There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city is now set to receive more tourists at the Port of Cape Town with the docking of the MSC Orchestra cruise liner, which has more than 900 crew and nearly 1 000 passengers. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city is now set to receive more tourists at the Port of Cape Town with the docking of the MSC Orchestra cruise liner, which has more than 900 crew and nearly 1 000 passengers. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

LOOK: Cape Town welcomes first cruise liner, set to depart with fully vaccinated guests only

By Crispin Adriaanse Time of article published Jan 13, 2022

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Cape Town - Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner, MSC Orchestra, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and it will depart with fully vaccinated guests only.

Passenger Cornel Williams looks at the MSC Orchestra cruise liner from Ukhamba Brewery at Makers Landing before climbing on board. There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Cornell Williams, a 56-year-old recently retired prison warden from Brandvlei Correctional Services in Worcester, is ecstatic about his first cruise, he told IOL on Thursday evening.

There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city is now set to receive more tourists at the Port of Cape Town with the docking of the MSC Orchestra cruise liner, which has more than 900 crew and nearly 1 000 passengers. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Williams explains he planned the trip last year but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Passenger Cornel Williams looks at the MSC Orchestra cruise liner from Ukhamba Brewery at Makers Landing before climbing on board. There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The MSC Orchestra will depart from the Port of Cape Town at roughly 8pm to 10pm on Thursday and will make its way to the port of Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), and then back to Cape Town on January 18.

Windy conditions delayed the vessel’s arrival time, and subsequently the boarding of passengers.

There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city is now set to receive more tourists at the Port of Cape Town with the docking of the MSC Orchestra cruise liner, which has more than 900 crew and nearly 1 000 passengers. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The MSC Orchestra is hosting radio personality Clarence Ford’s Love Jazz Cruise.

“We are the first cruise out of CPT since 2020 (Local Cruises). In effect, we are an experiment in what a new normal may look like for the South African Cruise season, during times of Covid,” Ford wrote on the event’s Facebook page on Wednesday.

There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city is now set to receive more tourists at the Port of Cape Town with the docking of the MSC Orchestra cruise liner, which has more than 900 crew and nearly 1 000 passengers. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

MSC Cruises previously suspended local cruises in South Africa until January 8, 2022, according to a report from IOL in December 2021.

The decision to suspend cruises was made voluntarily with passengers’ heath the main concern, the managing director for MSC Cruises South Africa, Ross Volk, explained.

There was great excitement on Thursday as Cape Town welcomed its first cruise liner since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city is now set to receive more tourists at the Port of Cape Town with the docking of the MSC Orchestra cruise liner, which has more than 900 crew and nearly 1 000 passengers. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

“We now also await eagerly for any additional guidance from the South African government for its citizens so that we can also reflect any new measures into our own health and safety protocol,” Volk said at the time.

Thursday’s cruise involved lengthy Covid-19 testing with all protocols being observed, Williams said.

According to a notice shared by Ford and written by MSC Cruises South Africa, the cruise liner is only accepting fully vaccinated passengers.

“MSC Cruises is only accepting fully Covid-19 vaccinated guests,” the notice reads.

“All guests (12 years old and over) have to be fully vaccinated with an approved Covid-19 vaccine with the final dose administered at least 14 days before the cruise departure date.

“As your cruise is longer than five days, you will be required to additionally take an antigen test at embarkation, at MSC Cruise’s cost.”

The MSC Orchestra is expected to arrive in the port of Mossel Bay on January 15, IOL previously reported.

However, Williams is unaware of this but was told to expect a “surprise” on the way to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).

The cruise was originally meant to sail to Walvis Bay in Namibia. However, the destination changed to Gqeberha.

IOL

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