Canada's cruise ports: We'll see you in 2021

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A Cunard Line ship in Saguenay, one of the nine ports that are part of Cruise the Saint Lawrence.
A Cunard Line ship in Saguenay, one of the nine ports that are part of Cruise the Saint Lawrence. Photo Credit: Laurent Silvani

Destinations on Canada’s east and west coasts canceled their 2020 cruise seasons after the government said it would prohibit cruise ships with more than 100 passengers from calling at its ports until at least Oct. 31. 

Cruise the Saint Lawrence said the decision would mean the cancellation of the cruise season for its nine members ports, including Montreal and Quebec.

“The move comes as a blow to the cruise industry which contributes handsomely to the growth and prosperity of hundreds of businesses in eight different tourism regions spread out across the province,” the organization said, adding that the 567,000 expected passengers this year would have amounted to $1 billion in direct economic impact and 7,000 jobs.

Cruise the Saint Lawrence president Tony Boemi appealed to the government to “help these businesses traverse the crisis at hand.”

The Halifax Port Authority also suspended its 2020 cruise season, saying that it will “work with partners across tourism in Nova Scotia to rebuild the cruise industry in Halifax and Atlantic Canada. Together, we will weather this storm and prepare for brighter days ahead.”

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) said it supported Canada’s decision. This season, the port had planned to receive 300 cruise ship calls and 770,000 passengers between April and October, mostly large cruise ships on Alaska itineraries. 

“Cruise represents 70% of our annual revenues, which supports our operations across all properties, including community amenities,” the authority said. “Without cruise revenues in 2020, we will need to explore how we maintain these facilities for community use over the next several years. This will include further deferring capital projects and reducing maintenance and repairs, while not compromising safety.”

The GVHA said that cruise supports 800 indirect and direct jobs in Victoria and contributes more than $130 million to the regional economy each year. 

“We also want to acknowledge that dozens of cruise-related small businesses and their staff members in Greater Victoria are deeply impacted by the loss of cruise this year,” the port said.

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