SA Cruise News

South African cruise market demand exceeds capacity says survey

Potential cruise passengers around the world have a strong interest in cruising in Africa, but not enough cruise lines are homporting in cruise destinations such as South Africa, according to a new survey.

Africa cruise itineraries are the 6th most asked about cruise voyages, according to a Traveltek Group Ltd survey of 8,878 new-to-cruise enquiries made through leading agents worldwide in 2017.

Yet, African cruise itineraries do not make the list of top 10 cruise destinations that are quoted by travel agents. According to Traveltek, this suggests either cruise lines are yet to offer many Africa itineraries or if they do, agents are not aware of them.

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The survey found that Cape Town cruises are in huge demand.

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However, it could also be due to the fact that most first-time cruisers are interested in itineraries of less than 10 days. According to Traveltek’s surbey, itineraries of between six and nine nights dominated enquiries (35%), quotes (49%) and bookings (46%).

But, of all the cruises departing from Cape Town during 2019, only the three MSC cruises aboard MSC Musica are of less than 10-nights. Not one cruise to Cape Town or any other African port is of less than ten days.

So the survey shows that while there is demand for African cruises, particularly South African cruise itineraries, there is very little supply, as there are too few cruise lines homeporting in South Africa, and none that offer South African cruise departures of less than 10 days (apart from MSC).

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Most cruises to and from South African are operated by the world’s luxury and premium cruise lines, which send their ships on grand repositioning voyages between hemispheres every year.

However, the Traveltek survey shows that many international cruise passengers want to do a cruise around South Africa, and fly to Cape Town to board the ship. Some 26% of cruise enquires during the year were for fly-cruise packages, according to Traveltek.

This lack of homeporting cruise lines offering shorter voyages may change in the coming years, however, especially if AIDA Cruises new South African cruise program proves a success.

In addition, given the recent redevelopment of the Cape Town cruise terminal, and the planned construction of a new Durban Cruise Terminal, more cruise lines are likely to emulate MSC Cruises success in the local market once the required modern cruise infrastructure is up and running.

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