The last cruise ship of 2013 sailed out of Charlottetown Sunday, closing a record season.

The harbour hosted 68 ships, 17 more than last year. The season was set apart by more ships visiting in July and August, rather than the more traditional spring and fall arrivals.

Lobster dinner

Lobster dinner served up at Water Prince Corner shop (CBC)

Corryn Morrissey, marketing manager for the Charlottetown Harbour Authority, said tourism operators offering real P.E.I. experiences are making a difference in selling Charlottetown as a cruise ship destination.

"I think having that experiential product is really what will set us apart," said Morrissey.

Experiences like the lobster dinner offered up at the Water Prince Corner Shop, just a couple of blocks from the cruise ship dock. Owner Shane Campbell served up his last dinner Sunday, and has closed for the season.

"We would close probably a little bit sooner except for the cruise ship business," said Campbell.

"They're good to us, and we stay for the last one."

The Harbour Authority is pushing to get visitor numbers up. Morrissey said there will probably be fewer ships next year, but they will be bigger, and overall there will be more visitors.

"Those large ships, absolutely, we want to see them coming into the harbour," she said.

"It's pretty spectacular to see."

The Harbour Authority is still tallying their final numbers. It estimates 90,000 passengers arriving on the 68 ships this year, up from 67,000 in 2012, and they spent $10 million, up from $7.2 million last year.

For mobile device users: Did you notice a difference in Charlottetown with more cruise ships this year?