The West Coast Wire

Cruise shipping continues to boom

A record 32 vessels are expected to land in Corner Brook this year

- STEPHEN ROBERTS stephen.roberts@saltwire.com

Corner Brook is on the verge of its biggest cruise season ever.

After a record 2022, the city is expected to continue breaking records with 32 cruise ship calls on schedule this year. It’s sure to be a nice bonus for local businesses as passengers come ashore to check out everything the Bay of Islands and Humber Valley have to offer.

The local economic impact last year from cruise calls was $8.6 million. This year, with a higher number of ships, it’s expected to be even higher.

“I think it will be around $9 to $10 million, but it all depends on how the season treats us,” Jennifer Hartley, Corner Brook Port Corporatio­n business developmen­t manager, tells West Coast Wire.

“Last year, for instance, we had the hurricane, so we had some ships cancel. And we have some new ones come in, so the schedule really does alter depending on the season.”

As always, Corner Brook Port is preparing for the influx of visitors. Each year, the port hires part-time staff to welcome passengers, provide city maps and answer questions.

Hartley says making sure staff is trained is the first step. The port also frequently communicat­es with the ship, so they know what to expect when they come into port in terms of the port specs and guest experience.

For example, to improve the guest experience, last year, for the first time, the port offered several newly built vendor sheds which they rented out to local vendors. The vendors at the sheds offered a variety of locally homemade items and souvenirs. These sheds are back this year.

Hartley adds they must have their tender dock in the water and all their shuttle buses lined up. Lastly, they must spread the word in the community and with their cruise network team.

“It’s a lot of teamwork, it’s a lot of just making sure people are in the loop and know when the ships coming,” she says.

Hartley feels the community’s role is to ensure visitors feel local support.

“Be friendly and, you know, help people out and really showcase that true Newfoundla­nd hospitalit­y that we’re known for,” she advises.

She adds there are things that even small businesses can do to show crews and passengers they are important to the area.

“You could offer free Wi-Fi, you can put a welcome sign up in your storefront,” she suggests.

The first ship on the port’s schedule was to arrive on

May 16: Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Navigator, with its capacity of 490 passengers. The last vessel is scheduled to depart on Nov. 3: Oceania Cruises’ Insignia with a capacity of 648 passengers.

In between, Hartley was anticipati­ng two of the busiest days of the year to fall on Sept. 10 and 16. That day will see the return of the Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Joy, one of the largest ships to land in Corner Brook. The vessel carries a capacity of 3,804 passengers and 1,821 crew. Of those, Hartley estimates about 3,500 passengers will land.

Furthermor­e, the Roald Amundsen, a Hurtigrute­n vessel, will also land that day. It carries up to 600 passengers and 150 crew.

The Norwegian Joy will return twice more, including on Sept. 16, which will also see the arrival of Hurtigrute­n’s Fram, carrying up to about 300 passengers and 75 crew.

The large vessel’s third arrival will fall on Oct. 7 coinciding with the Colours of Corner Brook Festival, a harvest festival organized by Glenda Simms, the City of Corner Brook’s tourism coordinato­r. The festival was held in 2019 for the first time before going on hiatus during COVID-19 and returning last year.

West Street will once again be closed while vendors will come out to sell goods, local musicians will perform and Newfoundla­nd traditions like mummering will provide tourist’s entertainm­ent. The festival is held to coincide with a large cruise ship arrival near the end of the tourism season in October.

“It makes for a really, really great day for our passengers,” says Hartley.

This year’s slate of ships also includes seven inaugural calls: the Zaandam on Aug. 2, the Coral Princess on Aug. 8, the Legend on Aug. 23, the Amera on Aug. 26, the Crystal Serenity on Sept. 15, the SH Vega on Oct. 3 and the Jewels of the Seas on Oct. 4.

These calls typically include presentati­ons aboard the ship. The port will invite local businesses or stakeholde­rs to attend a small ceremony aboard the vessel, including a plaque exchange with the ship captain. Oftentimes, they will also be provided a tour of the vessel.

To learn more about cruise tourism in Corner Brook, visit cornerbroo­kport.com/ cruise-tourism

 ?? SCOTT GRANT RONIN PHOTOGRAPH­Y ?? At one of the vending sheds last year at Corner Brook Port, musician John Ryan regaled passengers with some music as they arrived ashore.
SCOTT GRANT RONIN PHOTOGRAPH­Y At one of the vending sheds last year at Corner Brook Port, musician John Ryan regaled passengers with some music as they arrived ashore.
 ?? SCOTT GRANT RONIN PHOTOGRAPH­Y ?? Cruise ship passengers land ashore during a visit to Corner Brook last year.
SCOTT GRANT RONIN PHOTOGRAPH­Y Cruise ship passengers land ashore during a visit to Corner Brook last year.

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