SA's 2018 Cruise season underway: 20 dazzling cruise ships set to dock

2017-11-28 20:00 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photo: iStock

Cape Town - More than 20 luxury cruise ships operated by 17 international cruise lines will call at South Africa’s ports during the 2017/18 cruise season. 

This cruise season which not only sees thousands of international travellers visiting our shore, but also affords locals the opportunity to get on board for a dream holiday to exotic destinations typically runs from October/ early November to late April/ early May.

MUST-SEE: #FindYourEscape: 2018 Cruise routes + 4 things a first time cruiser needs to know

Operators that have included South Africa on their routes this year – a number of them with multiple vessels – are: Costa Crociere, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Lines, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Noble Caledonia, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Polar Quest, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Transocean Tours.

Cruise facilities with economic spin-offs

Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Chief Executive, Shulami Qalinge says that the South African Port Authority has positioned Durban and Cape Town "as stimulus cruise home ports", while Richards Bay, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth and East London continue to receive a share of cruise ships. 

“We are making progress in our efforts to introduce new and modern cruise terminals with safe, reliable and efficient marine services that will provide an ideal gateway to a unique South African experience," says Qalinge, adding that "World-class cruise facilities in our ports will continue to attract global operators, which has economic spin-offs for tour operators, hotels, game reserves, lodges and tourist attractions in our port cities.”

TNPA will soon finalise its Terminal Operator Agreement with KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) for design, financing, construction, operation, maintenance and transfer of the new Cruise Terminal Facility for a 25 year concession period in the port of Durban.

In Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront was granted a concession from TNPA in 2015 for operation, maintenance and transfer of ownership of the Cape Town passenger terminal back to TNPA after a period of 20 years. The operator has a three-phase growth plan in place for the facility.

TNPA’s intention is for the terminals to be integrated with their cities and to allow secondary uses such as for events, meetings and conferences.

ALSO SEE: Cruise tourism could boost SA economy

According to Enver Duminy, head of Cape Town Tourism, the "projected value of the cruise tourism industry between now and 2027 is estimated to be in the region of R220bn".

V&A Waterfront's figures for Cape Town show that the cruise industry has grown from just 6050 passengers in 2012 to 14 754 passengers in 2013, climbing to 29 269 in 2016.

Even higher growth is expected in 2017 as passenger figures are currently at 28 845 - excluding those for November and December which are usually the busiest cruise period, with the arrival of cruise ships.

Cruise ships arriving at SA shores

On 30 October MSC Sinfonia became the first international cruise liner to arrive at Durban's port for the 2017/18 cruise season, carrying around 2300 mainly European and South African passengers and ending off a 23-day itinerary from Venice in Italy. 

SEE: #FindYourEscape: MSC launches World Cruise

While Semester at Sea’s ‘floating college campus’ World Odyssey made a return to Cape Town early last month, it is Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros which is regarded as "the first true cruise ship of the season" to call at the country’s other cruise ports. The cruise ship's South African leg began on 8 November in Cape Town, with other ports of call being Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Richards Bay.

Here are the details for the upcoming ships set to call at SA's ports for the 2017/18 cruise season. Note that that these dates may be subject to change and calls to neighbouring countries’ ports are not reflected.

MSC SINFONIA - MSC Cruises

  • Durban – 1 December 2017
    Durban – 4 December 2017
    Durban – 8 December 2017
    Durban – 11 December 2017
    Durban – 15 December 2017
    Durban – 18 December 2017
    Durban – 26 December 2017
    Durban – 6 January 2018
    Cape Town – 9 January 2018
    Cape Town – 13 January 2018
    Cape Town – 15 January 2018
    Cape Town – 19 January 2018
    Durban – 22 January 2018
    Durban – 27 January 2018
    Durban – 29 January 2018
    Durban – 2 February 2018
    Durban – 5 February 2018
    Durban – 9 February 2018
    Durban – 12 February 2018
    Durban – 16 February 2018
    Durban – 19 February 2018
    Durban – 23 February 2018
    Durban – 26 February 2018
    Durban – 2 March 2018
    Durban – 5 March 2018
    Durban – 9 March 2018
    Durban – 12 March 2018
    Durban – 16 March 2018
    Durban – 19 March 2018
    Durban – 23 March 2018
    Durban – 26 March 2018
    Durban – 2 April 2018
    Durban – 6 April 2018
    Durban – 9 April 2018
    Durban – 13 April 2018
    Durban – 20 April 2018

