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'There were a lot of surprises': Vancouver port sees record cruise numbers


The Port of Vancouver is saying goodbye to its last cruise ship of 2023 after a record-breaking season.

The port is reporting a record 1.25 million passengers, which is a 54-per-cent increase compared to last year.

The data released Tuesday also shows between the months of April and October, there were 332 cruise ships arriving at Canada Place.

This year was the first full season without any COVID-19-related restrictions since 2019.

“There were a lot of surprises," said Capt. Shri Madiwal of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

"During the cruise season during the pandemic we had early COVID cases on cruise ships, so it was a really cautious approach … There are a large amount of passengers on board and everyone wants to stay healthy and safe.”

Madiwal thanked the port's health partners in all levels of government for their support and guidance during the pandemic.

The growing demand for cruises saw occupancy rates return to pre-pandemic form, with boats being, on average, 95 per cent full.

Now, the industry is focusing on next season, where early projections show the interest in taking a cruise is on pace with 2023.

“It really became about understanding what things would be like when we returned,” said Beth Bodensteiner, chief commercial officer for Holland America Cruises.

“We have seen a a big difference in guest behaviour.”

The Holland America cruise ship leaving the dock in Vancouver Tuesday will embark on a journey to San Diego before returning in the spring. Top Stories

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