Canadian Cruise Port Expects Record-Breaking Cruise Arrivals in 2023

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Port Charlottetown is set to welcome a record-breaking number of ships, passengers, and crew in 2023, according to a recent press release from the Charlottetown Harbour Authority. 

With 91 ships, over 150,000 passengers, and over 63,000 crew expected to visit Prince Edward Island’s capital city, Port Charlottetown is poised for a banner season in 2023.

The Largest Number of Passenger Arrivals in Port History

According to the press release, Port Charlottetown’s 2023 season is set to be a significant increase over last year, with a 40% increase in passenger arrivals compared to the 168,000 passengers and crew in 2022. The port expects to welcome some 91 cruise ships, over 150,000 cruise ship passengers, and over 63,000 crew members in 2023.

Mike Cochrane, the CEO of the Charlottetown Harbour Authority, expressed his delight at the release of the 2023 cruise schedule and his excitement to work with tourism partners to prepare for the upcoming season.

Cruise Ships in Charlottetown
Cruise Ships in Charlottetown (Photo Courtesy: Port of Charlottetown)

“We are delighted to release the 2023 cruise schedule and look forward to working alongside our incredible partners in tourism as we prepare for a banner season,” said Mike Cochrane, Chief Executive Officer of the Charlottetown Harbour Authority. 

“The recent addition of a second berth and our ongoing work to enhance our facilities and the waterfront reinforces Port Charlottetown as a premier cruise destination.”

During the two-year operational pause for cruise ships in Canada, a $12 million expansion project was implemented at Port Charlottetown, installing a second berth. This expansion provides greater capacity, enabling multiple large ships to dock simultaneously, and allows passengers to get to shore more safely and efficiently.

Port Charlottetown is a popular cruise port during the New England and Canada cruise season because of its charming maritime heritage, well-preserved Victorian architecture, picturesque coastline, and proximity to natural attractions such as the red sandstone cliffs of Prince Edward Island National Park. 

The port also offers easy access to local seafood markets and historical sites, making it a popular stop for cruise passengers looking to experience the rich culture and natural beauty of the region.

Massive Impact on the Island’s Economy

The cruise industry is expected to have a significant impact on Prince Edward Island’s economy, with passenger numbers surpassing 2019’s $42.2 million in cruise-ship-generated income. 

Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism, and Culture Bloyce Thompson praised the economic benefits that cruise ships bring to the province and the growing reputation of Prince Edward Island as a premier cruise destination.

Port of Charlottetown
Port of Charlottetown (Photo Credit: Kevin Baillie / Shutterstock)

Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism, and Culture Bloyce Thompson: “The electrifying energy and economic benefits cruise ships bring to our province are unmatched. The Island’s cruise industry had a $42.2M economic impact in 2019. With passenger numbers in 2023 surpassing 2019, it is anticipated that the industry will continue to contribute significantly to the Island’s economy.” 

Port Charlottetown and its tourism partners are capitalizing on this growth with several initiatives, such as developing digital kiosks and a digital walking map of Charlottetown, to enhance the visitor experience.

Most of the 91 ships scheduled to arrive at Port Charlottetown will do so in September and October, with 30 and 36 cruise ships visiting, respectively. 

This season will see the arrival of several large cruise ships, including the MSC Meraviglia, which can accommodate 4,500 passengers and 1,500 crew. The 171,598 gross tons cruise ship will make three calls to Port Charlottetown in 2023 during her sailings from New York City. The 2023 cruise schedule includes 15 two-ship days and six three-ship days.

Other ships that will visit the port this season include Norwegian Pearl, Jewel of the Seas, Seabourn Quest, Celebrity Summit, Silver Shadow, and Caribbean Princess. The cruise season will end with a call from Insignia, a cruise ship from Oceania Cruises, on November 4, 2023.

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