PEI

Port Charlottetown looks to manage crowds in another record cruise season

Port Charlottetown is set to smash the record set last year for the number of visiting cruise ship passengers with a potential increase of 50 per cent.

Close to 150,000 passengers expected this year

Port Charlottetown is expecting larger ships this year. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada)

Port Charlottetown is set to smash the record set last year for the number of visiting cruise ship passengers with a potential increase of 50 per cent.

The cruise season runs from May 1 to Nov. 4, with 99 ship visits scheduled carrying more than 146,000 passengers. Last year's season fell just short of 100,000 passengers.

Corryn Clemence, business development manager for Port Charlottetown, said a lot of the difference comes from Holland American using bigger vessels this year.

Cruise lines are expanding their offerings in Charlottetown, says Corryn Clemence. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

"Holland America, when you look at the bulk of our calls here in Charlottetown, they make up almost half of our business, so that contributes a lot to that overall passenger count," said Clemence.

Norwegian Cruise Lines has doubled its visits, and the biggest ever cruise ship in Charlottetown is booked to dock in early October. MSC Meraviglia has 4,500 passengers, almost 1,000 more than the Royal Princess, which visited last year.

Learning from experience

With more passengers comes the task of handling bigger crowds.

The port has learned from the experience of previous years, Clemence said, including two four-ship days last fall.

Last fall, during a 4-ship visit day, there were long lines to see Green Gables. (Mitch Cormier/CBC)

"We've had those vessels stagger their arrival, which helped with the departure of tours so we were able to stagger the arrival of the buses at Green Gables, for example," she said.

"We didn't see quite the congestion that we have in the past with those tours."

Clements said upgrades Parks Canada is doing at Green Gables are designed to help, and shore excursion providers have also added other tours to provide more options.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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