Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is set to dominate the South African cruise market, and there are some thrilling plans to connect travellers to and from Cape Town.
Spanning a 57-year history, NCL recently celebrated its return to South Africa for its second and longest season aboard the Norwegian Dawn.
Kevin Bubolz, NCL’s Vice President and Managing Director of Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the cruise line was thrilled to set sail once again in African waters after a successful 2022/2023 cruise season out of Cape Town.
“For 2024, we’ve elevated our deployment to new heights. We are offering not one but two seasonal homeports, a myriad of roundtrip and open-jaw sailings and new-to-NCL destinations across the continent, with itineraries that not only whet our international and local guests’ appetites – but also cement NCL as the only contemporary cruise line to provide such a rich selection of destinations, ports, and homeports in the region,” he explained.
Here’s everything you need to know about NCL’s exciting journeys to and from Cape Town:
The Cruise Ship
Travellers will embark on extraordinary trips aboard the Norwegian Dawn. Accommodating 2340 guests, the cruise ship boasts an assortment of activities for all ages. Your inner foodie will squeal with excitement at all the interesting eateries on the ship, from a sophisticated Mexican restaurant at Los Lobos Cantina, an authentic Brazilian churrascaria experience at Moderno, to an elegant evening at the Italian ristorante, La Cucina. The cruise line also offers a wide range of spacious accommodations, with staterooms to fit every family size and budget. The Garden Villas offers the most well-appointed and spacious suites at sea, spanning up to 6,693 square feet. These rooms include king- or queen-size beds, separate living and dining areas, luxury baths, and private balconies. All Garden Villas come with certified butler and concierge services. The rest of the ship is a masterpiece, offering many activities and experiences, from an award-winning spa to entertainment and one-of-a-kind itineraries.
Here are some of the cruises on offer to and from Cape Town:
12-day Cruise to Africa from Cape Town
Departing from Cape Town on 1 February and 8 March 2024, the ship will visit Gqeberha, Durban, and Namibia.
Price: From *R13,700 per person for an Ocean View Cabin and R22,400 per person for a Balcony Cabin.
12-day Cruise to Africa from Port Louis, Mauritius
Departing Port Louis, Mauritius on 25 February, the ship will visit 8 ports over 12 days, including Réunion, Madagascar, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Richards Bay and Cape Town.
Price: From *R22 742 per person for an Inside Cabin and R37 227 for a Balcony Cabin.
21-day Cruise to Africa from Cape Town
Departing from Cape Town on 20 March 2024, the ship will visit 12 ports over 21 days, including Namibia, Angola, Cote D’Ivoire, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Canary Islands and Spain.
Price: From *R39,900 per person for an Ocean View Cabin (Balcony Cabins are sold out).
2025/26 Cruise Season
NCL has curated a selection of exotic and port-intensive Africa sailings for Norwegian Dawn starting in November 2025 through March 2026. The cruise will feature multiple destinations, including Cape Town, Mauritius, and Qatar. The season begins on November 2, 2025, with a 21-day repositioning cruise from Barcelona, Spain to Cape Town, calling at sought-after destinations including Santa Maria in Cape Verde, Casablanca, and Agadir in Morocco.
Due to popular demand for more open-jaw voyages starting and ending in Cape Town and Port Louis in Mauritius, NCL is offering four 12-day sailings calling at popular ports such as Antsiranana and Nosy Be in Madagascar, as well as an overnight stay in Richard’s Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. Here, guests can opt to explore the local wildlife through a safari tour, learn about South African history, or enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Aklantstrand Beach.
Tapping into the South African Market
The NCL team explained that South African travellers did not want an ‘off the rack’ holiday but yearn for unique experiences that allow them to delve deeper into a destination.
“South African guests who prefer to stay close to home and explore South Africa and surrounding countries from the sea can experience contemporary cruising with departures from Cape Town.
“In contrast to the first South Africa season in 2022/2023, NCL has diversified itineraries. South Africa is an important and growing market for NCL. NCL is committed to the South African market and giving travellers more choice for cruise holidays,” they revealed in a statement.
Adding Some Romance
NCL is the ideal romantic getaway for couples looking to set their own pace together. Think breathtaking seascapes and coastline views, couples’ massage and adults-only Thermal Suite boasting saunas, vitality pools and panoramic ocean views.
Lovers can also spice up their itinerary with dance classes, karaoke, thrilling shows at Norwegian Dawn’s Stardust Theatre, and epic sunsets.
For more information on NCL, visit www.ncl.com/no/en/