[Mossel Bay, South Africa, 27 November 2019] The Port of Mossel Bay’s 2019/20 cruise season officially opened on Sunday, 24 November with the arrival of the MS ALBATROS cruise vessel, which brought over 900 passengers to the Garden Route.
|Municipal Manager of the Mossel Bay Municipality, Adv. Thys Giliomee, welcoming the vessel on behalf of the Executive Mayor, Alderman Harry Levendal.||Senior representatives of Mossel Bay Municipality, Mossel Bay Tourism and TNPA aboard the vessel.|
They included 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.
Since October MS ALBATROS has called in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Richards Bay and now Mossel Bay.
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 was welcomed by Municipal Manager of the Mossel Bay Municipality, Adv. Thys Giliomee, Ward councillor for Great Brak River and member of the Mayoral Committee, Councillor Clifford Bayman, 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 was handed over to the ship’s master, Captain Robert C. Fronenbroek, by the Port Manager and guests enjoyed a tour and finger lunch aboard the cruise liner.
Adv. Giliomee highlighted the wealth of value-added tourist attractions in the area and said, “An active harbour has always been an integral part of the fibre of Mossel Bay, and today our community embraces tourism as a valuable resource for local economic development.”
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.
“This we are sure will encourage operators like Phoenix Reisen, which operates MS ALBATROS, to commit to staying longer in our region and including overnight stays. As we all know, this is an attractive destination that is so well loved by tourists,” said Tshikalange.
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.