MSC Cruises South Africa has cancelled their local 202 / 2021 cruise season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite holding out hope that at least the second half of the season would get the go-ahead from the South African government, with the onset of a second wave of Covid, unfortunately this approval was not obtained. It is a disappointing turn of events, given that MSC worked closely with the appropriate officials to have its health and safety plans passed as sufficient for cruising to re-open in South Africa.

Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises South Africa, said

“We are as disappointed as our guests will be that we have had to cancel their holiday plans despite our strenuous efforts to demonstrate that we can operate safely and ensure the well-being of our customers, our crew and the destinations we visit with our industry-leading, proven and effective protocol.

We did our best to resume operations in South Africa safely and responsibly so that it was possible to sail in the region, just as we did in Europe.

This was a difficult decision to make as we had invested in preparing as much as possible while the relevant authorities conducted their analysis. While we await their final decision, the delay makes it impossible for us to perform the remaining sailings.”

MSC has been cruising in Europe since last year. Currently it is possible to cruise the Mediterranean on MSC Grandiosa. There are plans to gradually increase the number of itineraries on offer, starting towards the end of March 2021 with the MSC Opera (Eastern Mediterranean), MSC Seaside (Grand Voyage to the USA) and MSC Seaview (Western Mediterranean).

MSC South Africa has an exciting 2021/22 season planned, with both the MSC Lirica and MSC Musica making the journey to Durban and Cape Town for the local cruises. It is the first time that the Lirica is in Southern Africa, leaving Venice (Italy) on 7 November 2021 and arriving in Durban on 3 December 2021.

Both ships will alternate between using Cape Town and Durban as departure points, giving South Africans the chance to experience both vessels.

Ross Volk concluded: “At the same time, we are optimistic for the future about cruise holidays in South Africa and for the 2021/22 season we will offer our guests, with whom we already have a long-standing relationship, memorable, relaxing and safe holidays on board two MSC Cruises ships based in the country for the first time.”

The MSC Orchestra left Durban, South Africa on 23 of February 2021 and is expected to arrive in Algeciras, Spain on 13 March 2021. She will be cruising in the Mediterranean from 15 of May. 

Related: A Guide to MSC Cruises


Published February 18 2021, updated February 25 2021