MSC CRUISES STEPS UP PRESENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA TO MEET GROWING DEMAND WITH INTRODUCTION OF SECOND SHIP
Cape Town-bound MSC Opera to join MSC Musica for 2020/2021 cruises in southern Africa
New world-class Durban Cruise Terminal expected to be operational by January 2021
Geneva, Switzerland, 20 August 2019 – MSC Cruises has announced today that in the 2020/2021 cruise season the Company will bring two ships to South Africa’s shores. This will mark the first time that two different classes of MSC Cruises’ ships will be deployed in South Africa at the same time, MSC Opera (Lirica Class) and MSC Musica (Musica Class).
Ross Volk, MD for MSC Cruises South Africa commented: “The deployment for the first time of two classes of MSC Cruises ship to South Africa for the local 2020/2021 cruise season will allow us to meet more fully the growth in demand we have experienced over the past few years. As such, it is also as a further sign of MSC Cruises’ long-standing commitment to this key market and its tourism.”
From December 2020 MSC Opera will homeport in Cape Town, joining MSC Musica – which will be based in Durban as of November.
MSC Musica and MSC Opera, which was completely refurbished in 2014 as part of the Company’s Renaissance Programme, will together offer over 60 cruises next season. The two ships will serve alternate routes, providing South African and international cruisers with a wider choice of cruise options to suit their needs.
Highlights of these itineraries include: Pomene Bay in Mozambique, a marine safari experience, complete with its own beach club, the MSC Pomene Safari Beach Club, exclusively for MSC Cruises guests; and, Portuguese Island, a small, uninhabited island set between the African coast and the Indian Ocean, Maputo, the capital of Mozambique and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Ahead of the season, both ships will offer Grand Voyage itineraries to southern Africa – with MSC Musica already available to book at. Both ships will leave Venice, Italy departing on 25 October 2020 (MSC Musica) and 8 November 2020 (MSC Opera) on their way to Cape Town and Durban, respectively. Highlights of these MSC Grand Voyage cruises include the famous Suez Canal transit, the city of Aqaba in Jordan, Port Louis, the lush capital city of the island nation of Mauritius, known for its contrasting white-sand beaches fringed with tropical rainforests and La Possession, of the neighbouring island of Réunion, before arriving on South African shores on 5 December in Cape Town and 20 November in Durban, respectively.
Guests wishing to explore South Africa by cruise already in the 2019/2020 season can book onto MSC Orchestra. She will make her maiden voyage there this November, offering three-, four-, five- and 11-night sailings out of Durban and around the South African coastline until April 2020.
Continued investment in Africa’s tourist industry
MSC Cruises’ plan to bring two ships to South Africa in 2020 is part of the Company’s commitment to investing in African tourism. This investment has included infrastructure development in Mozambique – a popular cruising destination for South Africans – and continued collaboration with the Namibian government, as Walvis Bay is one of the ports that MSC Cruises sails to.
MSC Cruises’ commitment to improving South Africa’s tourist infrastructure has been particularly noteworthy in its development of the Durban port terminal over the past few years. The most significant of these is its investment in the construction of the new world-class Durban Cruise Terminal as part of the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Consortium (KTC).
“This multi-user terminal will make Durban an even more desirable destination for cruise ships from all over the world,” explains Volk. “It will substantially boost tourism numbers as well as help creating local jobs and lead to local supplier development. The construction of this state-of-the-art terminal is an exciting project that MSC Cruises is proud to be a part of. All the partners in the initiative will shortly sign off the final design of the terminal and ground-breaking is scheduled for later this year. The new port is currently expected to be operational by January 2021.”