The Port of Durban’s 2019/2020 cruise season opened at the weekend with the arrival of the MS Albatros cruise vessel.
Durban - The Port of Durban’s 2019/20 cruise season opened on Sunday with the arrival of the MS Albatros cruise vessel, which also sailed to Richards Bay this week.

MS Albatros is operated by the German-based travel agency Phoenix Reisen.

She was built in 1973 by Wärtsilä Helsinki New Shipyard, Finland, for Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Sea, and has also sailed under the names Royal Odyssey, Norwegian Star, and Crown.

Transnet National Ports Authority said that the Durban port was scheduled to receive at least 17 cruise liners this season between October 2019 and April 2020, while provisional schedules indicate that at least 23 luxury cruise ships, operated by 17 international cruise lines, were scheduled to call across the country’s six cruise ports this season.

Operators that have included South Africa on their routes this year include: Aida Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Lines, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Ponant, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line.

A newcomer to the country is TUI Cruises, which will bring its vessel Mein Schiff Herz to sail her first ever cruise season in South Africa.

Operators with multiple vessels on the local route are Aida Cruises, with two vessels, Aidamira and Aidaura, Cunard Lines with its impressive Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 liners, Phoenix Reisen with MS Albatros and MV Artania, Azamara Cruises with Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey and Princess Cruises with Sun Princess and Pacific Princess.

TNPA said a highlight of the new season would be the arrival of the MSC Orchestra, on her maiden season in South Africa, on November 16 at the Port of Durban.

Construction will commence in November on the new Durban passenger terminal to be developed by KwaZulu Cruise Terminal.

The Mercury