Queen Mary 2 departure delayed by wind

2013-04-12 08:33
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Battle of the Cunard Queens

Take a look at the Cunard fleet made up of the Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and its flagship transatlantic liner the Queen Mary 2.

Cape Town - Cruise passengers were once again at the mercy of the Cape Doctor, after the Cunard Flagship RMS Queen Mary 2 was delayed by 12 hours when Cape Town ports authorities shut the harbour due to strong wind conditions.

Scheduled for a 6pm departure on Thursday 11 April, the Flagship of the Cunard Cruise liners only left Table Bay Habour shortly after midnight on Friday 12 April.

This is yet another in a string of delayed cruises caused by severe wind conditions in Cape Town. In January 2013 MSC Cruises were severely delayed, with some cruises even being cancelled entirely due to unsuitable wind conditions forcing Port Authorities to ground vessels seeking to leave the narrow exit of the Table Bay harbour. Cruise liners are especially at risk when launching because of their height, which offers a lot of wind resistance, especially when combined with the narrow pathway that has to be negotiated in and out of Duncan Dock. The Queen Mary 2 is 72 metres in height, the equivalent of a 23-storey building.

Cruising is said to be one of the fastest growing sectors within the travel industry, according to specialists, with an estimated 17.6 million people expected to cruise during 2013 from North America alone. This is in comparison to the 7.2 million passengers that cruised within that region in 2000.

Cape Town has been included as a highlight on many a cruise liner’s itineraries, with a number of high profile vessels visiting.
The most recent besides the QM2 being Relais & Chateau’s Silver Whisper – an exclusive cruise vessel that accommodates an estimated 350 passengers.

The Transnet National Ports Authority have confirmed plans for a permanent cruise passenger liner terminal in Cape Town’s Harbour since the controversial decision by the Transnet National Ports Authority to have cruise liners dock in Cape Town at Duncan Dock and not the V&A Waterfront - but there is little authorities can do to stem the effects of nature, with the Cape Doctor able to play havoc during the peak cruise season from November to April.

The new Cape Town Cruise terminal is expected to feature an arrival and departure facility with restrooms but the process can take up to two years to complete.

According to Imagine Cruising’s local Marketing Director an estimated 1 300 passengers board in Cape Town. The check-in process was facilitated at the Good Hope Centre, with passengers and their luggage then being bussed in to the ship. The QM2 is currently sailing at full capacity with 2 600 passengers on board and a staff compliment of just under 1 900.

She arrived in Cape Town on Monday, 09 April on the final leg of her 2013 world tour, with her next port of call being Walvis Bay, Namibia.  She is expected to dock in the United Kingdom’s main cruise port of Southampton on 26 April 2013.

Read more on:    travel south africa

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