Two of the world's largest cruise ships to return to Vancouver this fall

Sep 24 2019, 6:33 pm

The Port of Vancouver’s peak 2019 cruise ship season will close out early this fall with the return of two of the world’s largest cruise ships to the Canada Place cruise ship terminal.

On September 30, the Norwegian Bliss will be sailing into Vancouver harbour to embark on a six-day North American West Coast repositioning sailing. The new vessel made its maiden voyage last year, and serves the Alaska itinerary between the mid-spring and early-fall months, with Seattle as its homeport.

The vessel made its first visit to Vancouver in 2018, and it returned to the city for a second time early in May 2018. The Norwegian Bliss is unable to sail from Vancouver regularly due to the low clearance of the Lions Gate Bridge, which means the vessel can only enter Vancouver harbour during low tide periods.

As of today, with a gross tonnage of 168,028 GT and length of 1,024 ft, the Norwegian Bliss — carrying up to 4,200 passengers and 2,100 crew — is the world’s 12th largest cruise ship. This represents a drop from its ninth ranking in 2018, following the introduction of new larger vessels such as Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas and MSC Cruises’ MSC Belissima.

Aligned with the low tide cycles, the Norwegian Bliss will arrive at 7 am and leave by midnight.

The two-day period spanning September 29 and 30 will be one of Canada Place’s busiest peak days this year, with 21,500 cruise passengers expected to board eight vessels. Besides the Norwegian Bliss, this will include the Eurodam, L’Austral, Westerdam, Noordam, Norwegian Jewel, Oosterdam, and Disney Wonder.

Then on October 6, the Norwegian Joy, the one-year older sister vessel of the Norwegian Bliss, and the world’s 13th largest cruise ship, will also arrive and leave during the same timeframe for a repositioning sailing. It also calls Seattle its homeport for Alaska itineraries for the same reasons.

Following consecutive months of near non-stop activity, only a trickle of cruises are scheduled to sail from Canada Place in October.

The 2019 cruise season will conclude with the sailing of the Star Princess on November 1.

According to the port authority, 2019 will be a record-breaking season for Vancouver’s cruise industry, with nearly 1.1 million cruise passengers traveling through Canada Place.

Port officials recently stated they will engage with the public in early 2020 on the feasibility of constructing a new secondary cruise ship terminal at the mouth of the Fraser River, likely in Richmond or Delta, to handle large cruise ships, effectively providing Vancouver’s cruise ship industry with the ability to better compete with Seattle.