For the first time, Norwegian Cruise Line will introduce roundtrip cruises from Cape Town, starting December 2021, as part of more than 20 new destinations included in its 2021 to 2023 sailings. The new itineraries have been designed to appeal to both local and international guests.

The decision to introduce Southern African cruises follows the incremental growth the cruise line has seen in the market, says Regional VP Business Development for Middle East and Africa, Nick Wilkinson. This has been driven by both domestic and international demand, he says.

“Pre-pandemic, global demand to explore the Indian Ocean and the shores of South Africa was incredibly strong. We have also found that South Africans highly value NCL’s diverse itineraries.”

Wilkinson says the key differentiator between NCL’s local sailings and those of current market leader MSC is NCL’s concept of ‘freestyle cruising’. “This cruise concept offers guests unrivalled freedom and flexibility at sea, with the greatest choice on board – award-winning solo-traveller staterooms and The Haven by Norwegian, our exclusive ship-within-a-ship concept – while at the same time eliminating formalities such as fixed dinner times, seating orders or dress codes.”

Some of the African itineraries that NCL is introducing include a 12-day South African and Namibian round trip starting in Cape Town, which visits Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Richard’s Bay, Durban, Lüderitz and Walvis Bay (December 21, 2021, January 2 and 14, 2022, December 21, 2022, January 2, 2023); an 18-day Dubai to Cape Town sailing, stopping in Réunion and the Seychelles (December 3, 2021); and a 20-day African Safari, cruising from Cape Town to Dubai with visits along the South African coastline as well as Réunion, Mauritius, Seychelles, Oman and Abu Dhabi (March 1, 2021).