Record cruise ship visits to the Port of Vancouver in 2022, as cruise returns to Canada’s west coast
Cruise ship occupancy rates increased throughout the year, as COVID-19 restrictions eased and consumer confidence in the industry returned
Vancouver, B.C.: The final cruise ship of the season will depart from the Port of Vancouver tomorrow, completing a comeback year for the local cruise industry, following a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The Port of Vancouver welcomed a record 307* cruise ship visits in 2022, an increase of 7%* compared to 2019.
“It’s been fantastic to see cruise ships and passengers back in town after the two-year pause through the height of the pandemic,” said Robin Silvester, president and CEO of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the federal agency mandated to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver. “This year’s cruise season was an impressive comeback story for a critical catalyst for the local tourism industry and it provided a much-needed boost for many regional tourism and hospitality businesses. I’d like to thank our cruise lines partners, the Canada Place services provider Ceres Terminals Canada, the Cruise Lines International Association and all those working throughout the cruise and tourism industry for their hard work and dedication supporting this year’s return, under the federal government’s health framework.”
While passenger numbers were lower in 2022, as expected, as people slowly returned to their pre-pandemic travel habits, occupancy levels gradually increased throughout the season and are projected to average approximately 70% for the year. This will mean approximately 815,000 passenger visits Vancouver in 2022, compared to approximately 1.1 million in 2019.
The Port of Vancouver has welcomed cruise passengers to Vancouver for more than 40 years. However, in March 2020, as part of its COVID-19 response, the Government of Canada prohibited cruise ships in Canadian waters. That prohibition was lifted in November 2021 and all remaining COVID-19-specific travel requirements were removed on October 1, 2022.
“Progressively during the season, passenger numbers on cruise ships calling at the Port of Vancouver have risen, as pandemic restrictions eased and consumer confidence bounced back,” Silvester said. “Looking ahead, we’re seeing early indications of a record-setting season in 2023, which is a testament to the enduring strength of Vancouver’s cruise industry and this year’s successful return.”
Based on preliminary bookings, in 2023 there will be 334 cruise ship visits to the Canada Place cruise terminal at the Port of Vancouver. If the industry operates in line with normal capacities once again, Vancouver could have a record 1.3 million cruise passenger visits in 2023.
“We are so excited to be cruising from Vancouver after COVID-19 induced a two-year pause,” said Charlie Ball, chair of Cruise Lines International Association Alaska and Canada Cruise. “We are extremely grateful for the close collaboration of Transport Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Border Services Agency and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority – which enabled us to once again sail from Canada Place and help show off the amazing natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. We look forward to an even bigger season in 2023.”
“The return of cruise ships to Canada Place kicked off the rebuilding of Vancouver’s visitor economy,” said Royce Chwin, president and CEO of Destination Vancouver. “When those ships were back in the harbour and visitors were streaming into the city once again, we knew the corner had been turned. And to have the number of ships calling at our port exceed the industry’s peak in 2019 is absolutely remarkable.”
As the port authority works alongside the broader port community to advance environmental practices across the Port of Vancouver, it commends the cruise industry for its focus on shore power and environmental sustainability. On more than 100 visits this year, cruise ships connected to shore power resulting in an estimated reduction of more than 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, up from 81 visits and 3,626 tonnes of emissions saved in 2019.
*The total number of cruise ship visits to Canada Place was revised from 306 to 307 on December 15, 2022, following final reconciliation of the data.
Highlights for 2022 cruise season
- In 2022, leading global cruise lines, the Port of Seattle, City and Borough of Juneau, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and industry partners signed a new commitment to explore the feasibility of the world’s first cruise-led “green corridor” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Cruise returned to the Port of Vancouver on April 10, 2022, with the inaugural visit of the Holland America Line ship Koningsdam
- The last cruise ship of the season, the Crown Princess, is scheduled to depart Canada Place on November 2, 2022
- Overall, the average cruise ship passenger occupancy for 2022 was almost 70%. Through the season occupancy increased to a peak of about 76% in summer after starting the year at below 50%.
- In 2022, nearly 70% of cruise calls were shore power enabled, compared to 50% in 2019. Demand for shore power has steadily increased since 2009, when the Port of Vancouver became the first port in Canada and the third in the world to introduce it. The technology enables ships to shut down their diesel-powered auxiliary engines and plug into land-based electrical power. Shore power at the Port of Vancouver has helped reduce port-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25,000 tonnes since 2009.
- The 2022 season included several new cruise lines coming to Vancouver including Aurora Expeditions, Lindblad Expeditions, Scenic Tours and Victory Cruise Lines
- Canada Place cruise terminal at the Port of Vancouver welcomed the return of Holland America, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Windstar, Viking Cruises, Victory Cruise Lines and Hurtigruten. These cruise lines all have ships that home port at the Port of Vancouver during the cruise season.
- Ten ships docked at Canada Place for the first time in 2022 including Discovery, Koningsdam, Majestic, Norwegian Spirit, Ocean Victory, Quantum, Scenic Eclipse, Silver Whisper, Star Breeze and the National Geographic Venture
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About the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Port of Vancouver
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency responsible for the stewardship of the Port of Vancouver. Like all Canada Port Authorities, we are accountable to the federal minister of transport, and operate pursuant to the Canada Marine Act with a mandate to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, while protecting the environment and considering local communities. The port authority is structured as a non-share corporation, is financially self-sufficient and does not rely on tax dollars for operations. Our revenues come from port terminals and tenants who lease port lands, and from port users who pay various fees such as harbour dues. Profits are reinvested in port infrastructure. The port authority has control over the use of port land and water, which includes more than 16,000 hectares of water, over 1,500 hectares of land, and approximately 350 kilometres of shoreline. Located on the southwest coast of British Columbia in Canada, the Port of Vancouver extends from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to and including Burrard Inlet, bordering 16 municipalities and intersecting the traditional territories and treaty lands of several Coast Salish First Nations. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo. Enabling the trade of approximately $240 billion in goods with more than 170 world economies, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.See All News
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