MSC adds second ship to SA 2020/2021 cruise season - why this is great news for SA tourism

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Gabi Zietsman

Owning almost the entire market share in South Africa, MSC just announced that the MSC Opera will join the MSC Musica in South Africa for 2020/2021 cruise season.

This means 60 cruises from one of two home ports (Cape Town and Durban) and a bigger offering for guests as eight different itineraries will now be available - spoiling them for choice.

WATCH: Cruising from Durban to Pomene - and the craziness in-between 

Selling itself as the ultimate value-for-money holiday package - particularly for families - MSC cruises are essentially floating resort cities offering entertainment, luxury and effortless travel. 

This will mark the first time that two different class MSC Cruises’ ships (Lirica and Musica Class) will be deployed in the country simultaneously and will mean that 50000 additional cruise passengers. From December 2020 to March 2021 MSC Opera, which will be homeported in Cape Town, will join MSC Musica homeported in Durban.

READ: Anniversaries and loyalty programmes: Cruise through your holidays with the best offers around 

“Our decision to increase the number of ships for the South African cruise season in 2020/2021 is due to the significant growth in demand we have seen in our guest numbers over the past few years,” explains Ross Volk, MD for MSC Cruises South Africa.

“Our most recent season saw a 25% increase in guests compared to the same period in 2017/2018. MSC Cruises has been bringing bigger and better ships to this country and enriching our itineraries as more South Africans are realising that a cruise is an affordable, convenient and exciting holiday option.”

New Southern African itinerary for cruisers

MSC Musica can cater for approximately 3200 guests and will offer 40 cruises. The ships will alternate routes, providing South African cruisers with a wider choice of options to suit their holiday needs. This means that both Cape Town and Durban ports of embarkation will get to experience the leading cruise line’s elegant and diverse product offering and enjoy more cruise destinations and packages than ever before.

One highlight of the 2020/2021 cruise itinerary is MSC Cruises’ 14-day New Year cruise around Southern Africa:

The cruise will depart from Durban on 26 December and will incorporate destinations including Portuguese Island; Nosy Be, Madagascar; followed by Port Victoria, Seychelles; and then Port Louis in Mauritius, returning to Durban on 9 January. What makes this cruise particularly special is that it will be the first time that Port Victoria has been included in the cruise offering from Durban outside of MSC Cruises’ Grand Voyage. 

Yes, please!

Why this is great for SA tourism

There are also knock-on benefits for the tourist industries in the destinations that MSC Cruises sails to. The most significant of these are its investment of over R200 million in the construction of the new world-class Durban Cruise Terminal as part of the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Consortium (KTC), plus training programmes that upskill those within the hospitality industry to work as cruise staff. 

“It will substantially boost tourism numbers, create thousands of jobs and lead to 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 groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in November this year. The design phase took a little longer than we anticipated, but it was vital that we got this right as we want the Durban Cruise Terminal to be an iconic destination. We hope the new port will be operational by January 2021,” says Volk.

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