Victoria, BC’s 2015 cruise ship season comes to a close today with the arrival of the Star Princess at Ogden Point from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A joint celebration of the successful season will be held from noon to 2 p.m. and will include the Star Princess’ captain and crew and members of Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), Western Stevedoring and the Cruise Lines International Association.
“We have had a banner cruise ship season in Victoria, with a number of highlights throughout the summer months, paired with equally stunning summer weather,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of GVHA.
Highlights of the 2015 season included: The kick off on April 22 with the arrival of the Grand Princess; the 2015 season welcomed 533,000 passengers and 227 ship calls; the celebration of the IMO’s Day of the Seafarer – a UN international observance day – on June 25 at Ogden Point with local seafarers and the crew of the Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas; and the arrival of the six millionth cruise ship passenger to Ogden Point on board the Golden Princess.
Through the year, the GVHA invested more than $250,000 to enhance Ogden Point’s facilities with the aim of improving the overall visitor experience at the port for both locals and cruise passengers.
For 2016, the GVHA is forecasting 227 ships. The season starts on April 3, with the arrival of the Star Princess and concludes on October 17.
“The cruise industry is a vital and welcome contribution to the economic and cultural life of our city,” commented City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “We are working in partnership with the cruise industry to stimulate economic development. The scheduling of the Explorer of the Seas’ arrival during the day time will help to achieve this.”
As part of the 2016 season, the largest cruise ship ever on the Alaskan route, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, will make 21 calls to Ogden Point. The Explorer replaces the Jewel of the Seas on Royal Caribbean’s weekly Seattle to Alaska route and has a capacity of 3,100 guests – more than 1,000 additional passengers than the Jewel.
Arriving at 8 a.m. and departing at 6 p.m. every Thursday, the Explorer of the Seas is expected to generate an additional $1.3 million in direct guest spending throughout the capital region as well as additional direct and indirect economic benefits.