Record Charlottetown cruise season expected to boost fall tourism

Port Charlottetown is preparing for its biggest cruise ship season, with the number of passengers visiting in 2018 expected to top 100,000 for the first time.

94 cruise ship visits scheduled

The MS Veendam has been a regular visitor to Charlottetown for years. (Submitted by Taylor Rush)

Port Charlottetown is preparing for its biggest cruise ship season, with the number of passengers visiting in 2018 expected to top 100,000 for the first time.

More than 110,000 passengers are expected in 94 cruise ship visits, a 28 per cent increase over the 2017 season.

Corryn Clemence, business development manager for the port, said that increase in traffic helps Island tourism into fall.

"To have this size of vessel coming in almost daily into September and October is great for the local operators, restaurants, and we see a lot of these tour products outside of the city," said Clemence.

Corryn Clemencem, business development manager of The Port of Charlottetown. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We are really lucky in the sense that these passengers come in for the full day and they have the opportunity to see the city as well as the rural parts of Prince Edward Island, so it has a great trickle effect across the Island."

Clemence said many of the vessels have been to Charlottetown before but there will be nine ships visiting for the first time.

The port had hoped to pass the 100,000-passenger mark in 2017, but several visits were cancelled due to weather and a speed limit imposed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect endangered right whales. Still, the 90,000 passengers that did visit were a 31 per cent increase over 2016.

The cruise ship season will begin May 2 and continue until early November.