Crystal Symphony departed on her 2018 World Cruise on January 7th from Cape Town, marking not only the first time that a world cruise of this magnitude has departed from the Mother City, but also the first time a cruise ship has used the Cape Town Cruise Terminal since its redevelopment.
The new cruise terminal, which will be a real game changer for cruise tourism in South Africa, handled 848 passengers boarding the ‘six star’ cruise liner for her 114-night World Cruise, visiting 57 cruise destination in 25 countries on her way from Cape Town to Fort Lauderdale in the United States.
South Africa’s shadow minister of tourism, James Vos, boarded the ship ahead of her departure to present a commemorative plaque to the captain. Afterwards, he spoke to the media about how investments were being made in cruise ship infrastructure in South Africa’s primary cruise port.
Vos said Cape Town was poised to become a “cruise tourism hotspot,” following a R50-million investment in the upgrading of cruise facilities.
Cape Town Cruise Terminal has received a R50-million face-lift, with more upgrades to follow
“Without a doubt, the cruise line industry offers enormous potential for tourism growth, and therefore the extension of the V&A Waterfront experience to the cruise terminal will hold the key to prosperity,” he said.
In order for South Africa to remain a viable cruise tourism destination, and grow its own source market for cruises beyond MSC, infrastructure has to be upgraded so that the city can accommodate larger cruise ships.
The cruise industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the global tourism market, and in order to accommodate demand, while also reducing costs on a per-passenger basis, cruise lines are going bigger.
It’s for this reason that South Africa has so far remained a popular port of call with the luxury cruise lines, such as Cunard, Silversea, Seabourn and Crystal, all of which (with the exception of Cunard) operate small to medium sized cruise ships.
“With the upsurge in cruise bookings out of South Africa, it’s no surprise that luxury cruise liners are enticing more and more customers to enjoy the incredible benefits and experiences that they offer,” says Cruises International’s Seymour Brugger.
“Unlike many of the large cruise liners that take thousands of passengers, luxury liners provide guests with the opportunity to have freedom of space, indulgent food experiences and the opportunity to visit intimate ports, many of which are not accessible by the larger cruise vessels,” he added.
Crystal Symphony is one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world
“The five and six-star experiences vary, although they all have one thing in common – service that you can feel.”
Crystal Symphony, fresh from a major refit, will take in Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Richards Bay, Maputo, Taolanaro in Madagascar, Reunion and Port Louis in Mauritius in the first leg of her world cruise.
She’ll then cross the Indian Ocean to Australia, visiting major cruise destinations down under before zig-zagging her way across the South Pacific, visiting Fiji, French Polynesia and other exotic islands. Crystal Symphony will then cruise up the coast of South America, before transiting the Panama Canal and cruising through the Caribbean to Fort Lauderdale.