Soccer, cruise ships, and the NMM Caird Library

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IDiskiizaeKhaya! (football's coming home!) Cape Town hopes. But where are the thousands of foreign soccer fans going home to during their South African stay?
Despite hotel-building programmes, in the run-up to the opening of this month's FIFA World Cup, South Africa looked as if it was going to be short of accommodation. In response, the South African Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele came up with a solution which was to have been the use of cruise liners as floating hotels.
Although Roman scholar Pliny the Elder famously said that there was 'Always something new -ex Africa - out of Africa', researchers using the NMM's Caird Library will also know that there's nothing new in history.
On the 29 April 1964, Sir Nicholas Cayzer, Chairman of British and Commonwealth Shipping Ltd commented of Union-Castle's management of the cruise liner Reina del Mar that it was;
'...the intention that this vessel should be bareboat chartered...from the Pacific Steam Navigation Company. She was at present undergoing conversion at Belfast by Mssrs Harland and Wolff and would commence a series of cruises on 10 June. Later in the year she would sail to Japan for an Olympic Games cruise and for the period of the Games would act as a floating hotel.' (NMM Caird Library UCM 3/4 12420)
Caird Library readers will also know that the language used to attract punters changes very little over time. A Safmarine/Union-Castle advert for the 'Seafari' produced in 1970, promised relaxation on board a luxury liner and then, '...the thrill of discovering a new Continent, a land of vivid contrasts, from vineyards to game parks.' Had plans fallen into place, chartering Holland America Line's MS Westerdam, and MS Noordam to act a cruise-hotels for the World Cup, One Ocean Club announced in 2009 that it would, 'offer guests leisure activities such as playing golf against the setting of the Drakensberg Mountains, sampling wines in the vineyards around Cape Town and safari trips.'
Maritime research: it's a funny old game.

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