A bustling summer tourism season for Victoria will see the last cruise ship of the 2013 season set sail this Monday, September 30, following the unexpected addition of the Westerdam to the Ogden Point cruise ship schedule. The departure of the Holland America Line ship wraps up another busy cruise ship season at Victoria’s port.
In total, 206 cruise ships will have called at Ogden Point in 2013, bringing over 450,000 passengers and 150,000 crew to port.
The Celebrity Solstice was a new visitor to Ogden Point this year, and the largest regular weekly caller in Victoria’s history. The ship carries more than 3,000 passengers and almost 1,000 crew per visit.
The steady season allowed Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) to fine-tune shore services. A new model for the cruise shuttle service was offered, with stops on Government Street and at the Steamship Terminal and Fisherman’s Wharf. The core service was operated with transit buses where possible to reduce noise and emissions and improve accessibility for passengers with mobility challenges. Walking to downtown was also promoted through GVHA’s cruise passenger map and interactive material.
“We recognize that increased passenger volumes at the terminal bring with it the potential for increased impacts to the community,” said GVHA’s President & CEO Curtis Grad. “Testing new transportation solutions is part of our commitment to managing growth. We’re committed to ensuring Victoria’s cruise industry is sustainable and continues to bring broad economic benefits to the region.”
The end of the cruise ship season in Victoria does not mean a quiet winter for the Ogden Point terminal. Both deep-sea piers are used to moor visiting research vessels, offload yachts and clean the holds of cargo ships to meet regulations for taking on new cargoes at other ports. Ogden Point is also home port to the Wave Venture, a marine cable repair vessel serving the Pacific Rim region.
So far in 2013, tourism numbers for Victoria have been up from 2012, with June and July reports from Chemistry Consulting showing welcome increases in room occupancy, ferry traffic and conference attendees.