Neighbourhood News Update: Historic Moment as Two Cunard Queens Simultaneously Grace Port of Cape Town



For the very first time, two of Cunard Cruises’ Queens, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria, will grace the same African port simultaneously.

  • Queen Mary 2 arrives in Cape Town on the 11th of April as the final destination port of her 30-day one-way trip from Hong Kong to Cape Town.
  • Queen Victoria arrives in Cape Town on the 12th of April as part of her 55-day one-way trip from Sydney to Southampton, England.

For the first time in African maritime history, two of the iconic Cunard Queens, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will make a simultaneous appearance at the Port of Cape Town. This unprecedented event is a monumental milestone not only for the Port but also for Cruise Cape Town, the public-private partnership dedicated to nurturing the cruise economy and sustainability of the industry in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Cruise Cape Town, powered by Wesgro, and in collaboration with esteemed partners including the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, Transnet Ports Authority, the V&A Waterfront, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), has been steadfast in its efforts to bolster competitiveness, drive economic growth, and generate employment opportunities within the cruise sector for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Queen Mary 2, concluding her 30-day voyage from Hong Kong, will undertake a turnaround call in Cape Town, facilitating the disembarkation and embarkation of passengers for her next voyage bound for New York, USA. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria, on a 55-day journey from Sydney to Southampton, will also make a brief stopover in Cape Town for a turnaround call before continuing her voyage to Walvis Bay, Namibia.

The economic significance of this unprecedented event cannot be overstated. The cruise industry has emerged as a significant contributor to the Western Cape economy, with the 2022/23 season alone generating R1.2 billion. This includes substantial contributions from international visitors, local spending, and cruise lines’ operational costs, highlighting the sector’s pivotal role in fostering economic growth and employment.

Each cruise ship visit translates into tangible economic benefits, with one full-time provincial job created for every 30 arriving cruise passengers. The current 2023/24 season is seeing 65 confirmed ship visits, attracting an estimated 90,000 two-way passengers and 38,000 crew members, underscoring the industry’s resilience and potential for further growth.

The profound impact of cruise tourism is evident, with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reporting that 63% of cruise passengers are likely to revisit destinations they have encountered through cruise tourism. The Port of Cape Town has experienced a remarkable surge in cruise visits, reflecting its burgeoning reputation as a premier cruise destination. From an average of 35-40 cruise visits per season between 2016-2019, the Port has seen a substantial increase, with 70 and 65 confirmed ship visits for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 cruise seasons respectively.

“We are immensely proud to welcome both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria to the Port of Cape Town. This historic occasion underscores Cape Town and the Western Cape’s growing stature as a premier cruise destination, reflecting the concerted efforts of all our partners in fostering the growth and sustainability of the industry,” said Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and Official Spokesperson for Cruise Cape Town.

“It is very exciting to be able to welcome both the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria at the same time for the first time to the Cape Town cruise terminal. This exciting occasion shows that tourism and cruise tourism is on the up in the Western Cape. This is great news because more tourists mean more jobs in the Province. With an expected 90 000 passengers in 2023/24 cruise season, and based on Wesgro’s estimates, we know that roughly 3 000 new permanent jobs have been created in this season alone. As the Western Cape Government, we will continue to partner with the private sector to continue on our path to enable the kind of breakout economic growth we need to help create many more jobs across this wonderful and sought after province we proudly call home,” said Provincial Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Mireille Wenger.

“The arrival of these two beloved ships in Cape Town signifies our growth in the cruise tourism market and our strength as a destination. The City is proud to stand alongside its partners in the Cruise Cape Town initiative in further bolstering our region’s profile as a destination of choice for cruise travellers from all over the world,” said Alderman James Vos, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

“This is a very significant occasion, marking an important milestone for cruise tourism in Cape Town in a season that’s confirming the continued growing popularity of our destination. Ship calls to Cape Town are showing healthy recovery, as are the passenger numbers we are processing through the terminal, all thanks to the work good work that all our stakeholders are contributing. We extend a warm welcome to our visitors during their stay in our city.” David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront, the operator of the Cape Town Cruise Terminal.

“TNPA is honoured to welcome the arrival of the two Cunard Cruises’ Queens, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria, as these iconic vessels gracefully docked in the port, marking a momentous occasion in the Port of Cape Town maritime history. The arrival of these prestigious vessels highlights the port’s significance as a premier destination for international cruise vessels and reflects TNPA’s ongoing commitment to providing exceptional maritime services and port services to local and international cruise vessels,” said Ophelia Shabane, Acting Port Manager at TNPA Port of Cape Town.

About Cruise Cape Town:

Cruise Cape Town, powered by Wesgro, is a strategic project dedicated to growing the cruise economy and sustainability of the cruise industry in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Comprising key stakeholders such as Wesgro, the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, Transnet Ports Authority, the V&A Waterfront, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Cruise Cape Town aims to enhance competitiveness, stimulate economic growth, and create employment opportunities in the province.