Port Metro Vancouver recently concluded a successful 2011 Vancouver-Alaska cruise season, posting a 15 percent increase in passengers over 2010. Between May and October 2011, the Port welcomed 663,425 passengers on 27 different vessels over 199 cruise ship calls.

New in 2011, Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder and Oceania Cruises' Regatta both homeported in Vancouver during their inaugural seasons in the Alaska market. Vancouver also welcomed the return of Crystal Cruises, as the Crystal Symphony made 10 port calls in Vancouver.

The 2011 season also marked the second full year of operations of the award-winning shore power installation at Canada Place, the first of its kind in Canada. Shore power-equipped cruise ships can plug in and shut off their engines while docked to reduce air emissions. During the cruise season, 35 vessels connected to the Port's shore power facilities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,318 tonnes.

"Port Metro Vancouver is taking a leadership role in reducing our carbon footprint with the goal of making the broader port more sustainable," said Peter Xotta, Vice President, Planning and Operations at Port Metro Vancouver. "By reducing our emissions and providing incentives for the local cruise industry to do the same, we are heading in the right direction."

Through the Port's EcoAction Program, four cruise lines have earned Port Metro Vancouver's Blue Circle Award, a recognition reserved for only the highest emissions-reduction achievements by marine carriers that call on the Port. The cruise line recipients include Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea Cruises.

During the 2012 Vancouver-Alaska cruise season, Port Metro Vancouver expects to host approximately 670,000 passengers on 191 ship calls, including Princess Cruise Line's Sapphire Princess, which will return to homeport in Vancouver for 2012.

Vancouver serves as an ideal port to begin or end an Alaskan adventure. As homeport to Alaska through Canada’s majestic Inside Passage, Vancouver offers a variety of itineraries, including the choice of round-trips or one-way trips through the scenic Inside Passage. The Inside Passage, which runs along the west coast of British Columbia, allows passengers to fully experience the glaciers, mountains, wildlife and culture of America's last frontier. The shorter travel distance to Alaska via the Inside Passage gives passengers more time to spend in Alaskan ports.