Disney cuts back on Vancouver port calls
Seattle picks up business for Alaska cruises
Disney Cruises’ ship Disney Wonder is moving most of its home calls for the Alaska cruise market from Vancouver to Seattle next year, a decision that could cost the city’s tourism industry well over $30 million in economic benefits.
While a Disney spokesman could not be reached for comment, a Port Metro Vancouver official confirmed Wednesday that the ship — which is making 20 home-ported sailings this year in Vancouver on its first entry into the Alaska market — will make just two calls in 2012.
“Disney will be making two homeported calls to Vancouver in 2012,” Carmen Ortega, manager of cruises for Port Metro Vancouver, said. “We can’t speculate on their decision. We can only ensure they’ll have an exceptional year in 2011. There could be a possibility they’ll come back in 2013 and we’re hoping for that.”
Disney’s move to Vancouver this year is anticipated to generate about $40 million for the Vancouver economy, based on about $2 million per call.
With 18 fewer home port visits, that could mean a loss of $36 million in 2012.
Ortega said the port is still trying to determine the size of the overall cruise sector in Vancouver in 2012, but said on the bright side Princess Cruises has already indicated that it will be adding a fourth ship to the Vancouver market, the Sapphire Princess, which will make 10 calls in the city next year.
That will mean an extra $20 million to the Vancouver economy, she added.
A news release issued Wednesday said that beginning May 28, 2012, the Disney Wonder will sail a total of 14 seven-night cruises from the Port of Seattle to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as Victoria.
Sanjay Goel, president of Cruise Connections, the largest cruise retailer in Canada, said there are many reasons for Disney’s decision to move from Vancouver to Seattle, mainly the cost. “It costs less to berth in Seattle. Mooring, stevedoring are all less money. And with Disney, it’s about families. So for a family of four, it might cost $200 less per person to come from Dallas to Seattle as against Vancouver.”