As MSC Cruises prepares to return for the South African cruise season with two ships in Durban and Cape Town, the cruise line says the Mother City will be its hub for more cultural cruises to Walvis Bay.
MSC Orchestra will homeport in Durban from November, 2022 to March, 2023 sailing around 40 cruises, primarily to Mozambique’s Inhaca Island and Pomene Bay.
MSC Sinfonia meanwhile will cruise 22 times from Cape Town to Namibia and other local destinations on itineraries ranging from 2 to 7 nights.
MSC Cruises said in a statement that it expects robust demand for its upcoming winter season in South Africa on the back of the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the removal of a range of COVID-related restrictions.
The cruise line has done away with its mask policy in South Africa, and no longer requires guests to be fully vaccinated to sail.
Unvaccinated guests older than 5 years will be allowed to board but will need to test negative for Covid-19 at least 48 hours prior to departure, while vaccinated guests won’t need any pre-boarding test.
“We are delighted to be bringing two ships to South Africa this upcoming season, and we reaffirm our commitment to affordable and safe cruise holidays for South Africans,” said Ross Volk, Managing Director for MSC Cruises South Africa.
“Our dedication to playing our part in the recovery of the tourism sector in South Africa has made it possible for us to create a second cruising hub in Cape Town,” he added. “MSC Sinfonia will be permanently positioned in Cape Town for the duration of the cruise season and will serve our guests seeking a more cultural experience with our cruises to Namibia.”
MSC Cruises describes Walvis Bay as a city of outstanding natural beauty with rich marine life in a bay backed by the wild Namib desert. On shore excursions in the city, guests will be invited to eat homegrown Walvis Bay oysters, and explore the lagoon with its abundance of seabirds, including flamingos and pelicans and other migratory birds.
To the north of Walvis Bay, along a coast road, the Atlantic harbour town of Swakopmund can be explored by organised excursion. It features old Germanic architecture as a result of the areas colonial past, as well as German-inspired cuisine. Outside the city, guests will find Dune 7, the highest dune in Southern Africa.