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Historic cruise season kicks off in Thunder Bay

By CJ Goater Jun 4, 2024 | 6:32 PM

Members of Tourism Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay CEDC, the crew of the Viking Octantis and Mayor Ken Boshcoff pose on board the vessel docked at Pool Six the first of 14 visits by cruise ships in 2023 (File Photo Acadia Broadcasting)

Cruise season is officially underway in Thunder Bay, with the first of a record 16 ships arriving on Tuesday Night.

The Viking Octantis will dock around 7:00 p.m. and will be in port overnight before it departs again Wednesday evening.

Passengers will have a port day where they will be free to explore the city or participate in events like guided tours. The cruise ship is only stopping in the city once as it is a one-way journey but, some cruise ships have a turnaround where passengers get to see the city twice.

“The turnarounds, you know there’s a greater economic impact on turnarounds because guests are flying in and out of the city, a lot of them are staying in hotels, staying a little longer in the city,” explained Thunder Bay Tourism Manager Paul Pepe. “They’re renting cars, flying into the community as well and all that contributes to that economic impact region, and then you know the money that the vessel spends in servicing here on taking on food, you know waste it gets removed from the vessels here. All of that involves local contractors and the local supply chain.”

2023 saw the city profit roughly $4.3 million with 14 cruise ships stopping in the city, but this year’s increase could lead to the potential for increased revenue.

“A lot of those dollars stay locally and they get regenerated locally as well with other businesses,” added Pepe. “So it is something that does have a bigger impact than people think it does when all of the variables are added.”

Two of the 16 ships coming to the city will be arriving for the first time.

Mayor Ken Boshcoff will be meeting the captain of the Octantis on Wednesday morning to welcome the first cruise ship of the season.