May is coming up, and usually that means that around the middle of the month the first cruise ship of the year pulls in, kicking off what is a summer full of cruise calls.
Obviously that is not the case this year, with Norwegian Cruise Lines moving their weekly ship to Victoria and Royal Caribbean pulling out before that. So while there may be fewer cruise ships coming to Prince Rupert this season, that has the effect of increasing the importance of each ship that does visit.
Realistically I don’t think Norwegian Cruise Lines will be coming back to Prince Rupert any time in the near future, though I could see it in the distant future. But there are a lot of other cruise lines out there, and you can bet they’ll be keeping a close eye on what Prince Rupert does and what the passenger and cruise line feedback is from the handful of ships that come to town this year.
One way to look at it is this: The cruise lines are customers of Prince Rupert and we need to sell them on the product that we’re offering.
Using that analogy, if you wanted make a major purchase you would read the reviews from other people who have tried the product out, check out reviews of similar products and you would probably stop by once or twice to check it out for yourself – you know, kick the tires a bit.
That is pretty much where Prince Rupert is at right now. Our cruise customers know about us and know about the product, but they’re doing their due diligence and a few are coming to take Prince Rupert for a spin to see how it fits with their wants and needs. If we can have a really strong showing for the cruise lines that call on Prince Rupert this year, they’re more likely to choose the town for future stops.
It’s going to take a community effort, but if we can pull it off on May 4 and later this year the rewards for Prince Rupert in the years ahead could be huge.