WATCH: What’s set to be a record-breaking cruise ship season is set to begin today. Mother Nature though, is not on board, as strong winds forcing the Holland America Westerdam to delay it’s approach. Kori Sidaway has the story.
High winds may have delayed the first cruise ship of the season from docking in Victoria until Wednesday evening, but this cruise year is still set to see the biggest wave of tourists yet.
?The rumours are true. It is a record-breaking year. We’re going to have over 245 cruise ships calls and more than 600,000 guests coming into the city, and 260,000 crew. It’s very exciting,? Lindsay Gaunt, with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, says.
That’s 20 more ships than last year and an increase of 50,000 visitors. It’s a surge in business, which leaves those who rely on it relieved to see the ships return to port.
?Probably 70 percent of my income comes from these cruise ships. It’s been a hard winter. We still work and do tours in the winter but it’s few and far between,? says Greg Weston, a driver for British American Luxury Limousine Service.
Victoria typically the last stop for cruises coming from Alaska. The Norwegian Bliss, on its maiden voyage, will be one of the ships stopping along the way. The mammoth ship comes complete with go-kart track.
And carrying 4,000 passengers, it’s also setting records.
?The Norwegian Bliss is not only the largest ship to come to Victoria, but also the largest ever dock in Alaska,” says Gaunt.
But, Victoria’s ports and businesses have limitations, leaving many to wonder if the harbour is close to capacity.
?We are not close to reaching capacity spread across the week. On Fridays and Saturday nights – we’re full. But there’s space on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for sure,? adds Gaunt.
Moving forward, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority will be looking to add more weekly, daytime ship arrivals to spread out those peak times. For people like Weston, this is good news, especially since this year is set to bring in $130 million to the region.