V&A Waterfront has invested in upgrading the passenger experience at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal as South Africa’s 2023/24 cruise season gets underway.
During a tour of the cruise terminal, Cape Business News reported on some of the enhances made to the terminal building ahead of what the city expects to be its busiest cruise season on record in terms of cruise calls and passenger numbers.
V&A Waterfront has operated the Cape Town Cruise Terminal on behalf of Transnet since 2016, when it signed a 20-year Terminal Operator agreement.
Donald Kau, head of Communications for the V & A Waterfront said that, since December 2015, the V & A Waterfront authorities had gone all out to upgrade the building, and, in turn, the passengers’ experience.
The cruise terminal was originally a small industrial building which served as a precooling facility for fruit exports, but is now a state-of-the-art facility.
“The cruise terminal is up and running to welcome passengers to Cape Town for this season and for future cruise seasons as the terminal continuously improves its services,” said Kau.
The cruise industry is a crucial part of Cape Town’s tourism economy, and if a passenger’s experience on arrival is unsatisfactory, it can affect their perception of the whole city.
This is important, because recent research from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) showsthat 63% of cruise passengers are likely to revisit a destination they first encounter through a cruise ship.
That means that as many as 80,000 cruise tourists could return to Cape Town for a longer stay in the city and wider Western Cape.
The cruise processing facilities at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal have been set up to make the disembarking process as user friendly and enjoyable as possible, and an “ecosystem of businesses” have been set up at Makers Landing in the Cruise Terminal area.
This offers an expanded array of local cuisine to passengers from an incubator kitchen, and a food market offering a variety of food businesses, beverage experiences and shops focusing on South African flavours and culture.
The passenger experiences include; Afrikoa, the first bean-to-bar company in South Africa to produce chocolate made from cocoa sourced directly from African farmers and hosting a chocolate studio making truffles and other confectionary.
There’s also Charms Kitchen, which boast Indian inspired meals; Conscious Meat Merchants, specialising in sustainable meat; Emazulwinie a restaurant run by Mmabatho Molefe inspired by Zulu heritage; Fuzzy’s Koesiesters, offering one of the Cape’s famous delicacies, the koeksister; Pienaar and Son, a small craft distillery showcases local gin, and Pitso’s Kitchen serves South African cuisine and Ukhamba Beerworx, the first black-owned beer brewery in Cape Town, that gives a taste of local beer.
The South African cruise season runs from October to May annually, injecting more than R1.2 billion into the local economy.
Last cruise season, the Port of Cape Town welcomed 70 ship calls, carrying 145 000 two-way passengers and 42 000 crew members, marking the biggest cruise season on record, creating more than 1,300 new jobs.