Get ready to cruise Cape Town! MSC Cruises – the number one cruise line in South Africa, Europe, South America and the Gulf – has announced that the Company will be bringing two ships to South Africa’s shores for the 2020/2021 cruise season. This will mark the first time that two different class MSC Cruises’ ships (Lirica and Musica Class) will be deployed in the country simultaneously and will mean that 50,000 additional cruise passengers can discover why cruising in South Africa is booming.
From December 2020 to March 2021 MSC Opera, which will be homeported in Cape Town, will join MSC Musica homeported in Durban.
“Our decision to increase the number of ships for the South African cruise season in 2020/2021 is due to the significant growth in demand we have seen in our guest numbers over the past few years,” explains Ross Volk, MD for MSC Cruises South Africa. “Our most recent season saw a 25% increase in guests compared to the same period in 2017/2018. MSC Cruises has been bringing bigger and better ships to this country and enriching our itineraries as more South Africans are realising that a cruise is an affordable, convenient and exciting holiday option.”
An exciting new Southern African itinerary for cruisers
MSC Opera, which can host approximately 2,500 guests and was completely refurbished in 2014 as part of the Company’s Renaissance Programme, will offer 22 cruises next season alongside MSC Musica. MSC Musica can cater for approximately 3,200 guests and will offer 40 cruises. The ships will alternate routes, providing South African cruisers with a wider choice of options to suit their holiday needs. This means that both Cape Town and Durban ports of embarkation will get to experience the leading cruise line’s elegant and diverse product offering and enjoy more cruise destinations and packages than ever before.
One highlight of the 2020/2021 cruise itinerary is MSC Cruises’ 14-day New Year cruise around Southern Africa. The cruise will depart from Durban on 26 December and will incorporate destinations including Portuguese Island; Nosy Be, Madagascar; followed by Port Victoria, Seychelles; and then Port Louis in Mauritius, returning to Durban on 9 January. What makes this cruise particularly special is that it will be the first time that Port Victoria has been included in the cruise offering from Durban outside of MSC Cruises’ Grand Voyage.
Guests wishing to experience the delights of an MSC Cruises holiday in the 2019/2020 season can book onto MSC Orchestra, who will make her maiden voyage to South Africa in November, offering three-, four- and five-night sailings around the South African coastline until April 2020.
Highlights of these itineraries include Pomene Bay in Mozambique – a marine safari experience complete with its own beach club – Portuguese Island, and Maputo.
Cruises as popular holiday ‘destinations’
Cruises are increasingly becoming an appealing holiday choice for South Africans as they offer an all-inclusive vacation – all food, accommodation, and most activities are included in the cruise fare. The diversity of the offering also appeals to tourists; local cruises can last from anywhere between three to 14 nights, include a variety of destinations, and cater for all types of holidaymakers and people of all ages.
Continued investment in Africa’s tourist industry
MSC Cruises’ plan to bring two ships to South Africa in 2020 is part of the company’s commitment to investing in African tourism. This investment has included infrastructure development in Mozambique – a popular cruising destination for South Africans – and continued collaboration with the Namibian government, as Walvis Bay is one of the ports that MSC Cruises sails to. There are also knock-on benefits for the tourist industries in the destinations that MSC Cruises sails to, which have been enhanced by increased passenger volumes.
MSC Cruises’ commitment to improving South Africa’s tourist infrastructure has been particularly noteworthy in its development of the Durban port terminal over the past few years. The most significant of these is its investment of over R200 million in the construction of the new world-class Durban Cruise Terminal as part of the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Consortium (KTC).
“This multi-user terminal will make Durban an even more desirable destination for cruise ships from all over the world,” explains Volk. “It will substantially boost tourism numbers, create thousands of jobs and lead to supplier development. The construction of this state-of-the-art terminal is an exciting project that MSC Cruises is proud to be a part of. All the partners in the initiative will shortly sign off the final design of the terminal and groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in November this year. The design phase took a little longer than we anticipated, but it was vital that we got this right as we want the Durban Cruise Terminal to be an iconic destination. We hope the new port will be operational by January 2021.”
Angelo Capurro, Global Executive Director at MSC Cruises, says, “South Africa is an important market for MSC Cruises and reflects our broader growing investment in cruising globally. We have committed to launching 13 next-generation ships between 2017 and 2027, which will bring our fleet total to 25 and see our passenger capacity more than triple. Our total investment in these ships amounts to approximately R200 billion.”