Victoria cruise season concludes with record number of cruise visitors

The Ogden Point cruise ship terminal (Courtesy Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority will wrap up the 2023 cruise season on October 29 after welcoming 326 ships and 970,000 cruise visitors between April and October.

Despite three fewer ships arriving in Victoria this year compared to 2022, there were 26 per cent more cruise visitors due to higher ship occupancy.

“Welcoming close to one million cruise passengers to our incredible city and region positively impacts the visitor economy,” says Robert Lewis-Manning, CEO of GVHA. “We are grateful to the many local businesses, tour operators and cruise lines for making Victoria a vibrant destination.”

10 Millionth Cruise Visitor

Similar to 2022, Victoria celebrated a major cruise milestone. The City of Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto, Destination Greater Victoria Board Chair Darlene Hollstein and Robert Lewis-Manning, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, welcomed Victoria’s ten millionth cruise visitor(s). Two couples were the honorary ten millionth passengers: a couple from the UK travelling with their teenage daughter and a local Victoria couple enjoying their first cruise experience.

Hello and Farewell

Four ships celebrated their inaugural calls to Victoria this season: Carnival Luminosa, L’Austral, MS Insignia and Scenic Eclipse. GVHA welcomed each vessel with the traditional plaque exchange to mark the occasions.

Celebrity Solstice completed its final voyage to Victoria this summer. The ship has visited Victoria annually since 2013, bringing almost half a million visitors to Victoria. Celebrity Solstice will call to Vancouver in 2024. Celebrity Edge is a newer ship that will make her maiden voyage to Victoria in 2024.

“Victoria is a highly rated destination by cruise passengers,” said Lindsay Gaunt, GVHA’s director of cruise development. “Ship crew act as ambassadors for Victoria. With the demand for cruising to Alaska continuing to be very strong, Victoria remains a port of choice for cruise visitors. This demand will result in a continued positive economic impact of cruise to the Region.”

Economic Benefits

Based on the 2019 Economic Impact Study cruise visitors spend an average of $86. This includes approximately $23.7 million on tours and local transportation, $14.6 million on retail goods, and $6.7 million on food and beverages. Additionally, crew members who disembarked spend an average of $117, contributing a total of $11.4 million to the local economy. Finally, cruise lines expenditures contribute a total of $84 million on services such as transportation, warehousing, port fees, ship agents and stevedores.

The cruise industry generates direct employment of 807 annualized full-time and part-time employees paying $40.4 million in wage income. Combining business and income taxes, the direct cruise-related spending in Victoria generates $11.2 million in governmental tax payments.

Shore Power

In April 2023, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced a $9 million contribution towards shore power. This contribution is funding the development of schematic designs and the BC Hydro Interconnection Study.

Eighty-five percent of Cruise Line Industry Alliance members are fitted for shore power.

(Victoria cruise season concludes with record number of cruise visitors – Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)