(1:10 p.m. EDT) -- Often times, there are fascinating tidbits of cruise goodness that don’t make it into our full-fledged coverage.
Here are a few noteworthy items that cruisers should know about in this week's edition of Cruise News Roundup:
Azamara Unveils Cruises from South Africa This Winter
Azamara is charting a course for South Africa this winter, unveiling six back-to-back voyages aboard Azamara Pursuit that will also restart the company's pre-and-post-cruise land explorations with leading safari operator, Micato Safaris.
The sailings, which depart roundtrip from Cape Town, are country-intensive itineraries that offer passengers the opportunity to explore South Africa's unique destinations and wild landscapes during port calls that include a total of 16 late-night calls and 11 overnight stays throughout the season.
Azamara Pursuit's new South African adventures are possible thanks to the reopening of international cruise tourism in the region. A special 12-night Golf-themed voyage, and excursions curated in conjunction with Abercrombie & Kent.
Passengers are also able to choose from a wide array of pre-and-post cruise extensions offered in conjunction with Micato Safaris, including visits to Victoria Falls and Chobe Game Park, or a journey to Greater Kruger National Park and the country's Western Cape wine region.
“A trip to Africa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the kind of travel Azamara is known for, which is why I am so pleased to confirm our guests are now welcome back to South Africa following the reopening of its ports to international cruising,” says Azamara President, Carol Cabezas. “Once again Micato Safaris will deliver unrivaled pre-and post-cruise land programs, as they share Azamara’s love of travel, exploration and value of creating one-of-a-kind experiences for travelers.”
Azamara Pursuit's winter South African voyages are now available for booking.
Jamaica Prepares to Welcome Carnival, Royal Caribbean Back to Its Shores
Jamaica is preparing to welcome ships from Carnival and Royal Caribbean back to its shores, having just reopened to cruise traffic last month.
The country is expecting over 110 visits from Carnival Cruise Line vessels between October 2021 and April 2022, and visits from Royal Caribbean vessels beginning in November as cruises to the Caribbean ramp up for the traditional winter season and fleet restarts continue to grow.
Jamaica is home to several popular ports of call on many Western Caribbean itineraries, including Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Passengers travelling to the country prize destinations like
“Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean are critical partners for Jamaica’s tourism sector. In addition to the destination’s wider economic recovery,” said Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett, in a statement. “We are seeing a welcome return of vessels with the recognition that Jamaica’s Resilient Corridors offer a safe environment for our visitors, tourism workers and the general population. The world has taken note of Jamaica’s protocols being implemented safely and effectively, as these plans clearly demonstrate.”
Bartlett said the return of cruise ships to Jamaican shores marks steady growth for the island nation towards pre-COVID-19 tourism levels. Local officials had been meeting with cruise executives to ensure a safe return of cruise vessels to Jamaica in time for the popular winter Caribbean cruise season.
MSC Restarts Cruises in Brazil, South Africa
MSC has received approval to restart its popular cruises in South America and South Africa after a pause lasting nearly two years due to the COVID-19 health pandemic.
MSC confirmed it will send three ships -- MSC Preziosa, MSC Seaside and MSC Splendida -- to operate cruises from Brazil. The ships, which will offer itineraries between November 2021 and March 2022, will be the latest in the MSC Cruises fleet to restart operations.
MSC Seaside, which was formerly based in Miami prior to the pandemic, will make its inaugural season in Brazil this year, homeporting in Santos (Sao Paulo), and Salvador, Brazil, noted for its Afro-Brazilian culture and Portuguese-influenced architecture. s
Like Azamara above, MSC has also been granted approval to restart cruise operations in South Africa. Exact deployment and itinerary plans are still being drawn up for those voyages, which in the past have traditionally operated from Cape Town to sail the eastern shores of the country, venturing as far north as Maputo, Mozambique.
MSC will announce full deployment details of its South African cruises for the 2021-2022 season in the coming weeks. Select itineraries departing from South America are available for booking immediately.