The port of Mombasa yesterday welcomed its first cruise ship this year with 576 tourists and 386 crew on board. Norwegian-owned luxurious vessel, MV Nautica, docked at the port at 7am from Zanzibar before heading to Seychelles with visitors from different countries.
The vessel arrived barely three weeks after American-owned MV Silver Spirit, operated by Silver Sea Cruise Liners, made its maiden voyage at Mombasa Port. The visitors included tourists from the US, UK, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, France, Ireland, Netherlands and Italy. The tourists were expected to visit national parks and excursion in Mombasa and Kwale counties during their two-day stay.
KPA corporate communications officer Hajj Masemo said MV Nautica brings the number of cruise ships which called at the port last year to four while more than 4,000 tourists and crew have visited the country.
“This is the third ship to arrive since the high season kicked off in October last year and we expect three more by March this year. The tourists are going to tour different tourist destinations before departing to Zanzibar,” said Masemo.
Stakeholders in the sector attribute the increased cruise tourism as a result of prevailing piece experienced especially after the end of the General Election. They are optimistic that the sector will keep the momentum even after end-of-year holiday festivities if the calm enjoyed in Mombasa and its environs is sustained.
Major Coast hotels were registering 100 per cent bookings for Christmas and New Year celebrations as local and international visitors flocked to the tourist destination for the festivities. In October, tourism got a boost when an Omani royal yacht arrived at the port of Mombasa with more than 300 passengers.It was the first time the local port received a royal vessel.