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Port Charlottetown records best cruise season to date in 2018

There were four large cruise ships parked in the Charlottetown harbour Tuesday. The Norwegian Dawn, left, MS Blackwatch, centre, Rotterdam and Royal Princess at right.
There were four large cruise ships parked in the Charlottetown harbour in this file phot. The Norwegian Dawn, left, MS Blackwatch, centre, Rotterdam and Royal Princess at right. - Brian McInnis

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The cruise season officially wrapped up with record-breaking numbers for 2018, bringing just shy of 98,000 passengers and 44,000 crew, representing a total direct economic impact of just over $16.5 million.

The numbers also represent an 8.2 per cent increase over 2017.

Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown, said despite the number of cancellations due to weather, the season itself was the best on record for the port.

“In addition to a record-breaking year, we hosted our first ever four-ship day and a number of inaugurals, welcoming new cruise lines and new ships to Prince Edward Island.”

The inaugural calls from the Silver Wind, Adventure of the Seas, Norwegian Gem, Royal Princess and Star Pride are proof of a growing industry.

Corryn Clemence, business development manager for the port, said there is continued growth in the cruise market on the Island, which is evident by the new calls and new lines visiting the region.

“This is a great opportunity for local operators to showcase Prince Edward Island in its best light to new visitors and possibly welcome them back for repeat visits.”

RELATED: Port Charlottetown well underway on efforts to expand room for cruise ships

The direct economic impact of cruise ships on the Island continues to impress at just over $16.5 million in 2018.

This injection of money into the economy can be felt across the island, with many tours touching on a number of rural communities and businesses.

As the port continues to grow the industry, there is a great opportunity for local businesses to capitalize on this growing tourism sector.

Port Charlottetown is looking forward to another record-breaking year in 2019 and is planning a schedule release early in the New Year.

Port Charlottetown is also currently working toward a $12 million berth expansion project that will allow for two 330 m vessels to be berthed simultaneously.

This will be in addition to the landside redevelopment project that included dedicated bus lanes, a taxi load and go area, as well as a revitalized Cruise Welcome Terminal and pedestrian plaza.

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