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Cape Town cruise economy steams ahead

30 Nov 2022
Cruise ship - Table Mountain

After three disastrous years, the cruise economy is back. More than 239 cruise ships are expected to dock in Cape Town between October 2022 and April 2023.

The arrival of the first passenger vessel of the season, Hanseatic Spirit, at the Port of Cape Town on October 18 signaled the start of a bumper cruise season and a much-needed boost to the economy of the Mother City.

According to Alderman James Vos, the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, with  an estimated R100 million in total estimated passenger spend per port visit, a number of jobs in a variety of related industries will also result.

In fact, international tourists are estimated to spend R10 600 each before they arrive, and a further R8 600 when they arrive. With one job being created for every 12 cruise tourists, this robust growth in the cruise sector is a real win-win for Cape Town and the CBD.

Cape Town Cruise Terminal


The latest State of Cape Town Central City Report 2021 – A Year in Review (SCCR), published by the CCID, states that the Port of Cape Town is the second busiest in South Africa. It is crucial in facilitating the cruise economy of the city and the province, thanks in part to the R80 million Cruise Terminal redevelopment at the V&A Waterfront which opened in May 2018.

The demand for global cruises reached 29.7 million passengers in 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). However, the arrival of Covid-19 brought this arm of the hospitality industry to its knees with cruise operators suffering enormous financial losses.


Today, with the pandemic behind us, it’s hard to believe that two weeks after 3 711 passengers and crew boarded the British-registered Diamond Princess in Japan in January 2020, they would find themselves in quarantine amid the outbreak of a global pandemic. In fact, of all the confirmed cases of Covid-19 outside China at the time, more than half were on the Diamond Princess.

The outbreak of Covid‐19 onboard this and several other cruise ships, along with the sudden cancellation of hundreds of voyages, significantly affected the industry and tarnished the perception and promotion of cruising as a “safe” holiday.

MSC Musica


With Covid-19 behind us, it’s full steam ahead once more for the hotels of the ocean. This season’s cruise liners will arrive in style at the city’s cruise terminal with its world class customs facilities, immigration desks, passenger infrastructure and baggage handling services, facilities that complement the many existing tourism and hospitality offerings in the city and the CBD.

Says Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the CCID: “The return of ocean liners to our shores is very heartening news as they bring thousands of visitors to our city. The cruise economy complements the hospitality industry in greater Cape Town and the Central City, as these visitors stay in our hotels and guest houses, thereby boosting various economic tourism sectors. We look forward to welcoming the liners and their guests to our shores and our CBD.”

IMAGES: Google