(11:30 a.m. EST) -- Cruise passengers visiting Cape Town this winter will be deprived of the experience of one of the most famous quaysides in the world, the historic Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (V&A), with Table Mountain as a backdrop.
Instead, cruise ships will be berthed at Duncan Dock, a taxi or shuttle ride along the coast, where they will share space with the Port of Cape Town's fruit terminal, dry dock, repair quay and tanker basin.
The reason? A clampdown on security by South Africa's Department of Home Affairs, according to local Web site Times Live
. What this security threat consists of is unclear, although the report does speculate that the V&A Waterfront's Number Two Jetty, which has been used by cruise ships for years, is suddenly no longer considered by the authorities to be a valid entry point to South Africa.
Duncan Dock is already used by large cruise ships, but only those over 200 metres in length (Queen Mary 2
and P&O Cruises
, for example, both of which are visiting shortly). Now all ships, including Silversea
's Silver Wind
and Silver Whisper
, Seabourn Quest
and National Geographic Explorer
, all due in Cape Town over the next few weeks, will have to berth here.
The consequence for cruise passengers, a less attractive view aside, is that it is not possible to walk from Duncan Dock to the V&A Waterfront, location of more than 80 restaurants and 450 shops. Instead, they will have to take a taxi or the cruise line's shuttle. The V&A Waterfront could lose out, too: According to the Times Live report, some 18,000 cruise passengers visited the area in 2011, stepping straight off ships berthed there into midst of the tourist area.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor