Canadian ports receive nearly two million passengers per year. The country has a variety of cruise regions including the Pacific Coast/Alaska, Atlantic Canada, Saint Lawrence Seaway, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Within each theatre, cruise lines offer distinct itineraries with their respective homeports and ports of call. While there are indeed regional differences, there are two significant influences currently shaping Canada’s cruise industry: international passenger sourcing and the value of the Canadian dollar. In addition to evaluating the impact of these influences, this article further looks at a trend being seen in other parts of the world and whether the same applies for Canadian destinations — namely that, as vessels become increasingly larger and with more amenities and activities, the ship itself has become the destination.
Pacific Coast / Alaska
The cruise industry in Alaska and the Pacific Coast operates in a mature market. From 1992 to 2014, Alaska cruise passenger visits have increased five-fold, from about 200,000 to almost one million. In 2000, for example, the Alaskan market was the third largest cruise destination worldwide, trailing only the Caribbean and the Mediterranean regions in popularity. Today, Alaska accounts for only 4.1 per cent of cruise deployment however, given the global expansion and increased popularity of cruise, the actual number of passengers and sailings within this region continue to climb. Simply put, the pie has become much larger due to new destinations, new ships and itineraries, and increased passenger sourcing.
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