Cape Town to be an important port of call
Chris Hunoldt reports that plenty of cruise ships are headed for Cape Town in the coming months
OVER the next 16 months or so, Cape Town will have no less than 42 cruise ship arrivals, with about 17 vessels involved, excluding those based here for the 2010 Soccer World Cup and the MSC Sinfonia doing local voyages out of Durban.
The first ship to visit Cape Town this season, was the Tahitian Princess last month en route from the United Kingdom to Singapore.
Besides the MSC Sinfonia, the only other cruise ship that will be operating a series of local cruises is the ultraluxury small cruise vessel the Silver Wind. This vessel, of 17 400 tons, carries a maximum of 298 guests looked after by a crew of 212.
The Silver Wind is an all-inclusive ship, meaning all beverages and onboard gratuities are included. The Silver Wind will offer a selection of three round-trip cruises from Cape Town, a cruise from Mauritius to Cape Town and from Cape Town to Las Palmas during her January and February season.
There will be a visit by the stunning Seven Seas Voyager, en route from Mumbai and arriving in Cape Town on November 20, visiting the Mother City for two nights before setting off on a 13-night voyage to Rio de Janeiro.
The Seven Seas Voyager is also an all-inclusive, ultraluxury ship, which includes all shore excursions at her ports of call – as do all cruises with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Holland America’s ship, the Amsterdam will visit during January on a 47-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale around South America to Cape Town then continuing to Singapore.
Crystal Cruises’ beautiful ship Crystal Serenity will visit during February, arriving on a 14-day cruise from Rio de Janeiro and carrying on with a 21-day cruise to Mumbai.
Voyages of Discovery’s ship Discovery will visit Cape Town in March, coming in from Hong Kong and continuing to Mombasa and Europe.
March and April 2010 see another visit by Seven Seas Voyager, one by P&O’s Aurora, as well as Cunard’s grand ship the Queen Mary 2 and Fred Olsens’ Balmoral.
Many may remember the Balmoral as Orient Line’s Crown Odyssey, now with an extension to her hull and completely refurbished.
Princess Cruises’ small 680-passenger ship, the Ocean Princess, will visit during May, en route from Singapore to Dover.
June through to September will be quiet besides the arrival of Holland America’s two ships, contracted for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and the grand old lady, the QE2, which may be docked in Cape Town harbour as a floating hotel for the event.
Ocean Princess will visit again in November, followed by the Seven Seas Mariner on a 25-day voyage from Dubai, before continuing on a 14-day cruise to Rio de Janeiro.
Oceania Cruises will be visiting Cape Town for the first time with their ship the Nautica, on a 30-night voyage from Istanbul followed by a 35-night cruise from Cape Town to Singapore.
So far the 2011 season sees the Queen Mary 2 and Pacific Princess visiting during February and April respectively. There are sure to be a number of other ships passing by as soon as the cruise lines finalise their 2010 and 2011 northern hemisphere winter itineraries and 2011 world cruises.
All these cruises offer great opportunities for South Africans to cruise to and from Cape Town which is fast becoming an important port of call for cruise ships because it offers such a wonderful opportunity for passengers to experience one of the great cities of the world, and many of the ships plan a visit of at least two days.
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