Queen Mary 2 has arrived in Durban, South Africa, marking her first port call in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing a significant boost to local tourism revenue in the city as it attempts to recover from the economic disruption it caused.
The Cunard Line flagship called in Durban as part of her repositioning voyage from Australia to the UK, where she will commence her summer program of Southampton-New York trans-Atlantic voyages.
As part of the repositioning voyage, Cape Town will be offered as an embarkation port for a cruise up the coast of Africa to Southampton, which can also be extended to include a 7-day crossing to New York. The same itinerary will be sailed in reverse order next year when she returns to Australia.
Although Queen Mary 2 arrived in Durban long after the commissioning of the city’s new KZN Cruise Terminal, she docked at N-Shed, the old passenger terminal, as the ship is too large for the new cruise berth.
The ship’s 950 crew and more than 2 000 passengers were given a warm Durban welcome by Zulu dancers and singers as they disembarked, while eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda personally welcomed Queen Mary 2’s Captain Andrew Hall.
Kaunda said the arrival of Queen Mary 2 was testament to the city’s efforts to redevelop its tourism offering in spite of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Easter holidays are almost here, and we are busy with our winter season destination promotion campaign. City tours for passengers have been organised to showcase the many tourism offerings of the city. We want the ship’s passengers to return to our beautiful city,” he said.
“The arrival of Queen Mary II [also] comes as we are busy with the expansion of the Port of Durban. This development is expected to be a major drawcard for cruise liners and will include five-star hotels, a retail mall, apartments, and an African cultural centre,” he said.
Kuanda was referring to the Durban Point Waterfront development, a R35 billion project to upgrade roads and infrastructure in Durban Point, as well as establish hotels, malls, apartments and commercial district to revitalise the city.
Queen Mary 2’s passengers explored the city on a rickshaw bus and visited the Valley of a Thousand Hills, or took a cultural tour to the Victoria Indian Market, while some went on a historical tour, visiting attractions like the Durban City Hall, the Playhouse Theatre and the KwaMuhle Museum.
At the time of writing Queen Mary 2 had departed Durban and was bound for Port Elizabeth, where she will spend a day before arriving in Cape Town on April 7th.
She’ll depart the same evening on a 16-night cruise to Southampton, which can also be extended as a 23-night cruise to New York via Southampton.