The 2023 cruise ship season in Vancouver begins this week

Apr 12 2023, 1:22 am

The streets of the downtown Vancouver peninsula are about to get much busier from thousands of tourists spilling out of the “floating cities” berthed at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal, providing struggling businesses with a major boost.

The 2023 cruise ship season will officially start on Wednesday morning, when the Sapphire Princess makes the first cruise ship visit at Canada Place for the year.

Two more cruise ships are scheduled to visit Canada Place on Thursday, with the Koningsdam arriving in the morning and the Norwegian Bliss in the evening.

But the cruise ship season will not truly kick off until early May, at which point at least one cruise ship will be expected at Canada Place almost every day through early October. The Koningsdam will close the 2023 cruise ship season on October 24.

A total of 331 cruise ship visits are scheduled for Canada Place this year, representing an 8% increase over 2022. Six cruise ships will visit Canada Place for the very first time this year, including Brilliance of the Seas, Silver Whisper, Hanseatic Nature, Fridtjof Nansen, Seabourn Venture, and Scenic Eclipse II.

Depending on ship occupancy, as many as 1.3 million passengers could stream through the cruise ship terminal on the central waterfront this year, representing a potential increase of about 10% over the record of 1.1 million passengers in 2019.

This year’s activity builds on the relatively strong recovery experienced in 2022, when 307 cruise ship visits brought 810,000 passengers.

“Vancouver continues to be one of the world’s top cruise destinations and an award-winning homeport,” said Mandy Chan, manager of cruise services at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, in a statement.

“After a two-year pause and an incredible restart in 2022, we are now gearing up for another big season for the Vancouver cruise sector as well as the local hospitality and tourism industries it supports.”

canada place cruise ship terminal pet relief station

Pet relief station at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal. (Vancouver Fraser Port Authority)

Just in time for the 2023 season, pet relief stations for service animals have been added to Canada Place, making it the first homeport cruise ship terminal in Canada to offer such facilities.

As well, more cruise ships are expected to use clean hydroelectricity this year when berthed at Canada Place, based on the statistics in 2022 when almost 70% of all cruise ship visits were shore power enabled. This is up from 50% in 2019.

Shore power facilities allow cruise ships to plug into the BC Hydro grid, and turn off their diesel-powered auxiliary engines, effectively significantly reducing emissions.

Canada Place was amongst the first cruise ship terminals in the world to make shore power available in 2009. This equipment will also be installed at the Ogden Point cruise ship terminal in Victoria soon following the provincial government’s recent funding announcement to help cover the installation costs.

According to the port authority, each cruise ship visit provides the local economy with an average $3 million boost from passenger spending on hotels, retail, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, and transportation, and from cruise ship companies supporting local businesses to ensure their supplies are replenished after each sailing.

Canada’s cruise ship industry is largely centred in Vancouver and Victoria, with the Canada Place cruise ship terminal’s business based on being one of the main homeports for the seasonal Alaska cruise season between April and November each year. In contrast, Victoria’s business is based on cruise ship mid-itinerary stopovers, typically for cruise ships with Seattle as the homeport.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

+ News
+ Venture
+ Transportation
+ Urbanized