MS Regatta will be pulling into Prince Rupert on Saturday.

MS Regatta will be pulling into Prince Rupert on Saturday.

Prince Rupert preparing for first cruise ship of the season

On June 15, the MS Regatta will be pulling into Northland Terminal to kick off the 2013 cruise season.

On June 15, the MS Regatta will be pulling into Northland Terminal to kick off the 2013 cruise season, and volunteers are preparing to welcome passengers to the North Coast.

This year there will be nine cruise ships carrying up to 4,856 passengers, and Prince Rupert Port Authority manager of corporate communications Michael Gurney said the goal is to give visitors an experience they won’t soon forget.

“The Prince Rupert Port Authority has been working collaboratively with a number of other agencies, including Tourism Prince Rupert and the volunteer ambassadors to build on the success of previous years,” he said.

“This year the focus has been on growing that collaborative work, so we have been inviting new organizations to greet cruise passengers. We expect this first vessel call to be a colourful and memorable experience.”

While other cruise ships will follow the 684-passenger MS Regatta, Gurney said the importance of the first visit of 2013 can’t be understated.

“It is important for a couple of reasons. For the cruise industry, and as a city and port, we are always looking for positive reviews and positive feedback. For the community, it demonstrates we have the capacity through excellent tours and amenities to engage international passengers and give them an enjoyable visit,” he said.

“The focus is to make these experiences sustainable and, for local merchants, profitable — this is a business after all … it is important businesses, and volunteers see this as something that is worth investing their time and resources.”

The Regatta will be returning on July 3 and 10. Before that though, the 100-passenger Caledonia Sky will pull into port on June 27. Scott Farwell of the Prince Rupert Cruise Task Force noted some of the smaller ships have planned itineraries in place, but for the larger ships the group is looking for volunteers and the business community to “come out and put our best foot forward”.