It’s an economic powerhouse bringing in more 100 million dollars to the local economy.
This season, 227 cruise ships are expected to arrive in Victoria, carrying more than 533-thousand passengers.
And due to passenger demand, those ships will be spending more time while they’re are here.
Making a grand entrance, the Star Princess eases her way into Victoria’s Ogden Point.
The first cruise ship of what’s expected to be a record year for the industry.
And its arrival is big news.
Norm and Norma Till came to watch the big ship tie up.
“It was huge.
It was huge.
It was just massive.
I’ve never been on a cruise ship before, this is the closest I’ll ever probably ever get.
So, it was pretty exciting.”
The morning arrival translates into a longer shore leave for passengers and crew.
After two days at sea, this is the ship’s first port of call.
The CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Ian Robertson, says the trend is moving towards longer stays.
“We’re seeing a trend to ships spending a longer period time in port.
It’s great news for the region.
It’s great news for the economy.
And that means people have longer to spend time in Victoria.
Spend money in the shops and the restaurants.
Which is good news.”
The first passengers disembark, and arrive to a traditional greeting from town crier, Robert Alexander.
My lords, my ladies.
“We bid all passengers and the first ones especially, the crew of the star princess a warm welcome.
May you enjoy your visit.”
In surveys gathered by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, passengers say they want to spend more time in the city.
So ships this season will be arriving earlier, and staying longer.
That’s echoed by some of the ship’s passengers, Mark and Ellen Boltmark.
“It was one of the considerations of choosing this cruise, is that it was in Victoria.
We like that.
We very much wanted to come to Victoria.”
With the season shaping up to surpass 2015’s bumper year, Tracy Zeisberger from Wilson’s Transportation says they are busy keeping up with all the staff they have to hire.
“We’re busy hiring numerous people.
We almost double our staff during the summer months.
And a large part of that is because of the cruise ship season.
We go from 95 to 180, 190 staff over the season.”
Each cruise ship generates $40,000 in direct spending.
The season winds up October 17th with the departure of the Westerdam.