Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Inaugural port call for Celebrity Century brings 2013 Cruise season to an end

The winds and rain of late September provided the exclamation mark for the end of the 2013 Cruise Season on the North Coast, the tail end of the weekend storm offering the background for the inaugural visit of the Celebrity Century.

As it pulled into Prince Rupert Harbour on Monday morning for it's debut port visit to the city, the Century marked the largest of the vessels to call at the Prince Rupert Cruise Terminal this year.

The Century arrived shortly before 8 AM and as the day progressed, a number of the 1,800 passengers on board took advantage of some of the planned excursions of the North Coast, with buses departing at frequent intervals to showcase some of the city's offerings.

A fair volume of others, braved the occasional rain and gusts of wind and took to the streets of the city to take in the sights of the Cow Bay area, as well as the stretch of the city along 2nd and 3rd Avenues. They also it would seem took advantage of a few of the larger shopping options to stock up on a number of items and take advantage of the free WiFi at the local Safeway.

The arrival of the large ship provided a glimpse back to a few years ago, when the giant cruise ships made a weekly arrival at the Cruise Terminal.

Since those days, the cruise industry on the North Coast has tended to service more of a niche market of late, with the port calls of this year providing for a smaller vessels and a smaller volume of passengers to tour the city.

This year offered up another step towards a return to the more frequent port calls, with nine scheduled port visits put on the calendar, the first vessel arrived on June 15th, providing for an opportunity for local cruise proponents to keep the city on the cruise industry horizon.

There still however would appear to be work ahead to return the city to a more prominent place on the itineraries of the cruise lines that travel up and down the British Columbia and Alaska coastline, of the nine vessel calls this year, none took place in August, a key month for tourism.

And by comparison with the giant industry (and the volume of port visits) that has entrenched itself in neighbouring Ketchikan, Prince Rupert is still very much off the charted course of the Alaska cruise industry.

With the season now at an end, those looking to keep the Cruise Industry an active part of the summer scene will look at how the past season went and what can be done to improve the visitor experience.

Making contact with the various cruise lines of the region will also no doubt be a part of their off season agenda, looking to secure more port visits and hopefully from more vessels such as the Century.

The importance of the larger cruise lines to a successful cruise season is easily reviewed, especially when you consider that the Century delivered more visitors in one windy and wet afternoon in September, than what the first three port visits combined this year provided in total.

You can review some of the items of note from the past season from our Cruise Industry archive page.

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