Once again, Canada’s West Coast ports are gearing up for a busy cruise season which will see the return of favourites like the Disney Wonder, the Explorer of the Seas and the Crystal Serenity (which is going for a second year of Arctic adventures following a very successful launch of the Northwest Passage route in 2016). New vessels, such as the Emerald Princess and the Carnival Miracle will be welcomed this year as will the Seabourn Sojourn, a high-end luxury liner that has, get this, a passenger-to-crew rate of about 1:4. In reviewing activities with the four main destinations for cruise ships in B.C. —Vancouver, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert and Victoria — BC Shipping News finds high optimism, coupled with hard-working staff getting ready to welcome the first passengers in early April.
Photo above: Nanaimo's Cruise Terminal can accommodate vessels of any size (photo courtesy Nanaimo Port Authority)
As a top global destination and important economic generator for the City, Vancouver continues to attract a wide spectrum of cruise lines and passengers as Canada’s largets homeport. Carmen Ortega, Manager, Cruise Services and Canada Place Operations with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, noted that 2017 will continue the trend of increasing passenger numbers. “We are expecting another strong season with just over 840,000 passengers on 237 calls,” she said. That’s up from the almost 827,000 seen in 2016 — which was up from the 805,000 seen in 2015.
While the number of sailings to Vancouver is also up (from 228 in 2016), Ortega attributed some of the jump in passenger numbers to the newer, larger vessels entering the Alaska market. “Here at Canada Place, we are pleased to welcome some of the largest vessels operating in the Pacific Northwest cruise theatre,” she said. “The Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess both have capacity for about 3,100 passengers; the Celebrity Solstice is just slightly under that capacity.”