Vancouver Expecting a Record-Breaking Summer Season

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Between now and the end of October, the Port of Vancouver is expecting to welcome an extremely high number of cruise passengers. In the next week alone, nearly 70,000 cruise guests will arrive at the Canada Place cruise terminal

The port is anticipating approximately 1.27 million passengers to pass through its doors across 329 cruise ship calls between March 11 and October 29, 2024. This surpasses the record set in 2023 of 1.24 million cruisers to visit the downtown Vancouver port in the same time period by about 2%. 

This is largely because Vancouver, Canada, is a popular homeport for cruise ships during the Alaska season, and is frequently included on itineraries even when it’s not the designated homeport. With the 2024 Alaska season looking to be extra busy, Canada’s largest cruise port is warning locals about the potential crowds.

Cruise Ship Docked at Vancouver Terminal
Cruise Ship Docked at Vancouver Terminal (Photo Credit: Koshiro K)

“While record numbers of cruise tourists visiting our region will provide a vital boost for local businesses and tourism providers, it will also mean anyone planning to visit Canada Place or nearby areas downtown should plan ahead and expect increased crowds and traffic,” said Mandy Chan, cruise services manager at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. 

The worst of the crowds are expected to be in the city between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, which is the window in which most cruise ships are in the port. 

Read Also: Things to Do in Vancouver BC Canada for Cruise Visitors

However, even with the influx of extra visitors, the British Columbian port is prepared to meet the demand. After over 40 years of welcoming cruisers, the staff has embarkation and disembarkation down to a science. The large port has three berths to accommodate up to four large ships at a time.

On particularly busy days, such as weekends throughout spring and summer when the port expects to welcome upwards of 30,000 passengers across multiple ships, Vancouver Police Department’s traffic authority will be brought in to help manage the flow of auto and pedestrian traffic. 

Alaska Cruises In High Demand For 2024 Season

The influx of cruise tourism in Vancouver is a side effect of the busier than normal Alaska cruise season, with cruise ships from popular brands like Disney Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and Cunard Line all homeporting from or calling on the Canadian port. 

It’s so busy that the port of Juneau, Alaska, which is expecting a record-breaking 1.7 million cruise guests in 2024, has been taking measures to impose a cap on the number of ships that can visit per day to mitigate crowds.

Cruise Ships Docked in Vancouver, Canada
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

Indeed, demand for Alaskan cruises has been at an all-time high for 2024, perhaps still in part because of built-up demand from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Princess Cruises, for example, experienced a boom in their bookings at the beginning of the year. In January of 2024, the cruise line experienced a record-breaking 20% surge in Alaska bookings, the highest in the cruise line’s history for this time period. 

Similarly, Holland America Line smashed its single-day booking record on January 16 and concluded its best booking week during wave season a few days later on January 19, which is when cruise brands roll out their best promotional deals of the year. 

The new daily record represented the best sales day Holland America had experienced since its founding in 1873, with Alaska cruises contributing to around one-third of the bookings. In order to keep up with the demand, six of the cruise line’s 11 ships will be sailing to Alaska throughout the spring and summer. 

Likewise, Norwegian Cruise Line geared up for a busy season by deploying a notable portion of its fleet to the northern region. The cruise line will send five of its 19 ships – Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Sun, and Norwegian Spirit – to Alaska at least once during the season.

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