Canada’s busiest cruise port of call welcomes Holland America Koningsdam
Holland America Koningsdam arrived at the Victoria Cruise Terminal at the Breakwater District in early April, becoming the first ship to call to a Canadian port since October 2019.
Industry partners and stakeholders gathered at the port of Victoria to celebrate the return of cruise to the region, welcoming the ship alongside community members that gathered on the Ogden Point Breakwater and between Pier A and Pier B.
The deep-water port last saw a cruise ship visit in October 2019; as of April 9, 905 days had passed since the return of a cruise ship to Canada. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority was planning for a robust season before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Ports in the country were closed to cruise ships at that time.
Since then, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has worked toward the safe resumption of cruise in the region. In July 2021, Hon. Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport for the Government of Canada, announced that effective November 1, 2021, cruise ships would be allowed to return to Canadian ports. Victoria is the first such port to welcome a cruise ship with ports across the country welcoming ships in the weeks to come.
“Today is a special day, and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line back into Canada after such a long absence,” says Gus Antorcha, President, Holland America Line who adds that Victoria will see six of their ships visit several times through the end of October.
The return of cruise in Victoria, the first season since 2019, will see 364 ship calls from now until early November and an anticipated 780,000 passengers.
“The safe resumption of cruise in Victoria, and in Canada, is the culmination of two years of hard work, advocacy, and planning. I am incredibly thankful to our partners and community for their support,” says Ian Robertson, CEO, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority owns and operates several high-profile community amenities including the Ogden Point Breakwater, Inner Harbour lower causeway, Ship Point, and customs dock at Raymur Point. Within its commercial and marine industrial holdings are the deep-water port at the Breakwater District at Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, and four Inner Harbour marinas. The organization manages the Victoria Cruise Terminal at The Breakwater District, which contributes more than $143 million annually to the Greater Victoria economy and is responsible for 800 jobs.
“Cruise is a critical part of the economy and social fabric of the region, and we are excited to welcome this vital industry back to the port of Victoria,” says Christine Willow, Chair, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.