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Grand Voyages Cruises from Cape Town to England

Cape Town is a popular touch-point for world cruises, which provides South Africans with the option of booking an epic cruise on the route to or from the Cape. In addition there are the value for money repositioning cruises of the MSC Sinfonia and the MSC Orchestra, at the start and end of SA's summer cruise season.

Current Cruises


Previous Cruises:

We maintain a list of the previous long cruises that have departed from Cape Town.

  • 23 April 2018 to 10 May 2018: Q715: Cunard cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, on the Queen Elizabeth . Stops at Walvis Bay, Tenerife, Madeira.

  • 20 April 2017 to 8 May 2017: Q715: Cunard cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, on the Queen Elizabeth . Stops at Walvis Bay, Mindelo, Tenerife, Madeira.

  • 25 March to 18 April 2015 : M503 : Cunard cruise from Sydney to Cape Town, on the Queen Mary 2. Stops at Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Mauritius.

  • 28 March to 16 April 2015 : OP041 : MSC Cruise from Cape Town to Venice on the MSC Opera. Stops at Jamestown, Arrecife de Lanzarote, Cadiz, Valetta, Corfu and Dubrovnik.

  • 18 April to 3 May 2015 : M503 : Cunard cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, England, on the Queen Mary 2. Stops at Walvis Bay, Gran Canaria and Madeira.

  • 6 to 28 May 2016 : SI : MSC Cruise from Cape Town to Venice on the MSC Sinfonia. Stops at Walvis Bay, Dakar, Las Palmas de G.Canaria, Tangier, Valleta, Dubrovnik and Ancona.


For the 2017/2018 season, the Cunard Queen Elizabeth will depart from Cape Town and visit exciting destinations Walvis Bay, Mindelo, Tenerife, Madeira, before arriving at Southampton, England.

CUNARD QUEEN ELIZABETH - Cape Town to Southampton, UK

ITIN: 18 days - 17 nights long voyage
23 Apr - 10 May 2018
Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Mindelo, Tenerife, Madeira, Southampton
Cape Town, South Africa
At Sea
Walvis Bay, Namibia
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
Madeira, Portugal
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
Southampton, UK

Southampton, United Kingdom

The final day of the cruise and it is time for high tea in Southampton. Southampton is the largest city in England and only 121km away from London, allowing passengers who decide to stay longer to travel to London for the day.


Passengers can visit a number of museums including the Southampton Maritime Museum and the Sea City Museum that focus on the history of the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Titanic.

Theatre lovers can visit the largest Theatre in Southern England with a capacity of 2300 people, the Mayflower Theatre. West End shows like Les Miserables �and the ever popular The Rocky Horror Show are only two examples of well known shows that played at the Mayflower. Below is the trailer of STOMP performed at the Mayflower:

Art Lovers have the choice of hundreds of art galleries to visit while music junkies can follow the roots of popular artists and bands like Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Amy Winehouse at a wide number of music museums and venues around town.

Ijmuiden, Netherlands

When cruising, Ijmuiden in Holland, is the gateway to the Netherlands. It is located on the mouth of the North Sea Canal, flowing towards Amsterdam. The northern lock is the most recent and begun in 1919 and finished in 1930. This 400m long lock is 40m wide and 15m deep.

Ijmuiden arial view Ijmuiden locks
Arial view of Ijmuiden
Locks at the harbour to control water flow

Ijmuiden dates back to 1876 when the North Sea Canal was first opened. This new settlement was named Ijmuiden (mouth of the IJ) by King Willem III and soon expanded due to the fishing and shipping industries.

Today it is a typical seaside town and very popular to soak in the sun on their beaches. And water means that there is lots of opportunity for the water sports enthusiasts! Especially with the new Seaport Marina lying to the Ijmuiden beach. It also has an attractive and bustling promenade where tourists can enjoy good shopping and eat out. Not to forget the amazing yachts in the marina, that will make any boat lover’s heart beat faster.

What is very interesting is that with the North Sea Locks, the passage of water between the sea and the canal can be controlled and it is the largest in the world.


The best way to explore the Netherlands is by bike, and of cause Ijmuiden is no exception. After sitting all day on a cruise ship, it's a good way to get some exercise! Visit the beautiful National Park South Kennemerland and observe the variety of animals and plants on the dunes. There are deer, horses and even bison in this park. TOP TIP: If you're not keen on peddling all the way, rent an e-bike from Dutch Pedelec Tours.

