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Ships ahoy! Cruise ships eye return to Charlottetown Spring 2022

·2 min read
Charlottetown doesn't know the expected passenger numbers yet for 2022 — but in 2019 roughly 130,000 people came on cruise ships. (Laura Meader/CBC  - image credit)
Charlottetown doesn't know the expected passenger numbers yet for 2022 — but in 2019 roughly 130,000 people came on cruise ships. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

It's been about two years since cruise ships last docked in Charlottetown and now the local port authority is preparing for a comeback.

The first ship is scheduled to arrive mid April and 75 ships are booked for next year. Port authorities say cruises are sailing to other parts of the world successfully.

Many companies are asking for vaccination records and proof of a negative COVID test to board.

"I think it's going to go very smoothly, we're doing all of our protocol development right now and, you know, it's restarted globally worldwide, so there's a lot of best practices out there in the industry of how cruise has resumed," Charlottetown Harbour Authority CEO Mike Cochrane said.

"You can not contain the excitement … we're really looking forward to restarting cruise in 2022."

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

'Shop owners love to see them'

Charlottetown doesn't know the expected passenger numbers yet for 2022 — but in 2019 roughly 130,000 people came on cruise ships.

With all those people came a lot of money.

The Island lost about $42 million during the nearly two-year ban, Cochrane said. Local businesses are keen to welcome ships back too, especially downtown.

"They absolutely bring business to downtown. It's great to see them on the street for foot traffic, and the shop owners love to see them … I think when the cruise passengers arrive in the spring of 2022 we're going to celebrate that," executive director of Downtown Charlottetown Inc. Dawn Allen said.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

A whole segment for Charlottetown's shopkeepers cater specifically to cruise ship passengers, Allen said.

"They come early and they stay late, when maybe our regular tourism would drop off," she said.

The Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. said it's looking forward to the return of the ships.

"The cruise sector reaches many of our rural areas and supports so many of our small operators across the Island. With two full seasons of no cruise, this sector has suffered at all levels of the cruise supply chain," CEO Corryn Clemence said in a statement to the CBC.

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