It’s cruise season again…well almost

Sep 1, 2006
Author: P&S

The first of a series of cruise ships is expected in South African ports early next month, signaling the start of another summer season that will be slightly different. Not only will there be the usual arrival and departure of visiting ships but this year two cruise ships will be on station in South African waters for the summer months, with one of them remaining here throughout the winter and into next summer.

This offers local holidaymakers a welcome choice of cruise options. Not only are some berths going to be available on other visiting ships travelling one way towards their destinations, but it will also be possible once again to cruise along the South African coast to Cape Town.

The two ships on station (in Durban) are the Melody, by far the biggest cruise ship to remain in local waters, which will be here for the summer months, and the well-known Monterey which will also offer cruises out of Durban and Cape Town (to the southern Cape and to Namibia) but will later remain cruising from Durban for the rest of 2007.

Other ships intending to visit these parts are Pacific Princess, which begins the ‘season’ with twin visits to Durban from 9 October. Soon after that MSC Monterey arrives in Durban before sailing later that same day (27 October) on her first local cruise. After that she will be in and out of Durban every Monday and Friday until January when she relocates to Cape Town for about six weeks.

Sister company ship MSC Melody arrives in Durban on 12 December and will cruise locally until 15 March but ahead of her is another familiar and always popular ship in the form of Marco Polo, which returns to South Africa in late November.

December sees the visit to of Artemis, a former Princess Cruises ship now in P&O colours while in January Saga Ruby returns – she was last here in January this year. Also visiting the coast is Delphin Voyager, which makes a welcome first call. At 23,000 tons and 174m in length she has a modern design but still succeeds in looking different from the others. Delphin Voyager will be arriving in southern African waters from 1 January as part of her inaugural world cruise for Germany’s Hansa Cruise operator.

In March Spirit of Adventure will be operating cruises along the coast and then in April, as if to wrap things up neatly comes QE2, due here in April and followed a few days later by the return of Pacific Princess.

These are only the ships scheduled so far but there are likely to be a few others.

Meanwhile, forlorn in Durban harbour is the Madagascar, the former Stellar Maris II, on laybye and for sale but seemingly unwanted after the collapse of another ill-conceived local cruise venture.



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