WATCH: Cruise season is nearly upon us, and it’s set to be an unprecedented year. Kori Sidaway has more on what records are being broken this year, and who is preparing to welcome those off the cruise ships.
The Emerald Princess cruise ship is a fish out of water.
It’s “on the hard” at the Esquimalt Graving Dock, getting repairs for what will be a big season ahead.
“There’s no doubt this year is going to be another record year,” says Lindsay Gaunt, director of cruise development at the Greater Vancouver Harbour Authority (GVHA).
Ogden Point is set to welcome a whopping one million people (including crew) this cruise season.
It’s a number that’s unprecedented.
“It will be a busy season!” says Gaunt.
“It’ll be more than last year, and we’ll see a lot of those extra ships coming in through the weekdays.”
Last year, Greater Victoria had 250 calls and 640,000 passengers. This year, they’re expecting more than 260 ships and 700,000 passengers, with crew rounding it up to 1 million.
Those numbers, make Victoria the busiest cruise ship port-of-call in all of Canada.
And to get ready for the season opener on Tuesday, April 16, the GVHA has been busy preparing.
“There will be more double deckers going off the terminal this summer,” says Gaunt.
“Which will mean we can move all this increase in passengers, but with the same or similar number of bus movements.”
But it’s the foot traffic that the GVHA really wants to encourage. And for the nearby fish and chip shop, Finest at Sea, people walking through is what they’d like to see.
“The food truck is very popular in the summer, and it’s just on the walk up from the boats,” says Rose Brewer, retail manager for Finest at Sea.
“You can see them come around this bend from the water here for sure,” she adds, gesturing to Ogden Point.
The cruise ships bring lineups of visitors to this true West Coast foodie haven.
“We keep track and notice quite a jump in business. It’s very significant,” says Brewer.
“People just coming in from all over, wanting that West Coast seafood to take home.”
And in true Victoria fashion, the food truck is ready to welcome everyone.
“We’re just pumped and ready to go!” says Brewer.
The cruise season out of Victoria Harbour is set to set sail Tuesday, April 16 until the end of October.