Cape Town Time:


Cruise into Cape Town

26 October 2023

Cape Town’s desirable location on the continent and its reputation as a world-class destination make it an appealing choice for cruise liners seeking to commence their global journeys from this city. The city’s modern cruise terminal located at the iconic V&A Waterfront plays an integral role in the region’s travel and tourism network.

Seamless transition from ship to city 

In recent years, the cruise terminal has evolved into a versatile and multipurpose facility. The terminal has undergone significant upgrades to provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for visitors, offering a range of amenities and services to cater to their needs.

According to Theuns Vivian, Head of Tourism Development, the improvement to the cruise terminal is continuous. The cutting of the ribbon on Makers Landing, a melting pot of market stalls and live music performances housed in a strikingly refurbished warehouse, marked a turning point for the cruise terminal. Beyond creating an opportunity for small local businesses to showcase their offerings, Makers Landing enables a warm inviting experience for visitors stepping foot into Cape Town.

Cape Town’s cruise terminal has attracted numerous international cruise lines, making it a popular port of call for their voyages. The terminal’s state-of-the-art infrastructure can accommodate large cruise ships, some of which measure up to 340 metres in length. One of the world’s most prominent cruise lines, MSC, operates frequently from Cape Town, catering to both domestic and international tourists.

Port city heritage and sustainable future 

Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, recognises the enduring significance of Cape Town as a South African port city, stating that its historical importance remains as relevant today as it was in the past and that it holds the key to shaping a sustainable future for the city.

He believes that harnessing Cape Town’s maritime potential and ensuring the growth of the cruise industry can contribute to the city’s long-term sustainability goals. Duminy also highlighted the importance of promoting responsible and environmentally friendly practices within the cruise sector.

“As we move forward, sustainability becomes a cornerstone of our efforts. We aim to work hand in hand with cruise liners, local businesses and the community to ensure that our growth aligns with eco-friendly practices, protecting our marine ecosystems and preserving the beauty that makes Cape Town a truly remarkable destination.”

By recognising Cape Town’s heritage as a South African port city and embracing its potential for sustainable development, Duminy envisions a future where the cruise industry contributes to the city’s economic prosperity while preserving its natural wonders for generations to come.

Promising outlook for the future 

Cape Town’s cruise network has experienced remarkable growth and success, defying any doubts about its potential. Alderman James Vos, City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, highlighted the City’s long-term investment in the cruise sector.

The 2022/2023 cruise season had 75 ships on the booking schedule with over 40 turnaround trips – approximately double the number of ship calls compared to the 2019/2020 season, according to IOL. In a record-breaking feat, Cape Town has already attracted 120 ship visits for the 2023/2024 season.

“With an estimated R100 million in total passenger spend per port visit, this is a significant market for Cape Town,” said Alderman Vos.

Cape Town’s investment in infrastructure, combined with its appealing location and desirable amenities, sets the stage for continued growth in the cruise industry. The city’s thriving cruise network not only benefits the local economy but also showcases the region’s beauty and charm to an international audience, further solidifying its position as a premier destination for cruise travellers.