(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' Arcadia, 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