Canadian Cruise Port Ends Season With Great Success

Port Saint John saw great growth in 2023 and amazing firsts for the popular eastern Canadian cruise destination.

Port Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada has ended its cruise season with amazing numbers and fantastic economic impact. The year saw several great highlights, and the upcoming 2024 cruise season may see further growth and development of cruise travel in the region.

Season Ends in Port Saint John

The cruise season officially ended in Port Saint John, New Brunswick, on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, with the departure of Oceania Cruises’ Insignia, the last vessel of the year. The season had begun with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic Inspiration on May 7.

In total, 74 ship visits brought 172,193 cruise guests and 71,824 crew members through the port. While these numbers are slightly below the predicted 86 ship calls expected at the beginning of the season, they still represent a 16.4% increase over 2022 numbers.

This healthy growth shows great economic recovery and stability for cruise tourism in the region, as well as ever-growing interest in more unique cruise destinations and itineraries.

To bolster the port’s reputation and convenience for guests and crew members alike, Port Saint John began a “Welcome Crew” program, including a dedicated Crew Lounge to offer respite for crew members enjoying their time ashore. Furthermore, the Area 506 Waterfront Container Village continues to astonish visitors with its overall innovation, pop-up shops, live music, and dynamic atmosphere.

Other highlights of the season include nine ships celebrating inaugural calls to the port, four overnight visits, seven days with three ships in port at once, and nine days with two ships visiting simultaneously.

Port of Saint John
Port of Saint John

The 2023 season also included the largest single ship day in Port Saint John history as Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas – one of the largest cruise ships in the world – brought 5,931 guests and 2,113 crew members for a visit on May 30.

“We’re delighted with the results of this cruise season,” said Natalie Allaby, Director of Cruise Excellence at Port Saint John. “We’d like to thank the large, resilient network of suppliers, stakeholders, and many local businesses who help create a warm welcome for passengers visiting Saint John and the Bay of Fundy region.”

Looking Ahead to 2024

Next year is looking equally prosperous for Port Saint John. While the full season’s schedule is not yet confirmed and changes are always possible, the first ship currently scheduled for the port is MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia on Wednesday, May 8. That will be a booming start to the season, which won’t end until early November.

“We’re already excited about our 2024 season and continuing to share our outstanding destination, exceptional cruise facilities, and extraordinary experiences with the world,” said Allaby.

During the six-month season, ships from various lines will call as the richly historical and naturally beautiful destination, including Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, and more.

September and October are traditionally the busiest months for the port, as cruise lines take advantage of the spectacular fall foliage that provides a natural attraction for tourism.

“Delivering prosperity to our region is at the core of everything we do at Port Saint John and our thriving cruise sector is no exception,” said Craig Bell Estabrooks, President and CEO. “We’re proud of our team, partners, and the larger tourism ecosystem this season and every season who make the industry’s $68 million economic impact possible.”

With such good year-over-year growth and 2024 already looking to be just as outstanding, Port Saint John is sure to continue being a delightful destination that thousands of cruise passengers enjoy every year.

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