SA Cruise News

Cape Town tourism officials anticipate biggest ever season for 2020

Despite load shedding and an ongoing water shortage crisis, the Cape Town cruise tourism market has been unaffected, with local officials looking forward to the city’s biggest cruise season on record in 2019/2020.

While a total of 35,018 cruise tourists visited the city during the current cruise season, between November, 2018 and March, 2019, that number is expected to grow significantly as more mainstream cruise line homeport in the city.

Mein Schiff Herz will be one of the largest cruise ships sailing roundtrip from Cape Town

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“We’re seeing cruising growing in popularity around the world, and we’re also starting to see both an increase in local cruising along our coast, as well as increased numbers of international operators using Cape Town as a turn-around port,” says Beverley Schäfer, Economic Opportunities MEC in the Western Cape.

“Confirmed cruises for the next few years have also shown real growth and we are very positive about  the potential of this industry,” she added.

The Western Cape tourism industry currently sustains more than 300,000 direct and indirect jobs, and increasing the number of cruise liners visiting Cape Town is seen as a key way to create further opportunities for work and skills development.

“As a province, our aim, through Project Khulisa has been to grow tourism as a vehicle to stimulate the economy and create new jobs, and cruise ship tourism is helping us to do this,” she said.

While MSC Cruises will be returning to Cape Town for part of its annual South African cruise program aboard MSC Orchestra later this year, a number of other cruise lines have announced their first-ever South African seasons, homeporting in Cape Town for several months at a time.

AIDAmira will be the first mainstream (mass market) cruise ship ever to homeport in SA for a full season alongside MSC

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AIDAmira of AIDA Cruises, Mein Schiff Herz of TUI Cruises and Azamara Journey of Azamara Club Cruises will all homeport in Cape Town during the coming 2019/2020 cruise season.

AIDAmira will sail a number of 14-night roundtrip South African and Namibian voyages out of Cape Town, as will Mein Schiff Herz, while Azamara Journey will offer port-intensive 12-night voyages only on the South African coast (with a port call in Maputo as well).

According to Schäfer this renewed interest in roundtrip Cape Town cruises from international cruise line is largely thanks to the redevelopment of the city’s cruise infrastructure.

“The development of a dedicated cruise ship terminal operated by the V&A Waterfront and opened last year has played an important role,” she said. “We’ve seen cruising numbers grow in leaps and bounds in recent years and we’re seeing dramatic increases in numbers for the coming 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 seasons.”

For the 2019/2020 season 30 vessels are expected to make 49 stops in Cape Town. While for the 2020/21 season, 32 vessels, with 67 stops are already confirmed.

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