First cruise ship of the season arrives in Victoria

CHEK

The first cruise ship of 2024 has arrived in Victoria.

The Norwegian Bliss docked at the Breakwater District at Ogden Point around noon Wednesday, carrying more than 4,000 passengers.

“It’s the first of over 300 ships that will be coming to Victoria this cruise ship season. It’s just the heralding of a fantastic summer of enormous numbers of people that are coming here,” said Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto.

The ship’s arrival is the beginning of a critical time for the city’s economy.

“Many local businesses are just excited about tourists coming back to the city,” according to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GHVA) CEO Robert Lewis-Manning.

“On a good weekend day, we can see 10,000 people all at once, and they wanna have an experience of Victoria,” he told CHEK News.

The sound of drums welcomed the mammoth ship with Lək̓ʷəŋən traditional dancers and Chief Jerome Thomas of Xʷsepsəm Nation granting permission to crews and passengers to come ashore.

“They try to capture a bit of everything on the water and on land. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they would also love to know the history of our people,” said Chief Thomas.

The GVHA anticipates 315 ship calls and more than 900,000 visitors this cruise season, just shy of the record 970,000 who arrived between April and October of last year.

The Norwegian Bliss is berthed at the Breakwater District port for about 10 hours, during which time cruise guests can visit the region’s attractions and explore local shops and cuisine.

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