February 24, 2016 4:56 pm
Updated: February 24, 2016 6:31 pm

Halifax gearing up for record-breaking cruise ship season

WATCH ABOVE: This year the Port of Halifax is expecting to break the record for passenger capacity on a single vessel, twice. Global’s Rebecca Lau reports.

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The Port of Halifax is gearing up for a big cruise ship season — literally.

Over the past few years, the port has noticed many of the lines calling Halifax have been moving toward larger ships.

This year, the city is expecting to break the record for passenger capacity on a single vessel, twice over.

READ MORE: Busy cruise ship season means business for local vendors

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“It’s more efficient to operate a larger vessel, especially if you can put more passengers on board and we’re seeing that this year with a couple of the big calls,” Halifax Port Authority communications adviser Lane Farguson said.

“The Norwegian Breakaway is calling on June 29 and she can carry about 4,500 passengers plus crew. So that will be the largest single passenger vessel call in Halifax to date. And that record will actually be broken on Sept. 1 when the Anthem of the Seas arrives, and that vessel can carry over 4,900 passengers plus crew.”

The season begins April 30 and there are 135 vessels scheduled to visit the port in 2016, carrying about 240,000 passengers and crew.

Tour operators are especially excited about the Disney Magic, which is making three stops in Halifax.

Terri McColluch with Ambassatours Gray Line & Murphy’s The Cable Wharf says the company is getting ready for an expanded tourist season and is already acquiring two additional Harbour Hopper vessels.

In addition, they will be highlighting their educational and family-oriented tours.

“The family market of course is of great interest to us and should be to the province and the city as well, to be able to develop products that meets the needs of that market,” McColluch said.

“And Disney is such a high profile company.”

A recent report by the Halifax Port Authority found the cruise ship industry is worth an estimated $104.3 million in economic benefit for the local economy.

“It’s really a matter of a large number of people that don’t necessarily spend a lot of money individually but as a collective can spend a lot of money here on the Nova Scotia economy,” Downtown Halifax Business Commission executive director Paul MacKinnon said.

“So it is important and anytime we can see those numbers going up overall. It’s great news for everybody.”

According to the schedule this year, Sept. 15 will be the busiest passenger day with over 9,000 people expected to arrive.

The most ships to arrive in one day is Oct. 7, with five vessels scheduled.

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