MSC Cruises


As international cruise liners raise their anchors to set sail once more, so too will MSC Cruises as it resumes its South African sailings on December 6, just in time for the holidays.


  • MSC Cruises plans to implement stringent health and safety measures onboard MSC Orchestra and all destinations that the ship will call.
  • All passengers – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – will be required to take a Covid-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours of their cruise departure and provide proof of a negative result in order to board.
  • Unvaccinated guests over the age of 18 years will additionally have to undergo an antigen lateral flow test at the embarkation port costing R300 per person.
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MSC Orchestra, a vessel that had recently undergone a major refurbishment program will replace the MSC Musica that was originally earmarked for South Africa in the upcoming cruise season. Its home port will be in Durban and Cape Town for the local 2021/22 season and offers 2, 3, 4, and 7-night voyages up to May 11, 2022.


MSC Orchestra plans to welcome guests on a total of 41 local cruises from both Durban – with embarkation at the soon-to-be inaugurated KwaZulu Natal terminal and Cape Town, providing South African cruisers with a wide choice of options to suit their holiday needs. Cruise highlights include Pomene Bay in Mozambique – a marine safari experience complete with its own beach club, Portuguese Island, and other destinations in Southern Africa.


The restart was achieved thanks to the application of an industry-leading health and safety protocol by MSC Cruises’, which will be implemented in South Africa, that was developed with the support of international medical experts, as well as close collaboration with local, regional, and national authorities in the countries where its ships operate.


MSC Cruises
The MSC Cruises’ protocol has safely protected hundreds of thousands of guests since its introduction and is currently implemented on 12 MSC Cruises’ ships operating in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Image: MSC Cruises

We have worked co-operatively since last year with all of the relevant authorities, ports and destinations to demonstrate that our new health and safety protocol can ensure the wellbeing of guests, our crew and the communities that MSC Orchestra will visit during the season. We now look forward to receiving details of the health and safety guidelines that will allow us to finalise our protocol for the start of our sailing programme.

// MSC Cruises South Africa Managing Director, Ross Volk


MSC Cruises currently plans to welcome onboard both guests who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as unvaccinated but, will amend its position subject to the requirements of either the South African government or any of the other countries that MSC Orchestra is set to visit during the season.


The South African government to date has not mandated passengers be fully vaccinated before a cruise holiday nor have other countries in MSC Orchestra’s Southern Africa itineraries made it mandatory for travelers to be fully vaccinated. Health screening of all guests in the cruise terminals will include a temperature check and a health questionnaire.


MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises strongly urges its guests to be fully vaccinated before their voyage for their own well-being and that of other passengers, the ship’s crew and communities in the destinations that MSC Orchestra will visit. Image: MSC Cruises

Guest embarkation flow will be managed by assigning guests with a specific arrival time, which will be indicated on their cruise tickets. The guests will be asked to respect the timing and will not be allowed to enter the terminal until their time slot, in order to comply with the local social distancing regulations.


MSC Orchestra will be equipped with a 24/7 Medical Centre staffed by professional doctors and nurses and has a contingency response plan agreed in collaboration with the relevant authorities ashore. Additional health and safety measures include extended sanitation on board and the wearing of face masks in indoor public areas or where social distancing cannot be guaranteed. All guests will be required to have an insurance policy to cover Covid-19 related issues such as cancellation, interruption, repatriation, quarantine and medical assistance, and related expenses.


Sea-goers can choose MSC Cruises’ new Hollard COVID-19 Protection Plan that will provide coverage before, during, and after their cruise. In collaboration with Hollard Insurance, the plan covers cancellation charges as well as medical and related transport expenses. For further details visit the MSC Cruises website.


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