South Africa is gearing up for a strong bounce back from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and the Omicron variant of 2021, with 60 cruise itineraries scheduled to depart Cape Town, and 33 scheduled for Durban, during the 2022/23 season.
There are 13 cruise ships scheduled to sail from Cape Town between November, 2022 and April, 2023 for the 2022/23 cruise season, with seven of them operating 43 roundtrip cruises, while just one ship (MSC Orchestra) will sail roundtrip from Durban 32 times.
AIDAaura, Azamara Journey, Nautica, Norwegian Jade, and Seven Seas Voyager will all sail 12-, 14- and 15-night roundtrip cruises from Cape Town, visiting Namibia and various South African cruise ports.
MSC Sinfonia and MSC Orchestra will also sail roundtrip from Cape Town during the season, offering shorter 2, 3, 4 and 5 night cruises, as well as a special 7-night New Year cruise for MSC Sinfonia.
In addition to these vessels, Cape Town will also be used as a turnaround port by Artania of Phoenix Reisen, Zuiderdam of Holland America, Insignia of Oceania Cruises, Queen Mary 2 of Cunard Line, Silver Shadow of Silversea and Seabourn Sojourn of Seabourn, with all six sailing grand voyages from the city during the 2022/23 season.
More than 200,000 cruise passengers are now expected to disembark in Cape Town during the coming 2022/23 cruise season, with the recent decision by the SA government to drop all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions expected to significantly boost demand.
According to Wesgro – the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, which runs the Cruise Cape Town Initiative, these cruise tourists will inject around R100-million into the local tourism industry.
When a cruise ship homeports in the city, it sails a number of roundtrip itineraries from Cape Town that begin and end from the Cape Town Cruise Terminal near the V&A Waterfront.
When they use the city as a turnaround port, they sail to the city and then take on new passengers for a cruise to a foreign port.
Both types of cruise are important for Cape Town as cruise passengers generally spend more when boarding and disembarking in the same city, while the wider tourism industry earns greater revenue through flights, hotels and land transport.
“It’s an exciting time for the tourism sector in the province, as a number of recent indicators show pent-up travel demand finally being unleashed in a surge of bookings,” said Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and official spokesperson for the Cruise Cape Town Initiative.
“Cruise ships are a crucial part of the Western Cape tourism sector, injecting millions into the economy each year, and boosting investment into Cape Town and the Western Cape,” Stander added.