MSC Orchestra arrives in Seychelles, second cruise ship this season
The vessel arrived with 1,642 passengers and 800 crew, although its total capacity is 3,100. (Rita Joubert Lawen)
Seychelles' Port Victoria welcomed on Wednesday a second cruise ship, MSC Orchestra, since the opening of the 2022/2023 season in mid-October.
With the lifting and relaxing of restriction measures by the Public Health Authority (PHA), the vessel arrived with 1,642 passengers and 800 crew, although its total capacity is 3,100.
The cruise ship has an overall length of 294 metres and is one of the longest cruise ships to have ever berthed at Port Victoria. Since she will occupy almost the entire length of the Mahe Quay, a berth management plan has been put in place to ensure normal port operations. The MSC Orchestra will depart Port Victoria on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. for Mauritius.
Tourism is the top contributor to Seychelles' economy and the arrival of the cruise ships this season is expected to bring in additional revenue.
The owner of Seydiscovery Tours, Michael Thomas, told the SNA that the fact that the passengers on cruise ships have very limited time to spend in the country means they are willing to spend as soon as they get off the vessel.
"If they were spending more days in the country, then it's a different story, they take time before making a decision on what to purchase," he explained.
With the lifting and relaxing of some restriction measures by the Public Health Authority, MSC Orchestra's arrival in Port Victoria brings about the largest group of visitors to the archipelago in two years.
As MSC Orchestra is only the second cruise ship to visit the port for this season, vendors have yet to give a definite reaction as to how this will affect their bottom line.
Although Thomas said that MSC Orchestra's arrival is at an opportune time as over the last few months visitors had been reluctant to spend when they came to the country.
"Now, despite the war in Ukraine and other uncertainties in the world, I have seen an improvement in the way the visitors are spending their money," he said.
For businesses operating at the port for the arrival of the cruise ship this year, new areas have been demarcated to cater to vendors, taxis, destination management companies and other operators that will need access to the port itself.
Vendors were unwilling to comment on the new arrangement which means they are selling their products outside the port instead of inside like it was done in the past.