Vancouver's cruise ship season kicks off early with Hawaii sailings

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Image: Canada Place via Shutterstock

Vancouver’s cruise ship industry had an early start this season with the first cruise ship of the year, the Grand Princess, departing the Canada Place terminal on Sunday. The Princess Cruise vessel, one of the largest ships serving the Vancouver port, departed for Hilo, Hawaii instead of the more-popular Alaska routes.

According to Port Metro Vancouver, demand has steadily grown for this specific round-rip cruise itinerary, which is scheduled to arrive at the Hawaiian Islands on March 28 and then spend four days roaming around the Hawaiian Islands. The vessel will return to Vancouver April 6 to repeat the same itinerary before beginning its excursions to Alaska.

“We are very pleased to welcome the Grand Princess to Canada Place, commencing the 2015 cruise season and expanding on our already well-known Vancouver-Alaska cruise business,” reads a statement by Port Metro Vancouver president and CEO Robin Silvester.

“Thanks to Vancouver’s global appeal and the port’s world-class facilities and operations, cruise lines and passengers alike recognize the tremendous advantages of sailing in and out of Vancouver.”

grouse mountain vancouver skyline burrard inlet / shutterstock

SEE ALSO: All-time record number of visitors to Vancouver in 2014

The Port expects another strong year for the local cruise ship industry. In 2014, Port Metro Vancouver recorded more than 812,000 passengers on 235 calls by 29 cruise ships – a 22 per cent increase from 2012.

It is estimated that each cruise ship vessel brings in $2 million in local economic activity through passenger spends on hotels, restaurants, shopping and services as well as cash spent by the cruise ship companies on restocking their vessels with supplies.

Cruise ship passengers create about 283,000 hotel-night stays in Vancouver and over 440,000 across B.C. Their activity generates 6,000 direct and indirect jobs and $220 million in wages and tax revenues for all three levels of government.

Total overnight visitation in Vancouver reached a new record of 8.94 million in 2014, about 400,000 higher than 2013. Passenger numbers at Vancouver International Airport also soared to new heights with 19.36 million passengers recorded in 2014, an increase of about 1.39 million from the previous year.

Image: YVR Airport / Shutterstock

SEE ALSO: Vancouver International Airport passengers soar to record 19.36-million in 2014

This will be the first year the Port will not operate the East Vancouver Ballantyne Pier terminal in an effort to consolidate all of its cruise ship activities at Canada Place. The Port also won several awards at the recent Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami, receiving awards for Best Turnaround Destination, Most Efficient Port Facilities and Most Efficient Terminal Operation.

Canada Place is among the few terminals in the world to possess the capability for vessels to turn off their diesel engines and power up using the terminal’s shore power installation. By allowing vessels to connect to the electric grid, this effectively reduces marine air pollution in the region.

It is estimated that Canada Place’s shore power has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 11,000 tonnes since the infrastructure was first installed in 2009.

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