Passenger liner, MSC Musica, made her final call to the Port of Durban on Friday, 26 April, bringing the port’s 2018/19 cruise season to a splendid close. This was also the final sailing in the South African cruise season.

Durban Harbour master, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose of TNPA presented a gift to MSC Musica master, Captain Ciro Pinto, to bid a temporary farewell to the ship and to mark the close of the cruise season for the Port of Durban and South Africa as a whole.

The ship had been on her maiden tour in South African waters between November 2018 and April 2019, setting sail from Durban and Cape Town to various locations including Mauritius, the Reunion Islands, and Mozambique’s Pomene Bay and Portuguese Island.

Acting port manager at the Port of Durban, Nokuzola Nkowane, said MSC Musica – like her predecessor MSC Sinfonia – had used Durban as a home port during the season, returning to the port at the end of each cruise.

“MSC Cruises must be praised for its continued investment into the South African cruise tourism industry, introducing exceptional cruise ships and new itineraries that attract thousands of domestic and international tourists each year. Their commitment has certainly helped to cement the Port of Durban’s status as ‘Africa’s Leading Cruise Port’, as awarded at the 2018 World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean segment,” she said.

“MSC Cruises has partnered with TNPA to transform the port’s N-Shed into a more welcoming facility for domestic and international tourists,” she said. The company is also a partner in the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) consortium, which has secured a 25-year port concession from TNPA to finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer a new Cruise Terminal Facility in the Port of Durban at an estimated value of more than R200 million.

“MSC Cruises’ continued partnerships with TNPA demonstrate that they are committed to supporting efforts to expand port infrastructure to accommodate more cruise ships, as well as larger ships,” said Nkowane. She said MSC Musica had made 41 calls to the Port of Durban alone during the latest season. The ship was built in 2006 and boasts 1 275 cabins, accommodating 20% more passengers than her predecessor, MSC Sinfonia.

For the forthcoming Southern African 2019/20 cruise season – which begins in November 2019 – MSC Cruises will be bringing the similarly sized MSC Orchestra to the continent.

Nkowane said TNPA looked forward to welcoming the new visitor, which will make her maiden visit to the Port of Durban on 27 October 2019.

To bid a temporary farewell to MSC Musica and to mark the close of the cruise season for the Port of Durban and South Africa as a whole, TNPA held a ceremonial tug spray and gift exchange ceremony aboard the vessel, while traditional dancers performed on the quayside. Durban Harbour master, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose of TNPA presented a plaque to the ship’s master, Captain Ciro Pinto.