by Kelly Whiteside
This year, Nanaimo hosted three cruise ships, including the Celebrity Infinity on June 5, the Silver Shadow on July 15, and the Celebrity Solstice on September 21.
After this successful tourist season, six cruise ships were scheduled to visit Nanaimo in 2016. The decision to double the number of cruise ships stopping by the harbour city came after a change in cruise ship destinations from Mexico to Alaska, as well as the drop in the Canadian dollar value.
Visiting vessels will include the Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Explorer of the Sea in May, Celebrity Cruise Lines’ Celebrity Infinity and Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity in August, Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice in September, and Princess Cruises’ Star Princess in October.
As Nanaimo welcomed Celebrity Solstice for the second time on September 21, news of the two additional cruise calls was announced. This will bring the total number of cruise ships from six to eight in 2016.
“I feel that this is recognition for the Central Island’s solid cruise programme and our work with our local community partners, the DNBIA, Tourism Nanaimo, and others to make all calls consistently exceptional,” said Bernie Dumas, president and CEO of Nanaimo Port Authority.
David Mailloux, Nanaimo Port Authority spokesman credits marketing efforts with the cruise lines and promotion at the Seatrade Conference in Fort Lauderdale for the rise in interest. “We’re new on the block and have to show how distinctive we are as a destination,” he said.
For every cruise call, Tourism Nanaimo staff greets passengers as they arrive. Passengers are given the change to take a photo with the RCMP in their red serge, and they are given information about the canon firings at the Bastion. There are shuttle buses that transport passengers from the terminal to museums, galleries, eateries, and markets where they can enjoy tours or other activities organized by the DNBIA and local volunteers.