Courting cruise ships
Georgetown Port co-ordinator seeks excursion packages
The new co-ordinator of a project to bring cruise ships to eastern P.E.I. is looking for excursion packages.
Melvin Ford, working with the Georgetown Port, is taking his enthusiasm to bolster tourism to three community meetings this week as a way to seek out tour packages for the cruise ship market.
“Our strategy is to get them here and to have something fun and interesting for them to do,’’ he said from his office overlooking the harbour where tourists may one day disembark. “That means I need suggestions and proposals from the communities so we can work together.”
They’re called the pocket ships — mini-versions of the larger ships docking in Charlottetown — but Ford says the day is coming when they will steam into Georgetown and there needs to be visitation packages assembled.
“Our job is to make sure they have plenty of things to do and see and get that all packaged up,’’ he said.
Georgetown is now a niche port recognized by the Atlantic Cruise Ship Association and Ford will be in attendance when the group holds its annual meeting next week at Crowbush.
Cruise ships already bring more than $13 million to the port of Charlottetown.
A normal stop-over provides cruise passengers a seven or eight hour window for shopping, touring, dining and visiting. While there’s enough to see and do in Georgetown for one day, Ford said the concept is to offer three or four excursion bus tours as well so there are choices from Souris to Panmure Island.
“We need a package for Souris and Basin Head and chef Michael Smith…. and I need to hear from that community as far as creating something,’’ he said.
Ford said cruise ship passengers are already well fed on board, so tours and activities are most needed to occupy visit times.
“I want to see who wants to be part of this so we can get going,’’ he said. “If a community doesn’t have anything to offer, I can’t sell it to a tour bus company.”
The ideas were spread in Montague and Souris on Tuesday and Wednesday and at 6:30 p.m. July 13 at the Kings Playhouse.
The Maasdam slides past the memorial to the expulsion of the Acadians 500 years ago that is located in Port-la-Joye Fort Amherst as it leaves the Charlottetown harbour Wednesday. Cruise ships are a familiar sight in the city harbour and officials in eastern P.E.I. are looking to attract cruise ships to their area. The ships that would visit the eastern part of the province are called pocket ships and are mini versions of the ships that dock in Charlottetown.