At 08h30 today, the first major international cruise liner of the season - the MSC Opera - docked at E-berth at Cape Town Harbour carrying 1 284 passengers from the Mediterranean and Namibia.
"I would like to extend a warm Western Cape welcome to the MSC Opera. We wish its passengers a very good stay, and hope that they take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore all the wonderful attractions our Province", Western Cape MEC of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde said.
"We look forward to welcoming other cruise liners to the Western Cape during the summer season. In 2011, 19 visiting cruise liners brought approximately 11 144 passengers and 6 342 crew members to the Western Cape, sustaining a significant number of jobs in our flourishing tourism industry. While we have not yet been able to return to docking at the Waterfront, the facilities within the port have been significantly improved", MEC Winde added.
MSC Operations Manager in Cape Town, Rob McEwan, said: "This year considerable improvements have been made at E-berth. The rubble has been removed, the area is very spacious and Home Affairs officials were on-site this morning to assist with customs processes. All in all, the experience was a very positive one. We look forward to making use of the passenger terminal currently under construction at E-berth, which we understand should be ready in February."