Have you ever been on a cruise ship?
Despite being a port city, most Vancouverites haven't dipped their toes into the ocean of cruising -- and that's not for lack of opportunities.
While the pandemic slowed sailings into the Canada Place cruise terminal to a halt in 2020, Holland America Line brought the first vessel with passengers back into Canadian waters in April 2022.
This year, the Port of Vancouver expects to see a record number of guests sail into the cruise terminal, with each ship generating an average of almost $3 million for the local economy, according to its figures.
Three-hundred-and-thirty-one ships are scheduled to visit Canada Place between April 12 and Oct. 12, which is nearly an eight per cent increase over 2022. The final ship of the season, Holland America Line's Pinnacle Class Koningsdam, will depart from the terminal on Oct. 24.
Mandy Chan, manager of cruise services for the Port of Vancouver, said that number of sailings may "translate to about 1.3 million passengers," which would be a record figure. The last time the port had numbers that high was back when there were two cruise terminals.
"2022 saw a gradual return of passengers so that by the end of the season we felt it was sort of a pre-pandemic situation," she told V.I.A. "People are back and they are excited to be cruising.
"It is a huge economic generator and the tourism industry really benefits from these pre- and post-stays."
Holland America Line makes a splash with Vancouver cruise to Alaska
Holland America Line's Erik Elvejord was at Canada Place terminal on Tuesday (May 2) for part of the company's 150th anniversary and to mark its 76th season of cruising in Alaska.
For the 2023 season, more than 158,000 guests will cruise with Holland America Line out of Vancouver. Many of these cruises will offer a return trip to Alaska from Vancouver, while others depart from the city and end in Alaska.
Elvejord sat down with V.I.A. on board the Noordam, which is a Vista-class, five-star ship with two swimming pools, a live theatre, mini-golf, renowned spa treatments, a basketball court, a tennis court, a jogging track, and a pickleball court. In fact, Holland is now the official cruise line of the Professional Pickleball Association.
There's also an impressive variety of "museum quality art on the ship" worth about 2.5 million, Elvejord explained, adding that it "makes it a beautiful classic ship."
Holland delivers a premium cruise product with high-end entertainment, attentive service, beautiful accommodation, and upscale dining options for a very reasonable price. As such, customers enjoy a traditional and refined onboard experience without the costs associated with luxury cruise lines, he added.
But Holland's staff are the best part of cruising with the company, said Elejord.
"The biggest thing people say about is, 'I can't believe that the folks remembered my name. I cruised five years ago and they still remembered."
Famous for its live entertainment, jazz and blues fans will enjoy inspired performances in the B.B. Kings Blues Club. Fans of traditional cruising will also enjoy dressing up on gala nights when guests sport their finest formal attire.
In addition to the main dining room, there is also a casual option on the Lido Deck and a couple of fine dining options: the Pinnacle Grill and the Canaletto Restaurant. For burgers or hot dogs at lunch, the Dive-In offers mouthwatering eats for hungry cruisers until 6 p.m.
Guests may also order food into their rooms at any time of the day.
Check out a video of the massive ship at Canada Place in Vancouver.
@thewanderervia Check out this epic cruise ship in #vancouverbc 🤩 #traveltiktok #cruiseship #vancouverlife ♬ original sound - the wanderer
With a file from Glen Korstrom.