MSC Cruises cancels 2020/21 SA cruise season
MSC Cruises will cancel all remaining voyages for the 2020/21 season due to a delay to approve cruise operations in South Africa.
The company revealed in a statement that it worked in close collaboration with the relevant authorities in South Africa for approval of its comprehensive health and safety protocol designed for the wellbeing of its guests and crew since March 2020.
In late December 2020, the company showcased an on-board inspection of the vessels’ protocol to the various authorities in South Africa including the Department of Transport, Department of Health, Port Health, Department of Home Affairs together with the South African Maritime Safety Authority.
While authorities indicated that they were satisfied with the protocol MSC Cruises had presented, the company is still awaiting approval to resume.
MSC Cruises South Africa managing director Ross Volk said: “We are as disappointed as our guests will be that we have had to cancel their holiday plans despite our strenuous efforts to demonstrate that we can operate safely and ensure the wellbeing of our customers, our crew and the destinations we visit with our industry-leading, proven and effective protocol.
"We did our best to resume operations in South Africa safely and responsibly so that it was possible to sail in the region, just as we did in Europe. This was a difficult decision to make as we had invested in preparing as much as possible while the relevant authorities conducted their analysis. While we await their final decision, the delay makes it impossible for us to perform the remaining sailings.”
He said the company was optimistic for the future of cruise holidays in South Africa and the 2021/22 season.
Voyages for the remainder of the 2020/21 cruise season will be moved to the next local cruise season between November 2021 and April 2022 with embarkation from both Durban and Cape Town with MSC Cruise operating for the first time two ships in South Africa.
All guests whose reservations are affected by the cancellation of the 2020/2021 season in South Africa are eligible for a voucher for the value of their current 2020/2021 cruise package. All guests affected will also receive an on-board credit of $50 (R729) per cabin to be used for their next cruise.