Victoria’s Ogden Point Cruise Terminal wraps successful 2018 cruise season

The Ogden Point cruise ship terminal (Courtesy Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)The final cruise ship call at the Ogden Point Cruise Terminal in Victoria, BC will take place on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, capping a season that witnessed a series of milestones and records for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA).

From the season launch on April 11 to the final call this coming weekend, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) welcomed close to 640,000 passengers and 260,000 crew on 250 ship calls. A highlight of the season was the June 1, 2018 inaugural call of the new Norwegian Cruise Lines flagship, Norwegian Bliss, built specifically to serve the growing Alaskan cruise market.

“Norwegian Cruise Lines, along with the other 11 cruise lines that visited this season, consistently rank Victoria’s Ogden Point Cruise Terminal as a port of call that is welcoming, easy to work with, and focused on sustainability and environmental improvements,” says Lindsay Gaunt, Director, Cruise Development, GVHA.

Larger ships, such as the Norwegian Bliss, mean the movement of more people per call; the net increase of adding the Norwegian Bliss to the Alaskan cruise itinerary resulted in about 1,500 more passengers visiting Victoria on Friday afternoons.

Continuous improvement to operations at Ogden Point, including transportation and wayfinding, has allowed for enhanced movement of passengers and crew. With more than 30 per cent of passengers walking to and from the cruise terminal to points in downtown Victoria, GVHA worked with the City of Victoria on streamlined wayfinding signage and maps. Passengers choosing to travel to and from the terminal were welcomed by expanded human-powered transportation options including pedi-cabs, rickshaws, and bike rentals.

“Cruise ship travel is an integral component of the Greater Victoria tourism industry” says Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria. “Research informs us that many cruise passengers are introduced to Greater Victoria for the first time on a cruise and then return for a longer land-based vacation. The passengers that disembark at Ogden Point also support our restaurants and attractions, as well as bring a life and vitality to the downtown core. Congratulations to the GVHA on an outstanding year.”

In preparation for the arrival of the Norwegian Bliss, terminal improvements were undertaken to install new bollards at Pier A South to safely and steadily secure the 168,000-tonne vessel. GVHA’s terminal management partner Western Stevedoring added new lighting at Pier B to improve safety and energy efficiency, as well as reduce light pollution.

GVHA team members are already working on further terminal improvements for 2019, which includes the lengthening of the Pier B mooring dolphin, which will accommodate docking of the Royal Caribbean International Ovation of the Seas at the deep-water facility. In addition to welcoming the Ovation of the Seas, the terminal will also see the arrival of new cruise lines to the market including Azamara and the return after more than 20 years of Cunard.

In response to the positive reaction from its guests, Norwegian Cruise Lines is repositioning the Norwegian Joy, sister ship of the Norwegian Bliss, on the Seattle to Alaska route in 2019, with a weekly call scheduled for Saturdays from June to October.

The 2018 Victoria cruise ship season by the numbers:

– 250 ship calls
– 12 different cruise lines
– 640,000 passengers
– 260,000 crew
– 1,069 feet – length of the Norwegian Bliss
– $130 million – estimated economic contribution to the regional economy
– 800 direct jobs

(Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)