Ijmuiden Light Houses Map of Ijmuiden and surrounding areas
Light houses in Ijmuiden
Map of Ijmuiden and surrounding areas

You can check out the sites with light houses and museums. One of the light houses dates back from 1878, founded by Quirinus Harder. This light house is the closest to the sea. There is also a 2nd light house and these 2 light houses create the centre line to the Northsea waterway to the Ijmuiden harbour and entrance. The old Ijmuiden water tower has a hight of 43 meters and can take a capacity of 2500 cubical meters. It dates back from 1915.

If you like war history, you might want to check out the Bunker museum. Ijmuiden with its canal entrance to Amsterdam was the key point of defence and hosts some memories of the soldiers that served there.

Bunker Museum National Park South Kennemerland
Bunker Museum
National Park South Kennemerland


Ijmuiden has an excellent tourist information agency called the VVV. They are located inside the library or you can call them on 020 702 6000. They will be able to help with assisting in your hotel bookings, maps of Ijmuiden and the surrounding area’s and also with booking any activities and excursions.
Ijmuiden has a variety from budget accommodation to 4 or 5 star hotels.

Getting around:

You can take the “Fast Ferry” from Ijmuiden through the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam – Waterplein West, which only takes about half an hour. Busses also run from Ijmuiden to Haarlem, from where additional busses and trains run services to Amsterdam and other destinations.

Ijmuiden Ferry Ijmuiden pier
High Speed Ferry from Ijmuiden harbour to surrounding areas
Fisherman at Ijmuiden pier

Le Havre, France

Le Havre is located in Northern France, and is a port city that lies on the right bank at the mouth of the river Seine, across the English Channel. The word Le Havre means “the harbor” in French.  It has always been a very busy harbor, as it’s the gateway to Paris. So all imported good for Paris will be transported via Le Havre.

It was founded as a port in October 1517. At the end of the 18th century Le Havre started growing, when they started trading internationally and especially when it took part in the slave trade. During the war or as know as the “battle of Normandy”, the city was heavily bombed in 1944. It was reconstructed between 1945 and 1964, by using concrete and the city was booming, but when the golden age of passenger ocean liners ended in 1970, the city went into an economic crisis. However, the city fought for itself and many changes occurred during a 10 year period between 1990 and 2000 to restore its former glory. The port was transformed and successfully brought back the ocean liners. In 2005, UNESCO including Le Havre as a World Heritage Site.

Le havre harbour Le Havre port
Le Havre harbour

Getting around
The centre of town is easily accessible on foot or you can take the local bus service to get around in town. Even to get to the train station or ferry port are only a short walk from the centre of town. Another great thing for exploring, is to rent a bike at the tourist office for only a few Euro’s.
Le Havre has a new tramway system that was build and opened in 2012 with 23 stations and a 23km track. It connects the beach to the upper town station, through a tunnel and then splits into two, to Mont-Gaillard and Caucriauville.

Places to see
The St Joseph  Church was one of the projects personally designed by Auguste Perret, with its tall tower and beautiful coloured glass.

Malraux Museum, has the largest Impressionist collected outside of Paris. Maison de l’Armateur , constructed in the 18th century, is one of the very few old houses that were not destroyed during WWII. Over the last forty years of his life, Malraux would assemble, disassemble, and reassemble montages of photographic reproductions to create Le Musée imaginaire, which ranks as one the twentieth century’s seminal manifestations of the archive. 

Also the Museum d’histoire naturelle is one of the buildings that miraculously survived the bombings. The St Vincent village district close to the beach also survived and will give you a feeling of a quaint French little village. Remember to be there on the 1st Sunday after the 15th August every year, to see a traditional parade with flowered floats, people in costumes, music and lots more! Le Havre also holds a Fisherman’s Festival every year on the 1st weekend of September. There is absolutely lot’s to see and do in Le Havre.

Maison de l’Armateur
Maison de l’Armateur

A selection of restaurant can be found all over the city, and Quartier St-Francois also offers you a variety of restaurants in different styles, prices and nationality.  Typical markets are in Montivilliers, every Thursday morning, and in Harfleur every Sunday morning.

St Vincent Church St Joseph Church
St Vincent Church
St Joseph Church

Places to stay

Many affordable hotels can be found around the station. Or you can visit the tourist office along the beach to get more information on a variety of hotels or guest houses.  From the Formula 1, outside the city to 3 or 4 star hotels like, The Casino, Vent d’Ouest (opposite the St Joseph Church), Novotel (the station), Mecure (between the station and city centre) and many others.

Le Havre, a city of contrasts between the old and the new, but a city that has learned to live.

Ijmuiden Ferry Le Havre historical town
Quartier St Francois ("St Francois Neighbourhood")
Historical town of Le Havre

Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao has a history growing up as a heavy industrial town, but luckily a few smart investors saw it's potential and with the creation of the Museo Guggenheim and other arty attractions, culture lovers assemble to visit beautiful old museums and galleries in Bilbao.

