MSC Cruises will restart South African holidays at sea on 6 December 2021 from a new state-of-the-art cruise terminal in Durban.
The green light follows approvals from the country’s government to resume ocean voyages with passengers on board after a 21-month hiatus caused by the global pandemic ashore.
MSC Orchestra will homeport at the new KwaZulu Natal terminal in Durban to be inaugurated in December for the winter 2021/22 season – as well as embarking passengers in Cape Town – and offer 41 voyages up to 11 May 2022 around South Africa, for the country’s citizens and residents, and Mozambique.
The vessel has recently undergone a major drydock refurbishment programme and replaces MSC Musica that was originally earmarked for South Africa in the upcoming cruise season.
MSC Cruises has to date pioneered the industry’s restart of international sailings following the global industry’s collective shut down in March 2020 with passenger voyages around mainland Europe and the UK, and now also in South Africa.
The Company has also led the way as the first major cruise line to operate in the Middle East and is set to restart operations in November in South America where, as in South Africa and Europe, it is the market leader. MSC Cruises is also currently operating cruises in the Caribbean Sea from the USA.
MSC Cruises plans to implement stringent health and safety measures on board MSC Orchestra and all destinations that the ship will call based on its industry-leading protocol introduced in August 2020 for the wellbeing of passengers, crew and the destinations served by its vessels.
The MSC Cruises’ protocol has safely protected hundreds of thousands of guests since its introduction last year and is currently implemented on 12 MSC Cruises’ ships operating in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
The cruise line is now waiting eagerly for the relevant authorities in South Africa to issue specific details of their health and safety guidelines that can be built into its own protocol, if required.
MSC Cruises was the first major line in the world to resume operations in August 2020 when MSC Grandiosa began cruising in the Mediterranean Sea.
The restart was achieved thanks to the application of MSC Cruises’ industry-leading health and safety protocol – which will be implemented in South Africa – that was developed with the support of international medical experts, as well as working in close collaboration with local, regional and national authorities in the countries where its ships operate.