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Cruise ships return to Prince Rupert with an estimated 14,010 passengers

Potential record-breaking day with 4,700 passengers in a double vessel call
A cruise ship docked in the Prince Rupert harbour. (Photo: supplied)

More than 14,010 cruise passengers are expected to dock in the city from May to September with the return of cruise ships to Prince Rupert waters, announced Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) on April 4.

Overall, 26 cruise ships are scheduled to berth at the Northland Terminal and Cow Bay, starting with the first vessel Windstar Star Breeze on May 29, after a two-year pandemic discontinuity. A record-breaking day on Sept. 23 with more than 4,700 passengers anticipated in a double-vessel call with the anchoring and docking of Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam and Princess cruise line’s Grand Princess.

“As the only port-of-call in Canada for the ships on the 2022 itinerary, Prince Rupert offers passengers a unique glimpse into the wild Canadian landscape and our friendly small towns,” said Ceilidh Marlow, executive director, Tourism Prince Rupert. “We are working closely with PRPA to prepare for the upcoming season and are actively searching for new tour operators or businesses interested in offering an experience for cruise passengers.”

Cruise ship traffic benefited the Prince Rupert economy to the tune of $1.8 million in the 2019 tourism year, which was modest cruise ship activity, PRPA stated. From 2004 to 2019, more than 655,000 vessel passengers had directly benefitted $50 million in economic revenue to area businesses and the community.

Cruise operators, the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, the Government of Canada a variety of stakeholders in partnership with the PRPA have worked together to ensure the safe resumption of cruise activity at all Canadian ports, the port authority stated.

A comprehensive set of safety protocols onboard vessels and throughout the ship-to-shore passenger experience will include vaccination mandates for crews and passengers, enhanced hygiene practices, and scientifically based passenger screening plus testing requirements.

Shaun Stevenson, PRPA president and CEO, said the past couple of years in the tourism industry have been destabilized and they welcome back some normalcy with the safe greeting of cruise passengers.

“Cruise has historically played a pivotal role in the local economy and it is our hope that the 2022 summer season marks the return of a vibrant local tourism sector, with the opportunity to increase its strength in the future,” he said.

The port stated that the restoration of cruise calls to the community promises to positively impact the North Coast region’s tourism sector.

“Prince Rupert serves as a strategic Canadian port-of-call within cruise vessel itineraries as part of the Alaska cruise market. Taking the latest 2022 projections into account, Alaska could see as many as 1.57 million passengers this year. With strong prospects for recovery and growth within this market, Prince Rupert has the opportunity to attract significantly more visitors than it has in recent years,” PRPA said.

The 2004 built Northland Terminal facilities are dedicated to cruise traffic with a depth of 21 metres, allowing vessels up to 335 metres in length and 15 metres in draft. The 4,000 square foot terminal facilities buildings include custom houses and immigration services. A floating dock gives access to the terminal for multiple vessels to be at port simultaneously.

 K-J Millar | Editor and Multi-Media Journalist 
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