A highlight of these cruise itineraries has been an overnight stay in Cape Town, giving passengers more time to explore the region’s fabled Garden Route.
This has been a popular option for international cruise tourists, but Norwegian Cruise Line has also seen higher than expected demand from the local South African cruise market as well.
“We are excited to offer our South African guests the opportunity to sail with NCL right from their doorstep and enjoy our unique ‘Freestyle Cruising’ philosophy without the need for long-haul travel and lengthy visa applications,” said Kevin Bubolz, VP & Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Norwegian Cruise Line.
Bubolz told IOL that they are seeing growing demand for cruises in South Africa, while Norwegian Jade welcomed the highest number of South African guests on any NCL cruise to date during her South African season out of Cape Town.
This has prompted Norwegian Cruise Line to commit to another South African cruise season for 2023/24, with Norwegian Dawn scheduled to replace Norwegian Jade cruising roundtrip from Cape Town in December and January.
The entry of Norwegian Cruise Line to the local South African cruise market comes as the industry attempts to recover from the disruption caused in 2020 by COVID-19 and then in 2021 by the emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus.
“Cruise tourism generates R300 million in economic impact for the Western Cape and supports thousands of jobs in the province,” said Mireille Wenger, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities.
“Positioning Cape Town as a homeport for international and local cruising is a key growth opportunity for our region, and we welcome NCL’s commitment to sailing out of Cape Town,” Wenger added.
Norwegian Jade departed Cape Town on Thursday evening on an 18-night cruise through the Indian Ocean to Dubai, visiting ports in South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Arabia.