Basque Beach Walkway Bilbao Beaches
Walkway next to Bilbao beach
Bilbao Beaches
Art Galleries and Museums

All that glitters is Museo Guggenheim. Designed by America architect, you can't miss this iconical chrome and metal museum that boasts large collection of modern and contemporary art. His next-door neighbour (only a 5mins away), is the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes). The smaller brother is earning international recognition for it's Spanish and Basque paintings and sculptures that's adding up to a fairly rich collection, hosting an range of anything from Gothic sculptures to 20th-century pop art. Other museum worth popping a visit to is the Euskal Museoa or the Museo Marítimo Ría de Bilbao (maritime museum).

Museo Guggenheim Museo de Belles Artes
Museo Guggenheim
Museo de Belles Artes
Casco Viejo

In the charming streets of this atmospheric Old Town, you can find an abudance of small bars, quirky shops, a Sunday-morning fleamarket, second-hand stalls, pet shops, street performers and children playing. Things/places to see: 14th-century Gothic Catedral de Santiago, Plaza Nueva (arcade) for some Basque tapas and a flower market nearby Plaza del Arenal. This market is slightly quieter in winter. but still a must-do.

Casco Viejo Tranporter Bridge of Casco Viejo
Charming streets of Casco Viejo
Transporter Bridge of Bizkaia near Casco Viejo, a much loved icon for the locals and still in use today.
Other things to do and see

A great way to see all of the city in it's full glory and to learn about it's history, is to do the Bilbao City Hop-on Hop-off Tour (with guided audio). Wine lovers would enjoy a visit to the famous Rioja Wine region while here in Spain. There is wine tasting at a traditional wine cellar and a guided tour of the vineyards and unique medieval village of Laguardia available.

Casco Viejo Arial View Rioja Wine Region
Basque Coast that lines Bilbao
Rioja Wine Region

Lisbon, Portugal

Next up, the MSC Opera will stop at Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Not only is Lisbon the largest city in Portugal, it also operates the largest container storage port on the Atlantic coast of Europe. Passengers will have the opportunity to explore one of the oldest cities in the world (older than London and even Rome) and visit places like the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery.

Funchal, Portugal

Funchal is the capital and largest city of Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago off the coast of Portugal and Morocco, just under 400km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands. It was declared a city in the 1500’s after being discovered by Portuguese sailors and became important point between the old and new worlds. Funchal is acclaimed for it’d Madeira wine, sugar and white gold, crafts, flowers, landscapes and pleasant temperatures. It’s a great spot to watch fireworks on New Year, as it was recognised by Guinness World Records as having the largest show during that time. It’s a popular stopover for transatlantic and commercial cruises between North Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

Funchal Arial View
Funchal Pebble Beach
Arial view of Funchal, towards the East
Funchal Pebble Beach

Funchal has a mild subtropical climate with appealing temperatures all year round. While stopping over there, it is likely that the weather will allow for a scenic excursion, taking a cheap taxi to one of the beaches or visiting a botanical garden. The old town features some cathedrals and historical buildings. In a market in Funchal you’re bound to find an abundance of fresh fruit and flowers, sending an intoxicating sweet smell into the air.

Sé Cathedral interior
Colegio Church
Sé Cathedral interior
Colegio Church
Botanical garden, Madeira Monte Palace Hotel Gardens
Botanical garden, Madeira
Monte Palace Hotel Gardens
Funchal Arial View Funchal Beach
Arial view of Funchal, towards the East View
Funchal Beach
Street in Funchal Funchal Old Town
Colorful doors in a street in Funchal
Funchal Old Town

Mindelo, Cape Verde

Mindelo Harbour
Mindelo Harbour

Mindelo is situated in northern part of the island of São Vicente in Cape Verde. 93% of the entire city’s population lives in this port city. The town is famous for it’s animated and colourful carnivals. These celebrations are embodied by the island’s Portuguese traditions and Brazilian roots. The cobblestone streets, brightly coloured colonial buildings and boats resting in the harbour is reminiscent of the Riviera and as  the cultural centre of the island, Mindelo produced a fair amount of musicians and poets. You can check out some of the trendy bistros and bars in town

Pont d'Agua harbour view
Mercado Municipal Mindelo
Pont d'Agua
Mercado Municipal

Grab a drink at a modern-looking new complex at Pont D'Augua, lined palm trees, a swimming pool, upscale restaurants, spa and shops to browse. Best way to get a good view of the harbour and soak up the serenity. Next, move on to Mercado Municipal. This local shopping area dates back from 1784, now a restored food market with 2 levels, spotting some authenticly dressed vendors selling herbs and produce from the local farms. The fish market, just beyond the Torre de Belémhas, has the catch of the day on display, while others have the basics like candy, chocolates and cigarettes.

