Holland America ships NOORDAM and WESTERDAM heading for SA and FIFA World Soccer Cup

Sep 18, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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Westerdam – Wikipedia Commons

German reports that said two Holland American cruise ships will not be visiting South Africa during the Fifa Soccer World Cup in 2010 have been kicked soundly into touch.

Durban port manager Ricky Bhikraj told PORTS & SHIPS this week that he thought the reports, which were circulated by the German news agency DPA had perhaps confused the arrival of the NOORDAM (82,000-gt, built 2004) and WESTERDAM (81,811-gt, built 2004) with the proposed transfer of QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 to Cape Town as a floating hotel and tourist attraction.

Bhikraj confirmed that 1 Ocean Club had been contracted to send the two Holland America ships out to South Africa in time for the World Cup in June and July next year. “The matter has been discussed at government level and cleared. The Noordam and Westerdam are coming as cruise ships, not as floating hotels and will operate services between the ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town,” said Bhikraj.

Between them the ships will provide 3,700 additional beds at the three port cities while also providing an opportunity for fans to travel between the cities.

German media reporting on the matter said that the South African Department of Tourism had been forced to intervene in a dispute between the South African hospitality industry and 1 Ocean Club. “The position of the Tourism Ministry was always that we don’t want ships at the World Cup that have the objective of anchoring in our harbours and presenting themselves as alternatives to our local hotels,” the South African Tourism Ministry was quoted as saying.

There is still no clarity over the positioning of QE2 in Cape Town harbour or the V&A. The local hotel and hospitality industry continues to be outspoken in condemning the move, saying that Cape Town has sufficient accommodation and tourist attractions.


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