MSC Cruises to resume sailing in SA from December 6

LUXURY cruise liner MSC Orchestra will sail this December. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

LUXURY cruise liner MSC Orchestra will sail this December. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 20, 2021


MSC Orchestra to offer 2- 3- 4- and 7-night cruises around South Africa and to Mozambique.

MSC Cruises will resume its South African sailings on December 6 following approvals in the most recent SA Government Gazette.

MSC Orchestra, a popular ship for South African holidaymakers, will homeport in Durban and Cape Town for the local 2021/22 season and offer 2-, 3-, 4- and 7-night voyages until May 11 next year. The vessel replaces the MSC Musica.

MSC Orchestra will offer 41 local cruises from both Durban and Cape Town.

Highlights include Pomene Bay in Mozambique – a marine safari experience complete with its own beach club, Portuguese Island and other destinations in Southern Africa.

“MSC Cruises plans to implement stringent health and safety measures on board MSC Orchestra and all destinations that the ship will call at. These measures are based on an industry-leading protocol it introduced in August 2020 for the wellbeing of passengers, crew and the destinations served by its vessels,” MSC said.

The cruise company awaits specifics of health and safety guidelines from the relevant authorities in South Africa to build into its own protocol, as required.

Ross Volk, managing director, MSC Cruises South Africa, said: “We are delighted to have received confirmation and approval from the government that cruising and with it our local season can proceed. I believe that our return to sailing will provide a welcome boost to the South African economy in terms of direct and indirect employment, as well as offer safe and relaxing cruise holidays.

“We have worked co-operatively since last year with all of the relevant authorities, ports and destinations to demonstrate that our new health and safety protocol can ensure the wellbeing of guests, our crew and the communities that MSC Orchestra will visit during the season. We now look forward to receiving details of the health and safety guidelines that will allow us to finalise our protocol for the start of our sailing programme.”

All passengers – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – will be required to take a Covid-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours of their cruise departure and provide proof of a negative result in order to board.

Unvaccinated guests over the age of 18 years will additionally have to undergo an antigen lateral flow test at the embarkation port costing R300 per person.

“All guests will be required to have an insurance policy to cover Covid-19-related issues such as cancellation, interruption, repatriation, quarantine and medical assistance and related expenses,” the company said.

MSC Orchestra is equipped with a 24/7 medical centre staffed by professional doctors and nurses and has a contingency response plan agreed in collaboration with the relevant authorities ashore.