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A look at Halifax’s cruise ship season

By Joe Thomson Apr 25, 2023 | 3:09 PM

Alonso Reyes / Unsplash

Cruise ship season is underway in Halifax and this year is going to be a big one.

The Port of Halifax welcomed it’s first ship over the weekend, when the Norwegian Dawn brought 2,300 passengers to the city on Saturday. It was followed up by the Zaandam, from Holland, bringing 1,430 passengers on Sunday.

Emily Richardson, a spokesperson for the port, said that they are preparing for a record-breaking year now that most ships are sailing at full capacity again for the first time since 2019.

“We’ve estimated around 325,000 passengers into the region and that is potentially record-breaking numbers for us. The most that we’ve ever seen is right around that 323,000 mark,” said Richardson.

Richardson says that the port begins preparing for the next cruise ship season the moment the last ship of the ship of the season leaves the harbour, if not sooner.

She knows that it is a busy time of year but says that employees are prepared for it.

“Our cruise team is very well prepared for this. We have a great operations team and they know what they’re doing… they pretty well have it down to a science. So, they can handle those crazy days,” said Richardson.

There will no doubt be some crazy days this year. The port has a handful of four ship days scheduled this year, in which upwards of 10,000 passengers can be brought into the city in just one day.

Despite the business that comes with cruise ship season, Richardson pointed out how beneficial the ships are to the local economy.

“In 2022, the economic benefit for Halifax and the surrounding region… was $136 million. So, that’s a vital source of income that these tourism operators and local restaurants and art galleries are getting,” said Richardson. “We want to continue to facilitate that flow of economic impact into the region.”

Richardson predicts that this year will be even more impactful to the region, with roughly $170 million expected to be generated from cruises. That number would be a record for Halifax.


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