A new exciting look for cruising in South Africa

Cruise guests will be welcomed to a revamped world-class cruise terminal in Cape Town this year

A new exciting look for cruising in South Africa
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This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

The port city of Cape Town offers cruise passengers the services of a world-class cruise terminal five minutes’ walk from the heart of the V&A Waterfront, one of South Africa’s most visited destinations.

Newly renovated and accessible to disabled passengers, Cape Town’s 4,777-metre-square cruise terminal has reception and waiting areas, baggage handling services, a tourism information desk, bathrooms, a restaurant and additional amenities to make the facility more comfortable for disembarking cruise passengers. Immigration and customs facilities include desktop terminals and fibre-optic links into the government database, allowing terminal staff to efficiently conduct immigration processes for anyone on vessels arriving from, and departing to, international destinations. On average, visitors spend just 20 minutes through the embarkation and debarkation process. Outside the terminal, there is a large drop-and-go parking area, coach parking, taxi services, and a public bus service within the vicinity.

The building’s façade has also been upgraded to ensure that the cruise terminal matches international standards. The two floors immediately above the passenger terminal are currently being developed to accommodate a seafood restaurant, a viewing deck, which will turn this space into a sustainable facility that is operational all year round.

During the 2016-2017 season, the terminal hosted a total of 44 vessels, including Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, and processed 47,000 passengers and crew members. Although most of the ships that currently call in Cape Town carry fewer than 1,000 passengers, the revamped cruise terminal can process up to 3,000. It is envisaged that in the future, Cape Town will become a regular destination for many more world cruises. Within minutes of disembarking through the renovated terminal, cruise passengers can access the V&A Waterfront. The area has more than 450 retail outlets selling everything from fashion to jewellery, leather goods, homeware, curios and audiovisual equipment. The diverse offering of local and international brands guarantees that there is something to suit all tastes or budgets.

The V&A Waterfront also has more than 80 restaurants, enabling guests to enjoy everything from a quick bite at the world-class food market, to a more leisurely experience at one of the fine dining restaurants. The wide range of eateries also offer views of both Table Mountain and the sea.

In addition, the V&A Waterfront boasts several museums and art galleries, as well as activities and experiences such as boat trips, helicopter rides, cinemas, the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Cape Wheel. Of particular interest to many cruise visitors is the Nelson Mandela Gateway, the departure point for tours to the Robben Island World Heritage Site.

Transport services and operators depart from the cruise terminal to other well-known attractions including Cape Point, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, the Cape winelands and the city’s various Blue Flag beaches. This gives cruise guests the opportunity to experience Cape Town like a local and discover the countless options on offer.

A short stroll from the cruise terminal, the recently opened Silo District offers shops, restaurants and the new trendy Radisson RED Hotel. The Silo Hotel is one of a kind – the six-floor hotel has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo, providing its guests with a spectacular view of the city, the ocean and Table Mountain. The hotel is, however, not the only thing for which the new Silo District is famous: it also houses the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). The museum, is located in a reimagined historic grain silo and is the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. It is also the first African institution to acknowledge new mediums through the establishment of different centres and institutes within its walls.

Zeitz MOCAA houses Centres for Costume Institute, Photography, Curatorial Excellence, the Moving Image, Performative Practice, and Art Education. In addition, the museum also features a myriad of gallery spaces, a sculpture garden, bookshop, restaurant, technical training areas, research laboratories and reading rooms.

For hundreds of years, Cape Town has been called the Tavern of the Seas. The warm welcome cruise guests receive at both the V&A Waterfront and in the recently upgraded cruise terminal provide one more reason as to why this beautiful and vibrant city should be included on cruise itineraries from across the world.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, April 17, 2018