Charlottetown cruise industry enjoys busy season despite cancellations

Charlottetown’s cruise season wrapped up with one of its best years on record, port officials say.

Season wraps up with a 31% increase in passengers over 2016

The Disney Magic was one of five cruise ships that came to Charlottetown for the first time in 2017. (Shane Ross/CBC)

Charlottetown's cruise season wrapped up with one of its best years on record, port officials say.

Approximately 90,000 passengers and 40,000 crew members visited the city — a 31 per cent increase over last year, Les Parsons, CEO of Port Charlottetown, said in a written release.

The numbers would have been higher had several cruise ships not cancelled because of the weather and new speed restrictions put in place to protect right whales.

"The debarkation in Charlottetown is one of the highest in the region, and that tells us the demand is here for visiting lines," Parsons said.

"In addition to a high debarkation, we also have one of the highest passenger spends, which is great news for Island businesses."

Five cruise ships —  the Silver Muse, Vision of the Seas, Mein Schiff 6, Disney Magic and Norwegian Jade — made inaugural calls to Charlottetown in 2017.

Upgrades at port

Port Charlottetown recently completed a $3-million project to enhance and support the cruise industry and other business at the port. It included dedicated bus lanes, a taxi loading area, as well as a revitalized welcome terminal and pedestrian plaza.

"We want the public to enjoy the port as much as visiting passengers and crew do and this was a great chance for us to showcase the improvements made to the waterfront," said Corryn Clemence, business development manager for the port.

Port officials say they are anticipating another strong year in 2018.