Fish market Mindelo
Mindelo Street Vendor
Fish Market
Vendor on street selling candy and cigarettes

An electric atmosphere fill the town during the time close to Ash Wednesday (beginning of March) as local districts parade around in fancy dress and feathers to compete for the title of having the best street float. The colorful culture is seen in the flamboyant costumes and the beat of the music reflects the spontaneous nature of the locals.

Mindelo Carnival
Cape Verde carnival
Locals celebrating the Cape Verde carnivals

Walvis Bay, Namibia

The first stop for passengers will be at Walvis Bay. Walvis Bay has the only natural harbour on the Coast of Namibia and with a rich marine life passengers should be on the lookout for whales while docked in Walvis Bay. Not only is Walvis Bay perfect for whale watching, but is also truly a bird watcher's paradise. There are a host of activities to partake in. Passengers can explore the dunes, salt works and the Walvis Bay Museum, just to mention a few.
Read more about Walvis Bay here.


Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is known for its culture, friendly people and of course, Table Mountain. Millions of people visit Cape Town on a yearly basis and keep coming back for more, cause there is SO MUCH TO DO, all set against the enchanting Table mountain. Passengers can go for a hike on Table mountain, sundowners in Camps Bay or a picnic in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Have a look at our list of Cape Town Day Trips.

View of Cape Town
View of Cape Town
Camps Bay V&C Waterfront
Camps Bay
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Watch the sunset sipping cocktails and have some tapas at one of the trendy street cafe's. Cafe Caprice, Bungalow and Twelve Apostles Hotel (en route to Camps Bay) is worth checking out.

After shopping, have dinner at the waterfront while enjoying some local entertainment

Muizenberg Lion's Head
Colourful houses at Muizenberg
Lion's Head

Grab coffee and a croissant at Knead and take a stroll on the beach to watch young and old learn how to surf.

Table Mountain would be the natural choice for first-time visitors, but if you feel like doing something different, get up early and watch the sunrise from Lion's Head or do a (full) moonlight hike up.

Boulders Beach Simonstown Main Street
Boulders Beach
Simonstown main street

TIA. Yes, you can swim at Boulders Nature Reserve with the penguins a few feet away. Try going during the week, as there are less people to chase them away

Take the train to Simonstown - the cheapest way to get the most of the scenic views. Once there, you can try some seafood at Bertha’s Restaurant, Salty Sea Dog, Seaforth Restaurant or the Tibetan Teahouse.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Groot Constantia Vineyards Groot Constantia Architecture
Groot Constantia

Taste some award-winning wines and explore the history of the first vineyard in South Africa.

Kalk Bay Colourful Boats Hout Bay Market
Kalk Bay
Hout Bay

Go shopping at one of the many bohemian shops and stroll around this trendy fishing village, ending upw with some fish and chips at the harbour.

Visit the Hout Bay Market early on a Saturday morning for anything from eggs Benedict to champagne and oysters. With the 100+ food, craft and fashion stalls, live music and more than nine draught beers on tap, customers are spoilt for choice.

Long Street Royale Eatery
Long street
Royale Eatery, Long street (great burgers!)

A must see. Do some restaurant and bar hopping in the hub of Cape Town's night life scene. Places to check out: Zula Sound bar, Dubliner, The Waiting Room and Sgt Pepper.

Two Oceans Aquarium Labia Theatre
The Two Oceans Aquarium
The Labia Theatre

More than 88 species to see. Adults R125, Teens 14-17 years R97, Children 4-13 years R60, Children 4 and under free, South African pensioner/student R97.

The Labia Theatre is the oldest Independent Art-Repertory Cinema in South Africa. For the more "sophisticated, there's a choice of independent movies, foreign films, historical cinema and other alternative and art circuit films.

Kloof Street Hudsons Rafiki's
Kloof street

After you've popped a visit to Long street and it's touristy spots, eclectic Kloof street is the perfect place to observe how the locals like to wine and dine. Check out: Café Paradiso, Yours Truly, Hudson's Burger joint, Rafiki's, Jackal and Hide, Bombay Bicycle Club. At night, Van Hunks is the place where you'll find everyone having a few beers before heading off to Long street for the after party.

