For the first time since 2013, cruise ship passengers arrived in Port Alberni.
Holland America Line’s MS Maasdam arrived in the Alberni Inlet Saturday morning giving more than 1,700 passengers and crew a chance to see what the Alberni Valley has to offer.
“We’ve pulled out the stops to make sure they feel very welcome in the community and we’ve given them a range of excursions that they haven’t had from Port Alberni before,” said Pat Deakin, Port Alberni’s Economic Development Manager.
Those six outings include a local foods tour and a city excursion.
Port Alberni’s mayor says she hopes today’s visit will encourage more cruise lines to make stops in the city.
“It’s incredibly exciting to have a cruise ship in Port Alberni again. I think it’s something the community has really wanted for a long time and you can tell by the number of our community members out how excited we are to see the ship here so it’s an exciting day in our community,” said Sharie Minions.
A cruise ship representative says for many people who like cruising the Pacific Northwest, Port Alberni is a novelty.
“Port Alberni offered them something that some of the larger ports didn’t. They wanted a more intimate experience. For a vessel like Maasdam is was perfect for them and their itinerary,” said Steve Hnatco, General Manager of Cruise Operations for West Coast Agencies.
Numerous cruise ship passengers said they were enjoying their Port Alberni experience so far.
“I like it. It’s a neat little place,” said Fred Carnal, a cruise ship passenger from Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.
“This is our first time here of course but it’s different. That’s why we took this cruise. Some different places to go.”
The Maasdam will be stopping in Port Alberni two more times this year. Port Alberni is day 19 during a 21-day itinerary for a cruise that goes from San Franciso to Alaska and back.
Holland America has no stops planned for Port Alberni next year but the company is still considering its plans for the year after.