Cape Town (South Africa)

Cruise Port schedule, live map, terminals, news

Cape Town cruise port

Africa - Indian Ocean Islands

Local Time
2023-06-06 13:47

min: 49 °F (9 °C) / max: 62 °F (17 °C) 60°F
Wind: 319°/ 2.2 m/s  Gust: 3.8 m/sWind: 319°/ 2.2 m/s  Gust: 3.8 m/sLight breeze
2.2 m/s
Min / Max Temperature62 °F / 17 °C
49 °F / 10 °C
  Port Map

Cape Town is a port city in South Africa, which has one of the world’s most beautiful harbours. It is located at Table Bay, has total area approx 400 km2 (155 mi2) and population around 435,000 (metro over 1,74 million). The list of major cruise lines with seasonal homeporting in Cape Town includes MSC, NCL-Norwegian, Azamara, Crystal, Silversea, Hapag-Lloyd. 

Cape Town (South Africa) cruise port

Cape Town is South Africa's oldest city, legislative capital, country's 2nd-most populous metro area (following Johannesburg / 9,6+ million) and is best-known for its scenic harbor and the landmarks Cape Point and Table Mountain. Cape Town is Afrika's 10th largest city and one of world's most multicultural cities. In 2014, it was named "World Design Capital" by Icsid (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design).

The city was first developed by VOC (United East India Company, aka Dutch East India Company / 1602-1799) as a supply station for Dutch trade vessels to India, East Africa, and the Far East. On April 6, 1652, here was established South Africa's first permanent European settlement as an outpost (at Castle of Good Hope), which soon became Cape Colony's economic hub. Until Witwatersrand Gold Rush (1886) that resulted in Johannesburg's development, Cape Town was the country's largest town.

Port's cruise ship schedule has vessels booked for docking the whole year-round. The cruise port is also homeport (serving turnarounds/roundtrips) but mainly attractive embarkation and disembarkation port of call for seasonal relocation ( and Around the World voyages. Port Cape Town statistics show steady growth in cruise shipping volumes. In 2012, it handled 6050 passengers, in 2013 - 14754, in 2016 - 29269.

The local economy's main revenues from the cruise industry are crew and passenger ashore spending, cruise line-sponsored shore excursions/tours (staffing), cruise company spending (on vessel supplies and services), as well as in-port spending (ship repairs and maintenance). It was estimated that on relocation cruise itineraries stopping in South African ports, cruise tourists spend an average USD 100 pp on land-based activities, services and goods.

Cape Town City's water crisis began in 2015, resulting in severe water shortage in Western Cape but most notably affecting the city.

  • In response to the shortage, the region's agriculture reduced water consumption by 50%. This nationally contributed to job loss of 37,000 in the sector. Around 50,000 people were pushed below the poverty line due to job losses and food-price inflation.
  • Despite all water-saving measures, dam levels declined to critically low levels. The city planned its "Day Zero" on April 12, 2018, when most water supply will be shut off.
  • When "Day Zero" is declared (dam's water level reaches 13,5%), municipal water supplies will be switched off. The city's residents will rely on a total of 149 points to collect a daily water ration per person (25 liters pp). If this happens, Cape Town will become world's first-ever large city running out of water.

The decreased water usage and strong rains in June 2018 steadily increased dam levels (up to 70% in September 2018) and the city eased water restrictions. In May 2019, Cape Town's total dam storage was 45,9% or combined 411849 megalitres (out of max capacity 898221).

Port Cape Town's cargo and cruise shipping operations are managed by TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority). This is Africa's largest port authority company that manages 7 large seaports in South Africa - Cape Town, Durban, Richards BayEast LondonMossel Bay,  Port Elizabeth, and Saldanha.

Cape Town cruise terminal

Cape Town cruise port is located approx 220 km (140 mi) away from Cape Agulhas, direction northwest. Due to its strategical place on the route between the Dutch East Indies and Europe, the port was among the most important in the mid-17th century.

Cape Town cruise port terminal

Currently, Cape Town is one of the most interesting cruise ports of call in the world. The basins Victoria and Alfred are visited by smaller cruise ships. These used to be the port's main wharves located in the original harbour of Cape Town. Alfred Basin was the harbour's first section added, followed by the building of the Victoria Basin. Larger cruise ships berth at Duncan Dock. It has several multi-purpose terminals, also repair quay and a dry dock facility.

Cape Town cruise port map

The driving distance from the cruise port to downtown is ~10 minutes. Africa's second-largest airport - Cape Town International Airport, is located 22 km (14 mi) away from the city center. Other transportation options from and to the cruise port are bus shuttles, metered taxis, car rental services.

The next photo shows the old cruise terminal at "E Berth" (Duncan docks).

Cape Town cruise port terminal (Duncan docks)

(new) Cape Town Cruise Terminal (Waterfront)

In July 2015 was announced an agreement for building a new cruise ship terminal at Port Cape Town, built by TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) as the preferred bidder. The project's cost was around USD 14,5 million. The agreement included terminal facility maintenance, operation and transfer of ownership back to TNPA in 20 years after completion.

Cape Town cruise port terminal (Waterfront)

The plan for a new Waterfront passenger terminal was announced in 2012. The initial issue started when local cruise tourism started to decline after South Africa's Department of Home Affairs banned from docking at Waterfront vessels with LOA length over 200 m / 656 ft.

The Victoria and Alfred / ) V&A Waterfront investment will result in a new cruise ship terminal facility able to accommodate larger vessels. The new terminal facility will also create local jobs, will increase ship calls and strengthen the country's cruise industry as a whole. Until then, cruise ships are required to dock at Port Cape Town as first port of call based on a Directive from the Minister of Home Affairs (Immigration Act 13 of 2011).

South Africa's cruising season is October through April.

Cape Town tours, shore excursions, hotels

City Tours and Shore Excursions

  • Table Mountain: provides great views of Cape Town from 1076 m above sea level. You can use a cable car or the Platteklip Gorge.
  • Robben Island (UNESCO site) is located 12 km away from Cape Town and is accessible via new regularly-scheduled catamaran ferry service (provided by V&A Waterfront). At V&A Waterfront you will find restaurants, boutiques, markets and various entertainment facilities - all surrounded by Table Mountain.
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: discover the stunning beauty of the flora in the Western Cape.
  • Boulders Beach (Penguin Colony): discover those marine birds in their natural environment.
  • Cape Wine Routes: the region is famous with its wine from world-class. You will have the opportunity to tour the Cape Winelands and taste the wonderful flavors.
  • West Coast National Park: discover local species of birds and wildflowers while looking at the ocean.
  • Cape Whale Coast: explore South Africa’s natural wonders. Watch whales and charming villages like Gansbaai and Hermanus.
  • The Cango Caves: fissures with massive sizes extending to impressive depths.
  • Montebello Craft and Design Centre
  • St George’s Cathedral and Groote Kerk
  • Muizenberg
  • Amy Biehl Memorial

Port Cape Town cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Cape Town, South Africa. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.

5 June, 2023
AmaWaterways Cruises cruise lineZambezi Queen
12 June, 2023
AmaWaterways Cruises cruise lineZambezi Queen

Cape Town - user reviews and comments

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