Princess Cruises’ Star Princess docked at Canada Place this morning, marking the start of what is expected to be one of the biggest cruise ship seasons for Vancouver in years.
The 950-foot-long (290-metre-long) vessel carries 3,100 passengers and 1,205 crew and is one of the largest vessels to serve Vancouver’s cruise ship port. It will be making two 15-day roundtrip journeys to the Hawaiian Islands today and again on April 29, with a sailing to Los Angeles in between on April 19, before commencing its schedule of regular sailings to Alaska.
But the cruise ship season in Vancouver, which mainly goes to Alaska, will not pick up until the last week of April. Overall, from now until mid-October, 830,000 passengers on 288 calls, on more than two dozen ships, are expected to pass through the gates at Canada Place, marking a 3% increase in passenger volume over the previous year.
However, this falls short of the one million annual passenger figures recorded up until approximately a decade ago, before Seattle constructed its own cruise ship facilities to compete with a market that Vancouver has dominated for decades.
Each vessel that makes a call at Canada Place creates more than $2 million in local economic activity through tourist spending and the cruise line’s expenditures on supplies.
New to Vancouver this year is Holland America Line’s recently built MS Nieuw Amsterdam, the cruise ship line’s second largest vessel. The vessel will make its inaugural call to Vancouver, the new homeport, on April 30 and serve 100,000 passengers over 24 roundtrip sailings this season.
“Holland America was the first cruise line to call the new Canada Place cruise terminal on April 28, 1986,” said Robin Silvester, President and Chief Executive Officer of Port Metro Vancouver, in a statement. “We value our partnership with Holland America Line very highly, and look forward to continuing to build on this great relationship for many years to come.”
As well, the Le Soleal, the sister ship of Compagnie Du Ponant’s Le Boreal and L’Austral vessels, will be making its inaugural call on June 18. And after an 11-year hiatus, Crystal Cruises is returning to Vancouver this year with Serenity making eight sailings from Vancouver, bringing 13,000 passengers to the city.
The Disney Wonder, one of the four vessels on Disney Cruise Line, is also making a return to Vancouver this season with 14 sailings beginning on May 23. Other cruise lines that will call Vancouver its homeport this season include Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean International, and Silversea Cruises.
This year, Canada Place will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. The pier was built in time for Expo ’86 and used as the World’s Fair’s Canada Pavilion, with passengers shuttled from False Creek to Canada Place directly by a special SkyTrain shuttle.
“Our guests rank Vancouver among their favourite cities, and the ease and convenience of the port make it all the more popular,” said Orlando Ashford, President of Holland America Line. “Congratulations to Canada Place on celebrating its 30th anniversary, and we look forward to an extremely robust and successful Alaska season sailing from Vancouver.”
The 2016 cruise ship season ends on October 19 with the Star Princess sailing to its winter seasonal homeport of Los Angeles, where it will be making regular sailings to the Hawaiian Islands until it returns to Vancouver in early-April 2017.
I got up and out at sunrise this morning so I could take a few pictures of the first cruise ship to pass under the Lions Gate bridge entering the Vancouver harbour for the 2016 season. Most of the cruises go to Alaska, however, this one will be heading to Los Angeles. The Alaska cruises run from May through September. If you are one of the 890,000 people expected to take a cruise from Vancouver this year, leave a note in the comments. I am interested to hear from you. #cruise #starprincess #instatravel #mist #foggy #canada #vancity #losangeles #usa #bc #vancouverisland #vancityscape #california #vancouver #lionsgatebridge #britishcolumbia #america #princess #princesscruise #alaska #alaskacruise #beautiful #photooftheday #amazing #nofilter A photo posted by Roland Haynes (@roland.haynes) on