind, with plans to cruise roundtrip from both Durban and Cape Town this year. Because MSC Cruises will be begining the SA cruise season a month late in December, it has extended its itineraries into May next year.
Other cruise ships scheduled to either cruise from Cape Town, or visit the city on longer grand voyages, include Europa 2, Norwegian Jade, Amera, Le Lyrial, Silver Whisper, Silver Explorer, Seven Seas Mariner, Albatros, Crystal Endeavour, Insignia and Queen Mary 2.
Although a promising start, the numbers are a fraction of the cruise traffic Cape Town saw during the 2019/2020 cruise season, which was cut short by the pandemic.
However, cruise officials anticipate a quick recovery for the city, which has become an increasingly popular global cruise destination.
“We are excited to welcome cruise ships back into Cape Town to ignite exploration of the city and the greater Western Cape region,” said Wrenelle Stander, spokesperson for Cruise Cape Town and Wesgro CEO.
“We were expecting 85 cruise calls for the 2019/2020 season, and we are encouraged by this initial demand – we’re looking forward to getting back to pre-pandemic numbers soon,” he added.
Wesgro is the Official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, while Cruise Cape Town is a collaborative project between the government and private sector that aims to grow the local cruise economy.
Key Cape Town Attractions
There are a range of experiences to be had and things to do and see in Cape Town, but the key ones are known as the Cape Town Big 6.
They include Cape Point, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Groot Constantia, Robben Island, Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront.
Cape Point is the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent and best experienced via the Table Mountain cable car.
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are located at the eastern foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town and are considered among the most spectacular in the world.
Groot Constantia is a winery in Cape Town’s famous Constantia Wine Route, established in 1685, it features cellar tours, wine tastings, 2 restaurants & historical museums.
Robben Island is located 7-kilometres off the coast and is a former prison where anti-Apartheid activists were held, including President Nelson Mandela, who established a modern multi-racial democracy in the country.
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain range that dominates the city and makes it an iconic destination to approach from the sea. The mountain is accessible by hiking or the cable car.
The V&A Waterfront (officially The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront) takes its name from South Africa’s former monarch during the colonial era, Queen Victoria and her husband Alfred. The mixed-use development, with both retail, commercial and lifestyle destinations, is located in South Africa’s oldest working harbour and has 450 shops and restaurants.