[Mossel Bay, South Africa, 21 November 2019] The Port of Mossel Bay’s 2019/20 cruise season will officially open on Sunday, 24 November with the arrival of the MS ALBATROS cruise vessel, bringing over 900 passengers to the Garden Route.
They include over 550 tourists predominantly from Germany, but also Switzerland, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Turkey, Romania and Russia. The crew of around 350 are predominantly from the Philippines, Indonesia and Europe.
South Africa’s cruise ports, operated by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) have already welcomed thousands of passengers to the country’s shores and MS ALBATROS has to date called in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Richards Bay since October.
The ship is operated by the German based travel agency Phoenix Reisen. She was built in 1973 by Wärtsilä Helsinki New Shipyard, Finland for Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Sea, and has also sailed under the names Royal Odyssey, Norwegian Star, and Crown.
The vessel will be welcomed by Executive Mayor of Mossel Bay Municipality, Alderman Harry Joseph Levendal, TNPA’s Port Manager for the Mossel Bay, Shadrack Tshikalange, Mossel Bay Harbour Master, Captain Vania Cloete and Chief Operations Officer of Mossel Bay Tourism, Aneli Gerber.
A plaque will be handed over to the ship’s master, Captain Robert C. Fronenbroek, and there will also be a tour and finger lunch aboard the cruise liner.
Tshikalange said the Port of Mossel Bay is scheduled to receive at least seven cruise liner calls this season between November 2019 and May 2020.
“In collaboration with the Mossel Bay Municipality and Mossel Bay Tourism we are forging ahead with plans to ensure that the Port of Mossel supports the lucrative tourism industry and benefits the Garden Route region.
“These passengers enjoy the Garden Route coastline and activities. They use local transport and book tours in Mossel Bay and neighbouring cities like George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. They visit local establishments and attractions such as the Mossel Bay Waterfront, increasing tourist spend in our region. There are also crew changes and in-port servicing and maintenance that have economic benefits for our city and region,” he explained.
Gerber added on behalf of Mossel Bay Tourism, “We are delighted to welcome our first cruise liner of the season. These passenger liners are valuable assets to the town and we trust that they will, once again have an amazing experience in our area.”
TNPA’s medium to long term plans include a facility that will enable cruise passengers to disembark directly onto the quayside, instead of arriving by ferry.
TNPA has positioned Durban and Cape Town as stimulus cruise home ports while Richards Bay, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth and East London continue to receive their share of cruise ships. Provisional schedules indicate that at least 23 luxury cruise ships, operated by 17 international cruise lines, are scheduled to call across the country’s six cruise ports this season.
The MS Albatros cruise ship which will visit Mossel Bay on Sunday, 24 November 2019