Before I ever began writing about cruises for a living, I used to work in Vancouver’s animation industry. From April to October, I’d usually walk from our offices on Howe Street, and later Water Street, over to Canada Place to spend my lunch hour watching the cruise ships at Canada Place take on provisions and guests.

On a good day, there might have been four ships in port – three at Canada Place, and one at Ballantyne Pier. The bustle on the pier was always electric; you could feel the excitement. On one memorable September day back in 2005, I hopped aboard Holland America Line’s Veendam for a Pacific Coastal cruise to Los Angeles, to find us docked bow-to-bow with the line’s Ryndam at Canada Place’s Eastern Berth. Five ships were in port that day – four at Canada, one at Ballantyne. 

Sadly, after having been the de-facto turnaround port for cruises to Alaska for decades, things are changing. We’ve been bleeding traffic to Seattle since 1999, when Norwegian Cruise Line first set up shop there. Over the course of 18 years, Seattle has invested in new terminals. Vancouver has not. Seattle has expanded its berthing capacity to hold more ships. Vancouver has reduced it, thanks to the 2014 closure of Ballantyne Pier. Ballantyne was never the crown jewel of cruise terminals, but it could take up to two cruise ships at a time. Now, only three vessels can tie up at Canada Place. When it was opened in time for EXPO ‘86, Canada Place was designed to accommodate five.

Now, Vancouver – with its iconic cruise terminal, gorgeous scenery, world-class hotels, and award-winning airport – is going to start losing these ships not because it’s not good, or somehow unworthy as a port. It is going to lose them because ships are becoming too tall to clear the Lion’s Gate Bridge, and too long to berth at Canada Place.  Click here to read more at The Province, Sept. 29, 2017


Cruise passengers will be boarding a fleet of greener buses in Victoria in 2018. A new partnership between The Wilson’s Group and CVS Tours will bring new, quieter buses with lower emissions to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s (GVHA) Ogden Point cruise terminal, according to a statement. 

“This is a great step forward for our city,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “It’s a creative solution that brings partners together to improve air quality, and I think helps reduce the impact on the local community.”

The joint venture, called Pacific Northwest Transportation Services (PNWTS), is a collaborative effort between CVS Tours and The Wilson’s Group. In exchange for a commitment and investment in newer buses and a consolidation of tour bus services from the Ogden Point terminal, GVHA has provided exclusive access over ten years to PNWTS to provide dispatch and cruise shuttle services on the terminal, and to supply all buses for shore excursion tours.

“This agreement allows GVHA to help accelerate investment in a fleet of new tour buses,” says Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO Ian Robertson. “We can stipulate that buses have newer engines and lower emissions, and that they have quieter back-up technology. This moves us further toward our goal of consistently improving social, environmental, and fiscal outcomes in our cruise operations.”

Ogden Point is Canada’s busiest cruise ship port-of-call, welcoming 239 ships from all major cruise lines in 2017. From, Oct. 22, 2017


Greater Victoria Harbour Authority hosted a concert on the Breakwater Barge October 5 to celebrate the close of a successful 2017 cruise season at Ogden Point.  Over 200 people gathered as the last ship of the season, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, set sail at sunset.  This year, 240 ships were expected to bring more than 550,000 visitors to Ogden Point between April and October. Photos by Samantha Rosindell, Western Stevedoring.



Cruise the Saint Lawrence has expanded its trademark welcome policy to include a new focus on shore excursions, the organization said in a statement. The group has initiated the evaluation of excursions marketed and sold by cruise lines, according to a statement.

“In broadening policy reach, we seek to ensure that excursions are consistent with participant expectations. Over and above obtaining feedback on the quality of services offered, observations will enable us to collate information about specific tools and training needed by local guides, as well as guide expectations respecting passenger transport,” the group said. 

In addition to this pilot project onboard cruise ships and onsite at member ports of call, Cruise the Saint Lawrence will be launching an online training program this fall for port of call service providers. These sessions will enable the latter to understand more fully port of call embarkation/disembarkation operations and learn more about the needs of cruise ship passengers. Training will be aimed at restaurateurs, retail personnel and taxi drivers. Through this program, service providers will be better poised to commit to and qualify for ‘Bienvenue Croisiéristes/Cruise Passengers’ certification instituted by Cruise the Saint Lawrence. From, Oct. 20, 2017


Prompted by the newly lowered speed limit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Queen Mary 2 booked a stopover in Sept‑Îles with only two weeks’ notice. The entire community jumped into action to welcome the surprise visitors. In an eloquent demonstration of skill and determination, every player in Sept‑Îles’s tourism industry rose to the stopover city’s biggest challenge to date.

In total, five separate cruise ships and seven tall ships, carrying some 8,000 passengers and crew members in all, were treated to the Sept-Îles experience. The extended tourist season was a boon for local attractions and excursion companies.

Together with its partners, Destination Sept-Îles Nakauinanu (DSIN) is already planning for the 2018 season, which should see a significant increase in cruise ship stopovers. Building on the growth plan adopted at the start of the year, DSIN expects to double the number of passengers and crew members welcomed to the shores of Sept‑Îles in a single season next year. From, Oct. 20, 2017

The Crown Princess closed the 2017 record-breaking cruise season in Saguenay on October 27. Overall, 55 ships stopped over in Saguenay during the 2017 season and the town welcomed 65,395 passengers and crew members. For 2018, 60 ships are confirmed. The Queen Mary 2 will come back once more and, for the first time, the Disney Magic will visit twice. From cruiseindustrynews, Oct. 27, 2017.


