Expect to see more cruise ships and their passengers visiting Nanaimo next year.
A change in cruise ship destinations from Mexico to Alaska and the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar will bring six of the massive vessels into the harbour next year.
Starting in May 2016, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Explorer of the Sea will pay the first large cruise ship visit, followed with stopovers by Celebrity Cruise Lines’ Celebrity Infinity, Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity in August, Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice, both in September and Princess Cruises’ Star Princess in October.
“At the beginning of the year it looked like three. That became four and now we’re up to six, which is great,” David Mailloux, Nanaimo Port Authority spokesman.
Mailloux credits port authority marketing efforts with the cruise lines and promotion at the annual Seatrade Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., plus the drop in the value of the loonie versus the U.S. dollar.
“The dollar is part of that and just the consistency of what people experience when they’re up here, so we have to continue with that shout,” Mailloux said. “We’re new on the block and have to show how distinctive we are as a destination.”
The Celebrity Infinity tied up at the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal Friday and was the first of three schedule cruise ship visits for 2015.