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Three cruise ships stop in Saint John during one of the triple ship days in 2022. Image: Submitted/Port Saint John

Saint John prepares to welcome first 2023 cruise ship

By Brad Perry May 5, 2023 | 6:23 AM

Saint John will welcome its first cruise ship of the season in just a few days from now.

Hanseatic Inspiration from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is scheduled to arrive Sunday morning.

It is one of 78 cruise calls currently on the books for Port Saint John over the coming months.

Those cruise ships are expected to bring around 190,000 passengers and 75,000 crew members to southern New Brunswick.

“This year really does feel quite normal, so to speak, in our preparations,” Natalie Allaby, cruise development manager for the port, said in an interview this week.

Last year was a “restart year” for the industry after two seasons without any cruise ships due to the pandemic.

Allaby said the ships that arrived in Saint John last year were, on average, about 84 per cent full.

“This year, we’re getting signals from our cruise line partners that ships are already sold out, they’re at close to capacity, so we’re really expecting pre-pandemic fill rates,” she said.

Earlier this year, Port Saint John was anticipating a record 86 vessel calls and just shy of 200,000 passengers in 2023.

Allaby said one cruise line was forced to adjust its itinerary due to ongoing issues at the port in Bar Harbor, Maine.

“Certainly if we do pick up a couple of extra ships later in the season, which we sometimes do for various reasons, we could very much see in the realm of record-breaking numbers,” she said.

There are 14 double-ship days and five triple-ship days expected this year in September and October.

There are also 10 inaugural calls scheduled for this season, which Allaby said is higher than usual.

“That’s a really great performance indicator for us at the port because that means that it’s brand new ships that are coming to our region for the very first time,” she said.

2023 will also see the return of one of the largest cruise ships in the world. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which holds up to 5,000 passengers, is scheduled to make a port of call on May 30.

The cruise business brings over $68 million annually to the Saint John and southern New Brunswick economies.

Officials said that figure includes direct spending by cruise lines, passengers, and crew in the Bay of Fundy region and direct jobs for New Brunswickers.

You can view this year’s full schedule on Port Saint John’s website.


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