SA Cruise News

South Africa sees surge in scheduled cruise calls as sector rebounds post-COVID

South Africa’s cruise sector will see a threefold increase in cruise calls during the current 2022/23 cruise season compared to last year.

There are 239 cruise ship calls expected between October 2022 and April 2023, compared to 71 cruise ship calls during the 2021/22 season, which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rebound is largely a result of lighter COVID-19 regulations and restrictions in various source countries for international cruise tourism, as well as South Africa’s own easing of travel restrictions for cruise tourists.

Cape Town will see more cruise calls than any other South African port.

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“The increase of passenger liners calling at our ports is based primarily on the fact that we are in the post COVID-19 phase,” said Captain Rufus Lekala, TNPA’s Chief Harbour Master. “We take pride in our role of enabling the South African tourism industry, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has reported that the Port of Cape Town anticipates 70 cruise calls; while the Port of Durban has 76 scheduled.

Cape Town’s cruise traffic will largely be a result of international cruise itineraries that call in South Africa, and sail from city on turnaround cruises, while Durban is the primary homeport for MSC Cruises, which sails roundtrip from the city throughout the summer.

South Africa’s more niche cruise ports, such as Port of East London will get 18 cruise calls, the Port of Mossel Bay will see 16; Port Elizabeth will see 34 and the Port of Richards Bay, 25.

MSC Orchestra alongside in Durban

The first passenger vessel of the season, Hanseatic Spirit, arrived at the Port of Cape Town on October 18th, 2022, with the vast majority of the summer cruise traffic arriving from October 22nd, 2022.

A total of 12 cruise ships will cruise from Cape Town during the season, with 7 of them cruising roundtrip from the city 48 times, while the others will sail grand voyages or separate itineraries within longer world cruise programs.

In addition, the 7 cruise ships sailing roundtrip from Cape Town during the season will also be offering longer repositioning cruises in March and April when they wrap up their cruise seasons.

MSC Cruises, meanwhile, will homeport MSC Orchestra in Durban from November 2022 until April 2023, sailing roundtrip to Portuguese Island and Pomene Bay in Mozambique.

A second MSC cruise ship, MSC Sinfonia, will homeport in Cape Town during the same period, sailing roundtrip to Walvis Bay in Namibia, and South Africa’s Mossel Bay.

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