Which leaves us with five Carnival Cruise ships to account for. CARNIVAL DREAM was the first to arrive and continues to lead the flock. Having called at Algoa Bay with CARNIVALS CONQUEST and LIBERTY, we were surprised when Dream, after remaining at anchor in Algoa Bay for several days, suddenly entered the harbour at Ngqura, not previously known as a cruise ship port of call or attraction for that matter. Now Ngqura is about to have multiple cruise ship visits!
On Saturday Carnival Dream departed the port and headed along the Wild Coast bound for Durban to take supplies, where she arrived early Sunday morning 31 May. After a quick turnaround the ship sailed early Sunday evening, bound for Jakarta. Meanwhile, Carnival Liberty has taken her place in Ngqura after which she too will sail for Durban, leaving Carnival Conquest to move behind her in sequence.
The next two Carnival ships, FASCINATION and ECSTASY also kept us guessing. Sailing several days behind the other three, they never left the Atlantic for the Indian Ocean, with Fascination unexpectedly altering course and sailing up the Namibia coast almost to the Angolan border before reversing direction and coming to anchor outside the port of Walvis Bay.
Carnival Ecstasy meanwhile took up shelter in St Helena Bay, adding to the bright array of night lights out on the water of the sheltered bay, which has dozens of fishing vessels at anchor, as well as several cargo vessels. When last did St Helena Bay play host to a large modern cruise ship, one wonders?
A further surprise was in store when Carnival Fascination left the outer anchorage and entered the port at Walvis Bay. This indeed was a mystery but all was soon revealed following information received from the Namibian Ports Authority explaining the unexpected behaviour.
It turns out that Fascination was carrying 182 Zimbabwean and seven Namibian nationals who had been employed among the Carnival cruise ships. It therefore made sense, that with delays anticipated in Algoa Bay where weather conditions were not helpful to a speedy bunkering of ships, to call at Walvis Bay and disembark not only the Namibians but those staff from Zimbabwe as well.
This required arranging for suitable aircraft to be available to fly them to their respective destinations. The first 100 Zimbabweans disembarked at 12h00 on Friday 29 May and were escorted to the Walvis Bay Airport for their flight at 13h00. The remaining personnel disembarked later for a 17h00 flight.
Stringent conditions applied to this process, including those disembarking having to wear full protective clothing and gear, consisting of masks, goggles, gloves and full body suits. Buses to carry them to the airport had to be in the port prior to the ship entering harbour; likewise at the airport the aircraft had to be ready ahead of their arrival at the airport. Buses were completely disinfected afterwards, all this despite the departing ‘passengers’ having been in effective quarantine for more than 14 days before arriving in Walvis Bay.
All went as planned including Fascination being required to sail as soon as all those disembarking had left the ship. By Saturday evening she had reached South African waters and was heading along the West Coast towards the Cape of Good Hope, with her destination showing as Durban and an ETA of 3 June.
Carnival Ecstasy has also left her anchorage at St Helena Bay and on early Saturday evening was passing Cape Town, with her ETA at Algoa Bay showing as 1 June.
SOURCE: Africa Ports and Ships