Cruise returns to the port of Victoria after two-year pause
Canada’s busiest cruise port of call welcomes Holland America Koningsdam
April 9, 2022, Victoria, BC, Canada – Holland America Koningsdam arrived at the Victoria Cruise Terminal at the Breakwater District, becoming the first ship to call to a Canadian port since October 2019.
Industry partners and stakeholders gathered at the port of Victoria to celebrate the return of cruise to the region, welcoming the ship alongside community members that gathered on the Ogden Point Breakwater and between Pier A and Pier B.
The deep-water port last saw a cruise ship visit in October 2019; as of April 9, 905 days had passed since the return of a cruise ship to Canada. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority was planning for a robust season before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Ports in the country were closed to cruise ships at that time.
Since then, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has worked toward the safe resumption of cruise in the region. In July 2021, Hon. Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport for the Government of Canada, announced that effective November 1, 2021, cruise ships would be allowed to return to Canadian ports. Victoria is the first such port to welcome a cruise ship with ports across the country welcoming ships in the weeks to come.
The return of cruise in Victoria, the first season since 2019, will see 364 ship calls from now until early November and an anticipated 780,000 passengers. All passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated to board ships entering Canada, a regulation and requirement put in place by Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
For the full cruise schedule, visit https://gvha.ca/cruise.
“The safe resumption of cruise in Victoria, and in Canada, is the culmination of two years of hard work, advocacy, and planning. I am incredibly thankful to our partners and community for their support. Today is an emotional day for our entire team.” – Ian Robertson, CEO, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.
“This is a very significant day, and one we can all celebrate. The cruise ship industry is vital to BC tourism, and to thousands of people whose livelihoods rely on the regular arrival of ships. Working with our partners, including the federal government, health officials, industry and communities, our government has been doing everything we can to ensure B.C.’s cruise ship industry comes back strong. We know that cruise ship passengers want to experience British Columbia, and we are thrilled to welcome them back.” – Hon. Rob Fleming, BC’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“All aboard! The arrival of the Holland America Koningsdam to Victoria is an important milestone for tourism and for BC’s economy. The cruise ship industry supports thousands of people whose jobs rely on the regular arrival of ships and brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to our ports each year. We are excited cruise bookings for 2022 include 600 ports of call in Victoria and Vancouver and indicate a very promising future for the sector.”– Hon. Melanie Mark, BC’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
“Victorians look forward to the visitor economy picking up after the slowdown from COVID-19. In the two years since cruise passengers last landed, we’ve made significant improvements in the downtown for locals and visitors alike and we look forward to welcoming passengers this summer to explore and enjoy our downtown and visit our amazing array of local businesses ready to serve them.” – Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria.
“Today is a special day, and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line back into Canada after such a long absence. We look forward to celebrating a great moment for everyone who loves to travel and for those in Canada and Alaska whose livelihoods depend on tourism. Victoria will see six of our ships visiting several times through the end of October.” – Gus Antorcha, President, Holland America Line
“Cruise is a critical part of the economy and social fabric of the region, and we are excited to welcome this vital industry back to the port of Victoria. As Chair of the Board of Directors and a resident of James Bay, I am excited to extend a warm welcome to the passengers and crew who will be exploring our amazing community this season.” – Christine Willow, Chair of the Board of Directors, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.
“The start of cruise ship season is another sign that Greater Victoria is reconnecting with the world. International visitors provide a significant boost to our region’s economic ecosystem, which truly flourishes when all sectors can achieve their potential. It’s exhilarating to show off our spectacular corner of the world once again. On behalf of all Chamber members, I’m thrilled to welcome the first passengers back to Greater Victoria.” – Bruce Williams, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
“The cruise ship season is a lifeline for Victoria Cruise Industry Alliance members and their families. Two years of planning, advocacy, and cooperation have prepared us to welcome the first ship back to our shores safely. We are thrilled for this upcoming opportunity to showcase all of experiences and beauty Greater Victoria has to offer.” – Anna Poustie, Chair, Victoria Cruise Industry Alliance.
About the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
Celebrating 20 years in 2022, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that is committed to the stewardship and sustainable growth of Victoria’s dynamic working harbour. The organization is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, represented by four independent community members and eight Member Agencies: Esquimalt Nation, Songhees Nation, Capital Regional District, City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt, The Chamber, Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society, and Destination Greater Victoria.
The organization owns and operates several high-profile community amenities including the Ogden Point Breakwater, Inner Harbour lower causeway, Ship Point, and customs dock at Raymur Point. Within its commercial and marine industrial holdings are the deep-water port at the Breakwater District at Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, and four Inner Harbour marinas. The organization manages the Victoria Cruise Terminal at The Breakwater District, which contributes more than $143 million annually to the Greater Victoria economy and is responsible for 800 jobs.
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is certified as a Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business’ Progressive Aboriginal Relations Silver Member, a reflection of its ongoing commitment to a guiding principle of First Nations Relationships.