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MS Insignia Makes Port in Mombasa Despite Rough Seas and Rerouted Itinerary

MS Insignia Makes Port in Mombasa Despite Rough Seas and Rerouted Itinerary

MS Insignia Makes Port in Mombasa Despite Rough Seas and Rerouted Itinerary

The MS Insignia, a cruise ship carrying hundreds of passengers, arrived safely at the Port of Mombasa in Kenya after a challenging journey. Let’s dive into the details of their arrival and the impact it has on Kenyan tourism.

Change of Plans: Originally, the MS Insignia, with 357 passengers and 396 crew members, planned to sail through the Suez Canal. However, due to security concerns in the Red Sea, their itinerary was rerouted in February. This meant a longer journey around Africa’s southern tip, the Cape of Good Hope, instead.

Adapting to the New Course: The rerouting wasn’t ideal. The ship’s capacity is 608 passengers, but some opted to disembark in Dubai upon learning about the change. Captain Laurence Badasse explained, “We offered some guests the chance to go home if they weren’t comfortable with the new itinerary.”

Braving the Storm: The journey wasn’t smooth sailing either. The Indian Ocean wasn’t kind, with two rough days at sea due to Tropical Cyclone Ialy, which fortunately remained offshore. “We braved the storm that passed between Madagascar and Kenya,” said Captain Badasse. “We’re happy we made it safely.”

Kenya Welcomes Cruise Tourism Back: The arrival of the MS Insignia is a positive sign for Kenya’s tourism industry, which was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenya Tourism Board CEO June Chepkemei expressed their delight at the rebound.

Rekindling Cruise Tourism: Chepkemei emphasized Kenya’s goal of becoming a hub for cruise tourism. They plan to collaborate with the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to achieve this, aiming to replicate the success of the year 2000, when over 19,000 cruise tourists visited the country.

Benefits for the Coastal Region: Chepkemei highlighted the importance of cruise tourism for Kenya’s coastal areas. “We’ll continue working with stakeholders to ensure the coast benefits,” she stated. She added that the tourists who arrived earlier had already enjoyed safaris, experienced Swahili culture, and embraced the “magical experience” of Kenya.

Port of Mombasa Gears Up: KPA Managing Director William Ruto echoed Chepkemei’s enthusiasm. He welcomed the return of cruise tourism and encouraged the MS Insignia company to consider making Mombasa their home port for longer stays on future visits.

Investment Opportunities: Ruto urged investors to tap into the potential of cruise tourism at the port, especially with the government’s recent investment in a new cruise terminal. He assured tourists of heightened security measures around the port and city of Mombasa.

Embracing the Unexpected: Despite the initial disappointment of the rerouted itinerary, passengers on board expressed their delight at being in Kenya. Peterson Friesen, a tourist from Canada, said, “We’re happy to be here. The last few days were rough, but we’re excited to see Mombasa’s beauty!”

A Positive Turnaround: Kyle Stewart, a passenger from the US, summed it up well: “It was unexpected, but delightful. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity otherwise.” The MS Insignia’s arrival in Mombasa signifies not just a successful docking, but a renewed hope for Kenya’s cruise tourism industry.

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