It was a momentous day for The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority when the port’s 10 millionth cruise passenger debarked from a Cunard ship. The British Columbia port is 75 miles southwest of the larger cruise port of Vancouver, and is a popular port call for ships sailing Alaska itineraries.
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth was part of a milestone ceremony at The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) as it delivered the British Columbia port’s 10 millionth cruise guest on August 16, 2023. The ship docked at the port’s Ogden Point, also known as the Breakwater District, which accommodates ships at four deepwater berths.
In a celebratory event at the port, two couples disembarked the ship and were presented with a gift courtesy of the port’s Bay Centre. Industry guests and local VIPs attended the presentation.
One of the honored cruise guests, Emma Lonergan of the UK, told attendees that she and her husband booked the cruise to mark their 14th anniversary and were renewing their vows on the ship.
Victoria is the capital city of the province of British Columbia, and is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. GVHA welcomed its first cruise ship 54 years ago, in 1969, and has flourished over the decades, reaping many financial benefits.
Today, cruise guests and crew members contribute $56 million per year to the regional economy through shore excursions and tours, local transportation, and by spending money at shops and restaurants.
The cruise industry also adds revenue, with an annual $84 million spent on port charges and docking fees plus warehouse agreements, ship agent contracts, and other services.
“Ten million cruise visitors to Victoria is an incredible milestone. Cruise supports the region’s visitor economy and creates jobs that support Victoria’s economic recovery,” said Robert Lewis-Manning, CEO of GVHA.
“Engineers, entrepreneurs, accountants, mechanics and others are employed due to cruise tourism in Victoria, with salaries totaling over $40 million annually,” he added.
Victoria was among the British Columbia ports that were hit with labor strikes earlier this summer, however, cruise operations were not affected.
Along with Cunard, virtually every major cruise line includes Victoria as a port call on Alaska-bound cruises. A review of the port’s cruise schedule shows upcoming calls by ships from Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and others.
Victoria is known for providing several exciting shore excursion and tour options, including to Craigdarroch Castle, a Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion, and the stunning Butchart Gardens. Both venues are designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
The port town and its environs also have vibrant cultural and arts communities, and sport Victorian-era architecture.
“Victoria is a world-class city because it has something for everyone, from natural beauty, heritage and architecture to fabulous dining options and a warm community,” said Matt Gleaves, Vice President-Commercial, of Cunard North America.
“It is a much-loved highlight of Cunard’s voyages in this part of the world and holds great appeal for Cunard’s guests as well as from our sister brands across our corporation,” added Gleaves.
Queen Elizabeth’s port call at Victoria appears to be the ship’s final visit in 2023, as the line’s Alaska season comes to a close. Her next cruise, a 16-night Panama Canal sailing, departs August 20, 2023 from San Francisco and sails to Fort Lauderdale.
A transatlantic cruise follows, as the 2,081-guest ship repositions to Barcelona for a series of fall cruises in the Mediterranean.
Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne, is under construction and due to enter service in May 2024. The line recently revealed some of the new dining venues Queen Anne will feature, such as Japanese and Indian-themed eateries, plus Sir Samuel’s Steakhouse.
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