Cruise aficionados – and according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), some 13.5 million are forecast to sail this year – are always looking for new destinations. With its picturesque fishing villages, scenic coastlines and centuries-old marine heritage, Atlantic Canada offers charming and uncrowded ports of call. This year more than 20 cruise lines – from large to small, luxurious to adventurous, appealing to all tastes and travel budgets – are featuring more than 160 sailings from the East Coast to ports in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (PEI.) The season for Atlantic Canada is expanding with more ships sailing earlier in May and later in October.
In 2008, cruise passenger arrivals to Atlantic Canada were up an impressive 42 percent and this year, cruise officials are forecasting another increase, with up to 608,000 arrivals. Carnival, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Silversea and many other lines are offering sailings out of New York, Boston, Baltimore, Cape Liberty (Bayonne, N.J.), Philadelphia and Ft. Lauderdale, starting at as little as $269, per person, double occupancy. From June to October, Canadian Sailing Expeditions will offer 4, 7, 10 and 14-day voyages aboard the Tall Ship Caledonia. Pearl Seas Cruises will sail in Atlantic Canada waters calling at small ports like Nova Scotia’s Lunenberg, a UNESCO World Heritage site and will offer a circumnavigation of Newfoundland.
More expedition ships are plying the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador, often enroute to the Arctic or Greenland. This year, officials expect 54,000 arrivals, a staggering 64 percent increase over 2008. Adventure Canada, Cruise North, Fred Olsen, Polar Star Expeditions and Wanderbird Cruises, to name a few, will visit ports like St. John’s, Corner Brook, Battle Harbour and Red Bay.
"As CLIA member lines continue to broaden their horizons, Atlantic Canada has become increasingly popular,” says Terry Dale, president and CEO of the CLIA. “Ports throughout the four provinces are now featured in itineraries on some of the largest and newest ships in the CLIA fleet. Several lines have recently increased the number of voyages that include Atlantic Canada in part because during times of economic stress, cruises closer to home and ones that do not require air connections for residents of the East Coast are increasingly popular," explains Dale.
This year through October 10, Carnival is offering some 26 four, five and seven-day sailings from New York to Atlantic Canada on the Carnival Triumph. Its first departure, a four-day voyage from New York on June 7, calling at Saint John, New Brunswick starts as low as $269, per person, double occupancy. A five-day cruise from New York on June 20 adds Halifax, Nova Scotia and starts at $369, per person, double. Starting June 2010, Carnival will expand its capacity and offer voyages on its largest ship to sail these waters – the 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory.
Beginning May 8, Holland America Cruises kicks off its season of 21 cruises offering seven, 10, 13 and 14-day itineraries out of New York, Boston, and Ft. Lauderdale. A seven-day voyage on the MS Maasdam departing Boston (multiple sailings: May 30 to October 3) and calling at Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia and Charlottetown, PEI, starts at $699, per person, double occupancy.
Norwegian Cruise Lines will offer 17 five, seven, 10 and 14-day cruises from New York, Boston and Philadelphia. A five-day cruise on the Norwegian Majesty departs Philadelphia on August 29 visiting Saint John and the Bay of Fundy starting at only $499. A 10-day itinerary on the Norwegian Jewel departing New York (9/30, 10/10 and 10/20) stops at Halifax, Charlottetown and Sydney with rates from $749, per person, double.
From June through October, Royal Caribbean offers a total of 14 five, seven, eight and nine-night itineraries on three different ships from Boston, Baltimore, and Bayonne (Cape Liberty) N.J. A nine-night cruise on the Explorer of the Seas departs Cape Liberty Cruise Port and calls at Halifax and Saint John (plus ports in Maine) with fares as low as $679. (Sailing dates: 9/3, 9/17, 10/1 and 10/15)
The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP) is a nine member pan-Atlantic partnership comprised of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the four Atlantic Canada Tourism Industry Associations, and the four departments responsible for tourism for the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.