Vancouver’s 2023 cruise ship season breaks records

Another record-setting cruise ship season wraps up in Vancouver this week.

The port authority says the last vessel for the 2023 season is set to depart from the Canada Place cruise terminal on Tuesday, “marking the end of a robust year for the local cruise industry.”

Once the ship leaves, the Port of Vancouver says it expects to have welcomed about 1.25 million passengers this year, which is a 54 per cent increase compared to the 2022 season and a new high.

“Cruises returned to Vancouver emphatically this year after several seasons impacted by the global pandemic — with 2023 seeing record passenger numbers, near-record cruise ship visits, and the Canada Place terminal getting further international recognition as a world-class cruise facility,” said Peter Xotta, vice president of operations and supply chain at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

The Port of Vancouver has seen more than 330 cruise ships between April and October of this year, marking another record for Canada Place. The number of visits represents a nine per cent increase over the 2022 season, which saw 307 visits.

Xotta says the cruise ship season plays an important role in the tourism and hospitality industries, which were hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought travel restrictions and many closures.

The pandemic also brought cruise ships to a halt. Federal restrictions preventing sailings lifted in Nov. 2021.

The first ship at the Port of Vancouver for the 2023 season was the Sapphire Princess. The last cruise of this season will be Holland America’s Koningsdam.

“We are honoured to have been part of the Port of Vancouver’s biggest cruise season ever, with 25 per cent of guests sailing on five Holland America Line ships,” said Holland America Line Chief Commercial Officer Beth Bodensteiner.

“We see this as further evidence that the cruise industry has rebounded in a remarkable way. We’re proud to call Vancouver a homeport and look forward to another great season in 2024.”

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