WALIVS Bay has been a hive of festive activity as thousands of tourists stepped ashore from three luxury cruise liners that docked in port over the course of a week.
The first to dock over the weekend was the Artania and on Tuesday it was the turn of the MSC Orchestra that discharged lines of people eager to explore the tourist attractions of the Namib Desert.
A third ship the AIDA Mira docked in port on her return trip from South Africa earlier on Thursday morning with a new batch of passengers that took advantage of the pleasant summer weather currently prevailing at the coast.
On Tuesday about 3100 passengers disembarked from the MSC Orchestra alone. A large portion of the passengers chose to explore Walvis Bay on foot which meant that local businesses and formal tour operators received a healthy financial injection.
Curio sellers, taxi drivers and tour guides that sell walking tours through the various parts of the harbour town, also made good business from the hundreds of curious visitors.
The Namibian Police along with the municipal traffic department kept a watchful eye over the visitor to ensure that those elements with criminal intent were kept at bay.
Some of the holiday makers conveyed how happy and impressed they were with the welcoming spirit displayed by the Namport staff members and other tourist operators.
According to a statement issued by the Namibian Ports Authority, the Managing Director of MSC, Ross Volk, said during presentation on-board the Orchestra that Namibia should be ready to host more of the MSC vessels as Namibia is fast developing into a favourable tourism hub.
“From next season we will have two vessels based in Southern Africa, one catering for the east coast and the other for the west coast. So, instead of us only having two or three calls in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, we will increase the number of calls from Cape Town to 22”.
Namport’s Port Captain, Lukas Kufuna said during the presentation that Namibia is strategically positioned and with the services of the newly built passenger jetty, Namport as the country’s ports authority is working at ensuring that all vessels enjoy a safe passage in the Namibian waters and that all visitors are given the opportunity of appreciating all that Namibia has to offer”.
Since the beginning of this year Namport has welcomed more 6 000 passengers disembarking from the cruise liners. The ports authority expects to welcome four more vessels for the remainder of January.
Like the AIDA Mira that docked in the port for a second time on Tuesday the MSC Orchestra is expected call at the Port of Walvis Bay in a week’s time and again in April this year.