British Columbia’s Port of Vancouver Launches Cruise Season

The Port of Vancouver’s Canada Place cruise terminal. Photo: Port of Vancouver.

The 2022 cruise season at the Port of Vancouver launched in April with the inaugural visit of the Holland America Line ship Koningsdam to the port’s Canada Place cruise terminal.

“We’re delighted to welcome cruise back to the Port of Vancouver after what has been a long two years,” said Robin Silvester, president and CEO of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the federal agency mandated to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver.

The Port of Vancouver has welcomed cruise passengers to Vancouver for more than 40 years. However, in March 2020, as part of its COVID-19 response, the Government of Canada prohibited cruise ships in Canadian waters. That prohibition was lifted in November 2021.

In preparation for the return of cruise, the port authority, along with cruise lines and industry partners, worked with Transport Canada to follow federal government guidance on the latest public health plans and regulations.

Under federal requirements, cruise passengers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and test negative for COVID-19 before boarding ship.

“A tremendous amount of care and consideration has gone into planning this restart, under our federal health framework, to help ensure the safety of passengers, crew and the community,” Silvester said.

Vancouver has been a leading homeport for cruises to Alaska for more than 35 years, and is the only homeport to offer both one-way and round-trip itineraries through Canada’s scenic Inside Passage. This year, more than 300 cruise ships are expected to call at the Port of Vancouver, representing an increase of about 8% in cruise ship visits from 2019, according to port data.

“The return of cruise ships to Canada is a significant milestone in restarting our economy and reopening our tourism sector,” federal Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said. “Our government has been working closely alongside partners during these challenging times, and I appreciate the time and energy from all partners on improving and innovating operations for a safe restart.”

“We look forward to welcoming cruise ships and travelers back to Canada and to our continued collaboration with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to support the tourism industry,” he said.

“The return of the Holland America Line to the Port of Vancouver is an important milestone for tourism and for (the British Columbia) economy,” Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Melanie Mark said. “We are excited cruise bookings for 2022 include 600 scheduled calls in Vancouver and Victoria.”

In 2019, each cruise ship that called at Canada Place generated an estimated $3.17 million in direct economic activity and the industry generated $2.2 billion in total economic impact that year.

“Seeing cruise ships return to Canada Place is the surest sign that Vancouver’s visitor economy is rebounding and rebuilding, said Royce Chwin, president and CEO of tourism industry supporter Destination Vancouver. “The cruise industry has such a significant impact on local businesses and supports so many jobs – what a long two years it’s been for everyone whose livelihood has been affected by the absence of ships in the harbor. It’s gratifying how closely all of the partners have worked together to ensure a safe start to the season.”

“We are thrilled to be the first cruise line back into Canada after such a long absence, and we look forward to celebrating a great moment for everyone who loves to travel and for those in Canada and Alaska whose livelihoods depend on tourism,” Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha said. “Making it extra special is the debut of Koningsdam at Vancouver to sail a cruise to Hawaii and then a season of Alaska departures.”