Mayor O’Keefe conducts St. John’s traditional Freedom of the Seaport ceremony for the Regal Princess on her inaugural call.

More inaugural calls for St. John’s this year should make it 20 ships and 35,000 passengers. 2015 saw a record for the Canadian port when the Regal Princess was the biggest ship ever to dock there. The Royal Princess will repeat that feat this year.

Other debuts this year will include the Boudicca, Insignia, Zuiderdam and the Europa II.

“We have no trouble handling the big ships and ensuring the passengers have a terrific time when they come here,” said St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe.

O’Keefe sees a potential for attracting more calls for ships sailing out of Quebec and Montreal as capacity expands in the region.

For those wanting to walk on foot, the port is located in the heart of the downtown area.

“Yes we have the history, heritage and natural attractions,” said O’Keefe. “We have docking facilities located right in the area of heritage and shopping, but on top of it all, the feedback we get is how friendly the people who live here are.”

O’Keefe said the friendliness is ingrained in the local culture of St. John’s,

“It’s part of who we are,” he said. “We have been in the North Atlantic for so many years and have developed a unique personality, a terrific resilience, and an ability to work together and welcome people who come to the province.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2015/2016