British Columbia’s Port of Vancouver has wrapped up its busiest cruise season on record, according to data released by the port Oct. 23.
The final cruise ship of the 2023 season, Holland America Line’s Koningsdam, departed the Canada Place cruise terminal at the Port of Vancouver in late October, marking the end of a robust year for the local cruise industry.
The Port of Vancouver welcomed an estimated 1.25 million passengers in 2023, a new record and a 54% increase compared to 2022. This includes 15 of Canada Place’s 20 busiest days ever for cruise passengers, all occurring in the past six months, data show.
There were 332 cruise ship calls between April and October 2023, a new record for the Canada Place cruise terminal and an increase of 9% compared to 307 visits in 2022, according to the figures.
“Cruise returned to Vancouver emphatically this year after several seasons impacted by the global pandemic—with 2023 seeing record passenger numbers, near-record cruise ship visits and the Canada Place terminal getting further international recognition as a world-class cruise facility,” said Peter Xotta, vice president of operations and supply chain at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the federal agency overseeing trade through the British Columbia port.
Cruise ship occupancy rates, which are a measure of how full each visiting ship is, averaged 95% for the season and peaked at an average of 96% over the summer, as occupancy rates returned to pre-pandemic levels. This year was the first full season without any COVID-19 related restrictions, following the gradual easing of federal travel restrictions in 2022.
“The cruise sector’s strong performance this year has been a critical catalyst for the local tourism and hospitality industries, supporting countless local jobs and businesses,” Xotta said.
The Canada Place cruise terminal at the Port of Vancouver was recently recognized as North America’s Leading Cruise Port 2023
by World Travel Awards and North America’s Best Cruise Terminal in the World Cruise Awards.
Xota said that indications based on preliminary bookings are that the 2024 cruise season will see a similar number of cruise ship visits as 2023.