PEI

Summer cruise visits to Charlottetown cancelled

The cruise lines scheduled to visit Charlottetown Harbour in July and August have cancelled all their visits.

1st scheduled cruise visit now Sept. 5

The Zaandam was scheduled to visit Charlottetown nine times in 2020. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The cruise lines scheduled to visit Charlottetown Harbour in July and August have cancelled all their visits.

The federal government had previously prohibited cruise ships from visiting Canadian ports until at least July 1 as part of controlling the spread of COVID-19.

Just two different cruise lines were involved in the 14 visits scheduled in Charlottetown from July 1 to Sept. 2: Holland America and Princess Cruises. Both issued news releases Wednesday.

Holland America said in the light of concerns around travel it is cancelling all Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England cruises for 2020.

"As soon as it makes sense we will be back cruising again, giving our guests the memorable travel experiences they continue to dream about," said company president Orlando Ashford.

The cancellation to the end of the year for Holland America represents a further 11 visits that had been scheduled for September and October.

In its news release, Princess Cruises said it was extending its pause of global operations through to the end of the summer season.

As much as you try to prepare and plan it's still a sad day when you get the official announcement.— Corryn Clemence, Port Charlottetown

Seabourn also announced the cancellation of its three visits to Charlottetown in September and October.

The announcements make the first currently scheduled cruise visit to Charlottetown the Norwegian Pearl on Sept. 5. Norwegian Cruises has not posted a news release to its site since March 23.

Years building the industry

Corryn Clemence, cruise development communications and brand manager with Port Charlottetown, said the cancellations represent about 70,000 passengers that had been scheduled to visit Charlottetown, roughly half.

Founders Food Hall and Market may also have to adapt somehow, because it was designed to serve cruise ship passengers. (Sean Patrick Young/CBC)

Clemence said the announcements are not a surprise, but she heard at the same time as everyone else late Wednesday.

"As much as you try to prepare and plan it's still a sad day when you get the official announcement," she said.

"We've spent many years trying to grow the cruise industry here."

The cancellations will have a major impact on a lot of small operators who offered tours to cruise ship passengers, she added.

In the meantime, Clemence is working on how to develop other opportunities along Charlottetown's Waterfront, including Founders Food Hall and Market, which is currently closed due to COVID-19. 

Port Charlottetown understands there is going to be a new normal when the pandemic ends, Clemence said, and is trying to make plans for that.

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