Norwegian Cruise Line has finally entered the South African cruise market after two failed attempts due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and its Omicron variant in 2021.
These Cape Town cruises aboard Norwegian Jade will visit all South Africa’s cruise ports, as well as Luderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia throughout January during the 2022/23 cruise season.
Although Norwegian Jade boarded passengers on Wednesday, she only departed Cape Town today, as the first night of each of these cruises will be spend in port, giving passengers more time to explore the city.
Norwegian Jade joins AIDAaura and MSC Sinfonia as the third mass-market cruise ship homeporting in the city for the current cruise season. Regent Seven Seas and Azamara are also cruising roundtrip from Cape Town, but they’re luxury lines that are significantly more expensive.
While the addition of Norwegian Jade to the local cruise industry provides South Africans with more options for local cruising, it’s also a major boost for the country’s tourism industry as it will attract more international tourists to Cape Town.
Carrying 2,400 passengers, Norwegian Jade is slightly larger than MSC Sinfonia and AIDAaura, and is packed with a range of amenities, with 10 dining options, 15 bars and cafes, three pools (including a dedicated kids pool), two entertainment lounges, a theatre, spa, gym and expansive kids and teens areas.
This marks Norwegian Cruise Line’s first cruise season in South Africa, after the cruise line suffered two false starts in 2020 and 2021.
Norwegian Jade was first scheduled to sail a South African cruise season in March, 2020, the same month COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, bringing the global cruise industry to a standstill.
Another attempt was announced for December, 2021, but then the Omicron variant prompted a range of travel restrictions targeting South Africa.
On her 12-day roundtrip cruises from Cape Town, Norwegian Jade will call in Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Richard’s Bay and Durban, as well as Lüderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia.
At the end of January, Norwegian Jade will reposition back to Dubai on an 18-night voyage visiting Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Richard’s Bay, Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Oman.
She’ll then cruise for Europe to sail a shoulder season of Mediterranean cruises, but Norwegian Cruise Line have already confirmed that they’ll be returning to South Africa for the next cruise season.
The slightly smaller Norwegian Dawn is scheduled to cruise roundtrip from Cape Town in February, 2024, following a near-identical itinerary to Norwegian Jade.