Cape Town - South Africa’s cruise season is in full swing.
It officially kicked off in October with a number of smaller vessels already having called at South Africa’s ports en route to and from travel hotspots in Africa, Europe, the Far East, the Mediterranean and South America.
A highlight of the cruise calendar was when the newly revamped MSC Sinfonia – the largest and most popular cruise ship in the local cruise calendar – made her first South African call of the season in her home port of Durban.
The €50 million Euro revamp (about R743m at R14.86/ €), includes new features and facilities as well as lengthening by an extra 24m and the addition of around 200 extra balcony cabins with capacity for around 500 more passengers.
Durban's N shed cruise ship facility has also recently been upgraded through a joint initiative between TNPA and MSC.
READ: Durban set for new cruise terminal
"This has brought the terminal more in line with international standards and will cater for the growth of the local cruise tourism sector,” the TNPA’s Port Manager for the Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi said.
N-Shed now boasts a number of new features for an improved passenger experience such as new signage, immigration and check-in desks, a new fast track lounge, new baggage scanners and conveyor belt, an air-conditioning system, extra seating, balustrades, turnstiles and sail shades, new ramps and a back-up generator and UPS in the event of load shedding.
In July the TNPA also confirmed that South Africa’s oldest working harbour will also be getting a luxury cruise terminal with the V&A Waterfront being announced as the preferred bidder.
READ:Cape Town luxury cruise terminal finally gets the go-ahead
The V&A Waterfront has proposed a three-phase growth plan involving capital spend aimed at enhancing the passenger experience. The terminal upgrade makes up the first phase of a larger site revamp. Once completed, the port’s passenger terminal will be able to accommodate its current and future passenger vessel fleet. It is also envisaged that the upgraded facility will house value-added retail and hospitality services.
The RMS St Helena was the first passenger vessel to call this season when she berthed in Cape Town in October.
MS Ocean Princess, owned by Princess Cruises, has called at the Port of Cape Town followed by calls at East London and Durban.
MS Amadea, owned by Amadea Shipping Company and operated under charter by the Germany-based Phoenix Reisen, has called thus far at Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Richards Bay.
Holland America Line’s MS Rotterdam also called at Cape Town.
The South African cruise season runs from late October to early May. Cruise liner calls to South Africa for the remainder of 2015 include the following, although dates may be subject to change:
• MSC Sinfonia, calling at Durban on 19 November
• Oceania Cruises’ Nautica, calling at Richards Bay on 20 November, Durban on 21 November, Cape Town from 23-24 November and Port Elizabeth on 30 November
•MSC Sinfonia, calling at Durban on 23 November and again on 27 November
• Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner, calling at Cape Town (23-24 November), Mossel Bay on 25 November, Durban on 29 November and Port Elizabeth on 2 December
• Transocean Tours’ MS Astor, calling at Cape Town on 26 November
• Oceania Cruises' MS Marina, calling at Cape Town from 27-29 November
• Oceania Cruises’ Insignia, calling at Richards Bay on 26 November, Durban on 27 November, East London on 28 November and Cape Town from 30 November to 1 December
• Oceania Cruises’ Nautica, calling at East London on 1 December, Durban on 2 December, Mossel Bay on 7 December and Cape Town from 8 to 10 December
• Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner, calling at Port Elizabeth on 2 December
• RMS St Helena, calling at Cape Town from 4 to 6 December
• MSC Sinfonia, calling at Durban on 5 December and returning on 7 December
• Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud, calling at Cape Town on 6 December, Port Elizabeth on 8 December, East London on 9 December, Durban on 10 December and Richards Bay on 11 December
• Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner, calling at Cape Town from 8 to 10 December
• MSC Sinfonia, calling at Durban on 11 December and returning on 14 December
• Oceania Cruises’ Ocean Nautica, calling at Port Elizabeth on 12 December and Durban on 14 December
• Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2, calling at Richards Bay on 13 December, Durban on 15 December, Port Elizabeth on 16December and Cape Town on 19 December
• Voyages to Antiquity’s Aegean Odyssey, calling at Cape Town from 16 to 18 December and Port Elizabeth on 24 December
• MSC Sinfonia, calling at Durban on 18 December and returning on 21 December
• Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Voyager, calling at Durban on 19 December, Cape Town from 20 to 21 December, returning to Durban on 24 December and Richards Bay on Christmas Day, 25 December
• MSC Sinfonia, calling at Durban on 28 December and returning on 21 December
• Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 calling at Cape Town on 26 December, Durban on 29 December and Port Elizabeth on 30 December
• RMS St Helena, calling at Cape Town from 28 to 30 December
• Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud, calling at Durban on 31 December