Princess Cruises to close GVHA's record 2018 cruise season

Princess Cruises to close GVHA's record 2018 cruise season
Ships from 12 cruise lines visited Ogden Point in 2018 (Image:Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)

Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess will close a record seven-month cruise season at Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s (GVHA) Ogden Point Cruise Terminal in Victoria, British Columbia on 14 October.

Since the Canadian port’s 2018 season started on 11 April, GVHA has achieved a ‘series of milestones and records’. This year, ships from 12 different cruise lines have made a total of 250 calls, bringing around 640,000 passengers and 260,000 crew members to Victoria. The industry supported 800 direct jobs and contributed an estimated CA$130 million to the regional economy.

“Cruise ship travel is an integral component of the Greater Victoria tourism industry,” said Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria. “Research informs us that many cruise passengers are introduced to Greater Victoria for the first time on a cruise and then return for a longer land-based vacation. The passengers that disembark at Ogden Point also support our restaurants and attractions, as well as bring a life and vitality to the downtown core. Congratulations to the GVHA on an outstanding year.”

One season highlight was Norwegian Cruises Line’s new flagship, Norwegian Bliss, making her maiden call on 1 June and visiting on subsequent Friday afternoons as part of her Alaska itinerary until the end of September. This brought around 1,500 additional cruisers to GVHA every Friday, significantly boosting the port’s overall passenger numbers.

GVHA also carried out several infrastructure improvement projects in 2018, such as installing new bollards at Pier A South to ensure it could safely secure the 168,000gt Norwegian Bliss. It also worked with its terminal management partner, Western Stevedoring, to equip Pier B with energy-efficient lighting to improve safety and reduce light pollution. Plus, GVHA collaborated with the City of Victoria to streamline wayfinding signage and maps to improve navigation for the more than 30% of passengers who walk from the cruise terminal to downtown Victoria and vice versa. Passengers also benefit from additional human-powered transportation options including pedi-cabs, rickshaws, and rented bikes.

“Norwegian Cruise Line, along with the other 11 cruise lines that visited this season, consistently rank Victoria’s Ogden Point Cruise Terminal as a port of call that is welcoming, easy to work with, and focused on sustainability and environmental improvements,” said Lindsay Gaunt, GVHA’s director of Cruise Development.

GVHA has already started working on further terminal improvements for 2019, such as lengthening the Pier B mooring dolphin to accommodate Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas for the first time. Azamara Club Cruises will also make its first visit to Victoria, while Cunard will return after more than 20 years. In response to the positive reaction from its guests, Norwegian will reposition Norwegian Bliss’s sister Norwegian Joy to sail the Seattle to Alaska route in 2019, which means she will make weekly calls at Ogden Point between June and October.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Wednesday, October 10, 2018