On May 4, the season’s first and largest cruise ship, the Holland America Zaandam, docked in Prince Rupert for about 10 hours with approximately 1,400 passengers getting of the ship and adventuring the community, and seeing what it has to offer.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority recently announced that feedback from the Holland America Zaandam passengers and crew were overwhelmingly positive, which supports the port’s strategy to attract additional cruise visits to Prince Rupert.
“We learned that Prince Rupert’s unique offering of world-class excursions and community hospitality resonated powerfully with passengers aboard the Holland America Zaandam,” said Shaun Stevenson, Vice President of Trade Development for the Prince Rupert Port Authority.
“This adds significant strength to our efforts to attract regular cruise visits within the next few years.”
Cruise ship passengers were greeted by Grade 1 students from Annunciation, who welcomed passengers by singing “Oh Canada” to them as they left the ship.
Mayor Jack Mussallem and two Mounties greeted passengers before they moved on to either go on an excursion tour, check out the small market and booths that were set up or check out the various shopping in the community.
The Cruise Task Force organized a number of things to entertain passengers, as well as many volunteers serving as ambassadors and interpreters throughout the day, including Seamus McConville, a Grade 11 student from Charles Hays Secondary School.
“I liked meeting the passengers and sharing stuff I know about my hometown. All the appreciative things they said to us made us feel really good. My friends and I will definitely be volunteering again.”
Many visitors from the cruise ship were given guest satisfaction surveys to fill out before they left. Even though the weather was rainy with low temperatures, passenger responses were almost exclusively positive.
One couple reported, “Of 101 countries visited in 32 years, we’ve never had such a warm welcome. This is one of the most organized, best stops on our cruise.”
Some passengers even indicated that they would be writing the cruise line to urge that Prince Rupert be included as a permanent port of call for future Holland America cruises.
Cruise ship passengers rated the community on categories including friendliness, service, shopping, cleanliness, tour variety and signage. All of these categories scored over 80 per cent, with nearly 50 per cent of guests citing the welcoming of the community as their most memorable
Later in the season, Prince Rupert will be welcoming vessels from Regent Seven Seas and Silversea Cruises.
Since the new terminal was opened in 2004, Prince Rupert has hosted over half a million-cruise ship passengers generating money for the community. The new terminal is located strategically for Alaska cruise itineraries on the Inside Passage, while being perched on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest.