Greater Victoria Harbour: 2019 Cruise Season Begins on Tuesday, April 16
The season includes a series of highlights and inaugural calls for the city, including the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, Azamara Quest, and Norwegian Joy, sister ship of the Norwegian Bliss. This year will also see an increase in full-day, mid-week calls. In addition, the city will welcome the eighth millionth cruise ship passenger in May 2019.
The terminal is set to welcome 700,000 passengers and close to 300,000 crew to Victoria during the seven-month season. The final ship to call to Victoria will be the Grand Princess on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. The detailed cruise schedule is available at www.GVHA.ca.
“The start of the season brings a flurry of exciting activity to all our cruise-related operations,” says Lindsay Gaunt, Director, Cruise Development, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “Everything from infrastructure upgrades and new paint to in-person transportation flow discussions with all our operators is required in advance of welcoming our first ship.”
This winter, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority continued its multi-year capital improvement project on three deep-water berths. Between November 2018 and March 2019, the organization completed: the installation of five new 200-tonne bollards used to tie up ship lines; construction of two additional information kiosks for volunteer greeters; an updated and enlarged facility for crew, sponsored and run by Lighthouse Ministries; and the installation of seagull deterrent netting on the warehouse roof.
Additional on-the-ground improvements include improved wayfinding for all visitors with an emphasis on pedestrian movement. In 2018, 30 per cent of cruise visitors chose to walk downtown from the terminal. A multi-platform promotional plan is in place to further encourage human-powered traffic. This will be tied in to a new pedestrian gateway that links the terminals to the street front.
In terms of bus transportation, PNW Transportation Services – the provider of shuttle and coach transportation to the terminal – has upgraded their fleet to include 18 single double-decker buses; this will allow for the handling of a greater volume of passengers while not increasing the number of buses that are moving off the terminal. GVHA has bus age requirements that are some of the strictest of any port of call worldwide. These requirements ensure that buses must meet the highest EPA (USA) standard, or 2010 for bus engine age. As of 2019, all buses on the terminal will have 2010 or newer engines.