The Port of Québec officially launched operations at Quai Paquet on October 1 with the arrival of the Saga Sapphire, the first ship to call at the wharf. With a record number of cruise ships calling at Québec City this season, the additional berthing options at the Quai Paquet will offer accommodation and a new option for vessels, the port said, in a prepared statement.

The Quai Paquet is located within port territory and run by the Québec Port Authority. It is a short ferry ride away on the other side of the St. Lawrence River. The Port of Québec expects a substantial increase in passengers this year, according to a statement, and is forecasting a 30 percent increase in visitors over the 2016 season. From, Oct. 4, 2017


This month, the 141,000-ton Regal Princess pushed out to sea after a nine-figure revamp of mind-boggling scale where nearly everything is on demand and personally tailored to passengers. An ambitious new customization platform has been woven into the ship’s 19 passenger decks: some 7,000 onboard sensors and 4,000 “guest portals” (door-access panels and touch-screen TVs), all of them connected by 75 miles of internal cabling. As the Carnival-owned ship, its 3,500 passengers will have the option of carrying a quarter-size device, called the Ocean Medallion, which can be slipped into a pocket or worn on the wrist and is synced with a companion app. Read more at, Oct. 29, 2017


Carnival’s Cunard brand has announced its first cruise to Alaska ports in twenty years, with four round-trip sailings aboard the Queen Elizabeth departing Vancouver in May/June 2019.

The itineraries are scheduled to give guests more time in port, according to Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP of Cunard North America. The route will take passengers through the Inside Passage to Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, with opportunities to visit Tracy Arm Fjord and Hubbard Glacier. 

For those with a longer voyage in mind, the Queen Elizabeth will begin her stint in Alaska with a trans-Pacific cruise, departing Tokyo on May 9, 2019 and calling Kodiak, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria and Vancouver.  From, Oct. 26, 2017


In 2016, CLIA Alaska estimated more than one million cruise ship passengers visited Alaska fueling the state’s economy and learning about the importance of its natural resources. With so many lives in their care, cruise ship crews have to maintain a high level of safety and attention to detail to ensure their passengers enjoy an accident-free vacation.

“Cruise ship inspections are conducted, first and foremost, to assess safety,” said Lt. Colin Schembri, a marine inspector with the Coast Guard Sector Juneau prevention department. “We look at the overall condition of the vessel, but we also want to gauge the crew’s proficiency at carrying out the safe operation of the vessel.”  Read more at Coast Guard Alaska, Oct. 12, 2017


The Vancouver Maritime Museum has announced its 2017-18 grand prize raffle prizes offering a chance to win a High Arctic Explorer Cruise, King Pacific Lodge Fishing or $1,000 cash! For more information or to buy your raffle tickets please visit: VMM Raffle

Click here to learn more about the industry’s contributions to sustainable development.


In honor of United Nations (UN) Day on October 24 and the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) highlighted its Cruise Line Members commitments to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  

“By declaring 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the UN provided our sector with the opportunity to raise awareness of cruise travel as a catalyst for positive change,” said Donnie Brown, vice president of maritime policy, CLIA. “CLIA’s Cruise Line Members have contributed to this change through initiatives that protect the environment, create sustainable communities where our ships visit and build economic prosperity and jobs.” From, Oct. 24, 2017


There are a record 90 new cruise ships on order, extending out to 2026, according to the global cruise ship orderbook.  The 90 ships on order are on average, 106,259 tons each, with an average passenger capacity of 2,681. The average cost per vessel is $649 million. Nine ships are being built specifically for the Chinese market, while 20 of the 90 cruise ships on order are expedition newbuilds. Click here to see what’s new this year. From, Oct. 2, 2017


Total economic impact of the international cruise industry, 2011-2016

The cruise industry continues the path of unprecedented growth, and according to new figures released in CLIA’s 2016 Economic Impact Analysis passengers and crew spent a cumulative $21.9 billion in 2016. Putting additional numbers to the trend, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports that the industry had a $48B impact on the U.S. economy, generating 389,432 U.S. jobs paying more than $20.5 billion in wages and salaries, powered by nearly 12 million passengers embarking at U.S. ports.

All of this economic activity has spurred unprecedented new shipbuilding activity, one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise dour maritime market. New ships are being designed and ordered at a record clip, in the big oceangoing cruise segment down to specialty/adventure cruisers and a new generation of inland cruise riverboats. From, Oct. 4, 2017   


Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released its most recent Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report, highlighting that more than 80 percent of travel agents say their cruise volume has increased in 2017 and three-quarters say their clients are spending more this year on cruise tourism.

North American travelers tend to gravitate toward Western Hemisphere destinations. Alaska is currently seeing the most growth (51 percent), followed by Caribbean/Bermuda/Mexico (42 percent) and Canada/New England (31 percent). Staying closer to home could offer some degree of comfort, according to several agents. “People are concerned about safety but still want to explore new places,” says one travel professional, “so Alaska has become bigger overall. I am featuring Alaska more as a potential destination and making sure it is on my clients’ radar.” From, Oct. 15, 2017


Anthony Connelly officially became the president of Disney Cruise Line on October 1, leading several key growth businesses for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Connelly will lead the expansion of Disney’s cruise fleet with the delivery of three new ships in 2021, 2022 and 2023. He is taking over for Karl Holz who will retire early next year.  From, Oct. 3, 2017





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