ALBATROS - Phoenix Reisen

  • Durban – 12 to 13 January 2018

SEA ENDURANCE - Polar Quest

  • Cape Town – 25 to 26 January 2018

NAUTICA - Oceania Cruises

  • Richards Bay – 2 December 2017
    Durban – 3 December 2017 
    Cape Town – 5 to 6 December 2017 
    Mossel Bay – 7 December 2017
    Richards Bay – 9 December 2017
    Durban – 11 to 12 December 2017 
    East London – 13 December 2017
    Port Elizabeth – 14 December 2017 
    Cape Town – 20 to 22 December 2017
    Port Elizabeth – 24 December 2017
    Durban – 26 December 2017
    Richards Bay – 27 December 2017

CRYSTAL SYMPHONY - Crystal Cruises

  • Durban – 18 December 2017
    Port Elizabeth – 20 December 2017
    Cape Town – 21-23 December 2017
    Richards Bay – 27 December 2017
    Durban – 28-29 December 2017
    East London – 30 December 2017
    Port Elizabeth – 31 December 2017
    Cape Town – 7-8 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 10 January 2018

VOYAGER - Regent Seven Seas Cruises

  • Durban – 30 to 31 December 2017 

SILVER SPIRIT - Silversea Cruises

  • Richards Bay – 29-30 December 2017
    Durban – 31 December 2017
    Port Elizabeth – 2 January 2018
    Cape Town – 5 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 7 January 2018
    Richards Bay – 10-11 January 2018
    Durban – 12 January 2018
    East London – 13 January 2018
    Cape Town – 15 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 17 January 2018
    East London – 18 January 2018
    Durban – 19 January 2018
    Richards Bay – 20-21 January 2018
    Cape Town – 25 January 2018
    Cape Town – 4 February 2018

BOUDICCA - Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

  • Richards Bay – 5 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 7 January 2018
    Mossel Bay – 8 January 2018
    Durban – 8 to 9 January 2018
    Cape Town – 9 to 11 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 13 January 2018
    Richards Bay – 16-17 January 2018
    Durban – 18 to 19 January 2018
    Cape Town – 22 to 25 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 27 January 2018
    Richards Bay – 30 to 31 January 2018
    Cape Town – 5 to 9 February 2018

SERENISSIMA - Noble Caledonia

  • Durban – 21 January 2018

MS EUROPA 2 - Hapag-Lloyd

  • Cape Town – 15-16 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 23-24 January 2018
    Durban – 26 to 27 January 2018
    Mossel Bay – 28 January 2018
    Cape Town – 29 January to 1 February 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 2-3 February 2018
    Durban – 4 to 5 February 2018
    Richards Bay – 6-7 February 2018

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QUEEN MARY II - Cunard Lines

  • Cape Town – 26-27 January 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 29 January 2018

INSIGNIA - Oceania Cruises

  • Port Elizabeth – 2 February 2018
    Cape Town – 7 to 9 February 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 11 February 2018
    East London – 12 February 2018 
    Durban – 13 February 2018
    Richards Bay – 14 February 2018

SEABOURN SOJOURN - Seabourn Cruise Line

  • Cape Town – 10-12 February 2018
    Mossel Bay – 14 February 2018
    Port Elizabeth – 15-16 February 2018
    Durban – 18-19 February 2018

COSTA NEO CLASSICA - Costa Crociere

  • Cape Town – 20 March 2018

SILVER CLOUD - Silversea Cruises

  • Cape Town – 20 to 21 March 2018

LE LYRIAL - Ponant

  • Cape Town – 23-25 March 2018
  • Port Elizabeth – 27-28 March 2018
  • Richards Bay – 30 March 2018
  • Durban – 31 March to 1 April 2018

ASTOR - Transocean Tours

  • Cape Town – 28 to 29 March 2018

SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR - Regent Seven Seas Cruises

  • Richards Bay – 3 April 2018
    Durban – 4 April 2018
    East London – 5 April 2018
    Cape Town – 7-8 April 2018

AMSTERDAM - Holland America Line

  • Cape Town – 3 to 5 April 2018

QUEEN ELIZABETH - Cunard Lines

  • Port Elizabeth – 21 April 2018
    Cape Town – 23 to 24 April 2018

RMS ST HELENA - Cargo liner

  • Cape Town - 29 November to 1 December 2017
  • Cape Town - 27-29 December 2017
  • Cape Town - 22-24 January 2018
  • Cape Town - 11 February 2018

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