Woodstock Street Art Graffiti in Woodstock Woodstock Art

Check out some local street art in previously run-down industrial Woodstock, now sporting quirky and vibrant shops and restaurants. The Neighbourhood Market at Old Biscuit Mill is worth visiting on a Saturday.

Seapoint Promenade   Promenade Seaview

After a big lunch (and afternoon nap), Seapoint is the best place to go for an afternoon stroll. Joggers amass for a light run along the promenade and many visitors grab their cameras to take in the sunset.


Travel Documents and Currency

All passengers will be required to sail with valid passports and South African Citizens will be required to present their South African passport to exit and enter South Africa. No ID Documents, driver's licences or copies of passports will be accepted. Passengers failing to present the correct documentation will be denied boarding the ship. All non-South African Citizens must have their permanent residence endorsed in their passport.


The information contained here is to be used as a guideline only (refer to the relevant Embassy/Consulate to ensure that you have the most current information in relation to travel documentation required to enter any port at which the cruise ship is scheduled to stop).

MSC Opera

Tue, Oct 07, 2014

Tue, Oct 28, 2014

21 nights

Southampton, IJmuiden, Le Havre, Bilbao, Lisbon, Funchal, Mindelo, Walvis Bay, Cape Town

EUROPE – Southampton (UNITED KINGDOM), Le Havre (FRANCE), Bilbao (Spain), Lisbon (PORTUGAL), Funchal (PORTUGAL)

Visa information:
- A multiple entry, short stay Schengen Visa will be required by South African Passport holders.
The country of your longest stay will issue your Schengen visa. Only if your stay in the Schengen states is the same number of days in each country would you apply through the country of the first port of entry. A UK visa is required for South African Passport holders to enter the United Kingdom.

CAPE VERDE - Mindelo

Visa information:
- South African Passport holders can get a visa on arrival for around 25 € (R350) and it's valid for 90 days.

NAMIBIA – Walvis Bay

Visa information
- South African and British passport holders do not require a visa for Namibia.
Health Requirements
- Required Vaccination: There are no official Health requirements for Namibia
Currency: The official currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD). Its' value is equivalent to the South African Rand
(also accepted as legal currency in Namibia).Major credit cards are accepted.
Travellers Cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at any bank or bureau de change.
ATM's are available in larger towns only.

The information contained herein is intended as a guide only and confirmed correct at the time of compilation. The final responsibility rests with the passenger to ensure that all Travel and Health Documents are in order and are obtained timeously. Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travelers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

Destinations from Previous Seasons

Here's some ports of call from previous seasons, but which are not being stopped at in the 2014/2015 season.

Dakar, Senegal

Dakar is the largest city of Senegal and the most Western City in Africa. Dakar's harbour and airports are popular, as the city serves as an important link for trade between Europe and Africa and America. Passengers can look forward to visiting a wide selection of markets, the Grand Mosque, Dakar Cathedral and the African Renaissance Monument. A walk on one of the breathtaking beaches or a drive to the Zoo is also something to place high on your “To do” list.


Visa information
- Visas are not required for S.A passports holders visiting Senegal. British Passport holders to check with the Embassy
Health Requirements
- Yellow Fever Certificate. If you book a shore excursion with MSC, you won't officially need a Yellow Fever Certificate; if you get off the ship and travel on your own, you will need a certificate.
The official currency is the West African CFA Franc (XOF). Credit cards are accepted only by major establishments catering to the tourist trade, with American Express being the most widely accepted (commission is charged) There are ATM's in Dakar, and travellers cheques can also be cashed in Dakar.

Cherbourg, France

The last place to visit before the Opera arrives in Southampton is Cherbourg in France. Food, wine and cultural events will welcome passengers to this beautiful city. Passengers can visit the La Glacerie Race Track, The Cité de la Mar Museum and Le Trident Theatre. Have a look at this picture slide show:
Read more about Cherbourg, France here.

Vigo, Spain


Get ready for Spanish dances and castanets, as the next place of visit will be Vigo in Spain. Vigo is known for its music and punk bands like Siniestro Total and Os Resentidos were born here. The award-winning movie “Mondays in the Sun” was shot in Vigo. With all this culture and arts, passengers can take a journey through the evolution of Spanish Music. Have a look at this video about Vigo.
Read more about Vigo, Spain here.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

At the next stop, passengers will have the opportunity to explore the capital city of the Canary Islands, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Santa Cruz, as it is commonly known, has one of the busiest harbours in the whole of Spain, making this port a hub for cruise ships as well as cargo ships. Not only is this city the host to one of the largest carnivals in the world, passengers can look forward to visiting the Auditorio de Tenerife and the Santa Cruz Towers.
Read more about Santa Cruz de Tenerife here.



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