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All aboard! SA cruise season is weeks away

South African ports are gearing up for the cruise season 2021/22. Picture: Supplied

South African ports are gearing up for the cruise season 2021/22. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 24, 2021


Cruise season is back in South Africa and avid passengers cannot wait to sail. As such, cruise lines are slowly returning to South Africa, with the first ship expected to dock at the Port of Cape Town at the end of the month.

The port cities of Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Gqeberha, Durban and Richards Bay are scheduled to receive a total of 20 passenger vessels this cruise season, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) revealed in a statement.

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After moving to Alert Level 1 in October, the South African Department of Transport announced that passenger ships could return to the country. However, international embarkation and disembarking will be limited to Cape Town, Durban and Gqeberha.

TNPA has announced Cape Town will be receiving vessels from Walvis Bay and Luderitz along the Namibian coast and from Gough Island and Tristan Da Cunha in the South Atlantic.

In a statement, acting chief harbour master at TNPA, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, said they were thrilled to welcome back cruise passengers and crew.

“We pride ourselves in our role of enabling the South African tourism industry, which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This season will also see the official opening of a new cruise terminal at the Port of Durban,” he said.

TNPA revealed that all crew and passengers arriving at a port to join a vessel will be required to adhere to the protocols and regulations issued by the Department of Health (Port Health) and the Marine Notice 21-21(C) issued by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa). Passenger vessel owners and operators will also need to adhere to strict operating protocols.

Covid-19 safety

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Cruise ships and the SA government are taking Covid-19 seriously. Cruise companies will observe social distancing during embarkation and disembarkation.

Some cruise lines require travellers to be fully vaccinated, including children, and to produce or take a negative PCR test before embarking.

Every company has different rules and regulations so ask before you book.

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They're also strict on board, with passengers who develop symptoms of Covid-19 or suspect they are getting sick, required to contact the medical doctor.