One of only two cruise ships set to stop in Nanaimo this year arrived Thursday afternoon.
The Azamara Quest was a welcome sight for those waiting for its arrival in Nanaimo. With 670 passengers ,it was the first time the vessel has stopped in the city.
“I love them coming in. I think it’s great,” said Susan Bird, a Nanaimo resident.
“People need to experience Nanaimo. We’ve got a lot to offer here.”
The smaller Silver Explorer was also scheduled to visit Thursday but it was damaged when it got entangled with a fishing net in the Bering Sea.
“They had to pull the vessel into dry dock in Vancouver,” said David Mailloux of Nanaimo Port Authority.
“They had to cancel that particular itinerary for this week leading up to today so certainly a disappointment because June 16, we had the Silver Muse in and the passengers were very happy, very delighted with what they experienced here.”
It leaves Nanaimo with just two cruise ship visits when Victoria and Vancouver are experiencing a record number of stops.
In March, the Nanaimo Port Authority claimed a malicious letter was sent to the cruise ship industry two years ago claiming Nanaimo’s facilities were unsafe and that led to this year’s slow season.
But the port authority says it’s working hard to attract more cruise ships.
“We’re open for more business and we continue to tell them that,” said Mailloux.
“We go to the shows that you’re supposed to be at and you need to be at. We keep the message really positive and Vancouver Island is such a great product.”
On Thursday, more than 20 volunteers will help welcome and give travel tips to passengers.
“We hope more and more cruise ships come in every time. It’s a wonderful economic stimulus and we have a lot to show off here. It’s a beautiful city,” said Dave Annis, a volunteer.
The port authority says seven cruise ships are slated to visit next year and it says with the growing industry, the city is positioned well as more people cruising in the Pacific Northwest want to experience different cities.