SA Cruise News

Marco Polo cruise ship sails from South Africa for first time in over 20 years

Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ classic cruise ship Marco Polo has paid its first visit to South Africa since the 1990s, visiting five of our cruise ports on her grand voyage around the whole of Africa.

The 78-night ‘Grand Africa & Indian Ocean Voyage’ set off from Cork, Ireland on January 5thand will end there on March 23rd, after visiting 34 ports on the African coast and in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

Marco Polo cruise ship2

Marco Polo hasn’t cruised in South Africa in more than 20 years

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She’ll also call in Salalah, Oman and Aqaba, Jordan on her way through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean. The voyage also takes in Morocco, Mauritius, Reunion, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, the Seychelles, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Goa, and the Holy Land.

In South Africa, she visited Cape Town on 28 January, Mossel Bay on 29 January, Port Elizabeth on 30 January, Durban on 1 February and Richards Bay on 2 February.

Originally built in 1965 as the Soviet ocean liner Aleksandr Pushkin, Marco Polo is operated under charter by Cruise & Maritime Voyages, according to Engineering News.

At 22,000 gross tonsand 170m, Marco Polo carries just1,260 guests and is a mid-size cruise ship by today’s standards. At the time of her launch, however, she was the largest passenger ship built in either West or East Germany since the end of WWII.

CMV Marco Polo pooldeck

Marco Polo is a classic cruise ship with her main pool area aft

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Following successive refurbishments over the years (the most recent in 2014), heronboard facilities includejacuzzis, a gym, a garden lounge, a theatre, spa, two restaurants, four cafes and bars and two lounges.

While this is the first visit to South Africa for the ship since the 90s, when local cruising was undergoing a resurgence thanks to the entry of MSC Cruises to the market, Cruise & Maritime Voyages is a regular caller to the country.

The line’s other vintage cruise ship Astor cruises annually from Cape Town to the UK or Australia, while in 2021, CMV’s largest ship Columbus (formerly P&O Australia’s Pacific Pearl) will call locally in South Africa.

South Africa has six cruise ports of call which this season will welcome at least 23 luxury cruise ships, operated by 17 international cruise lines.

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