MSC Cruises celebrated the inauguration of a new cruise terminal in Durban, South Africa, on November 23, 2023, with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and various other dignitaries in attendance.

The newly inaugurated Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal, a project spearheaded by MSC Cruises marks a notable improvement for cruises sailing in South Africa.

The $16 million facility in Durban’s main port is a result of a collaboration between the cruise line, African Armada Consortium, and Transnet National Ports Authority, and provided 10,000 jobs to local workers, significantly boosting the local economy.  

MSC Cruises celebrated opening a new cruise terminal in Durban, South Africa, on November 23, 2023. The Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal, which cost $16 million to construct and has a 6,000 square-meter footprint, can handle up to 4,000 passengers a day. 

The terminal’s opening ceremony was attended by various dignitaries, including South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, members of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, government ministers, and prominent figures from the travel industry. 

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Nelson Mandela Terminal (Photo Credit: Elphick Proome Architecture)

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and Chairman of KwaZulu Cruise Terminal, joined the South African president and King of the Zulu Nation:

“Nelson Mandela was an incredible statesman and leader. We are honored that the Nelson Mandela Foundation allowed us to use his name for what is the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom,” he said.

MSC Cruises has had a presence in South Africa for many years, one of the few cruise lines to have nearly continuous operations in a country that supplies thousands of cruise ship workers year-round.

The new cruise terminal will offer guests the chance to enjoy the spectacular landscapes, wines, food, and culture that South Africa has to offer.

“MSC Cruises arrived in South Africa in the early 1990s, and since then, thousands of cruise guests have discovered the beauty of the KwaZulu-Natal Province and beyond. The new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban will allow passengers from over 100 nationalities to enjoy the unique experiences we offer on board and at destinations like Portuguese Island and Pomene in Mozambique,” Vago added.

Nelson Mandela Terminal (Photo Credit: Elphick Proome Architecture)

The terminal does not just celebrate South African culture and cuisine. The empowerment of locals played a big part in the construction of the terminal, providing 10,000 jobs to the local workforce in Durban and other regions of South Africa.

Vago: “It has been 10 years since the public-private partnership was initially conceived, the first of its kind for the east coast of South Africa. Together with our black empowerment partner, we created new infrastructure that supports the expansion of South African cruise tourism. The new terminal will be a boon for all cruise companies worldwide.”

MSC’s social footprint expands further than the cruise terminal that opened on November 23, the company has several initiatives running in the country. 

In 2019, MSC established the Shosholoza Academy in South Africa, focusing on educating young people and training them in hospitality skills. This initiative will result in 5,000 new crew members joining MSC Cruises’ fleet of 22 ships in the future.

MSC Cruises Ship (Photo Credit: RobSeventyThree)

MSC Cruises also operates an international customer call center in Johannesburg. This center serves both MSC Cruises and Explora Journeys, catering to passengers in South Africa, the USA, and the UK, with plans to expand services to other global markets.

Ross Volk, Managing Director of MSC Cruises South Africa: “We are fully committed to helping drive South Africa’s tourism industry and create employment opportunities. This will have a positive economic impact on the nation. The local cruise season will start this week with the arrival of MSC Splendida, our largest and most modern ship to serve the South African market,” he stated.

MSC Splendida will be homeported in Durban from November 24, 2023, through March 15, 2024. 

The 133,500 gross tons Fantasia-class cruise ship will offer a range of cruises from Durban, visiting ports such as Port Louis, Mauritius; Saint-Denis, Reunion; Portuguese Island and Pomene, Mozambique, as well as several two-day seacations where the vessel will be at sea.

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