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Port of Vancouver welcomes 25-millionth cruise ship passenger

Click to play video: 'Vancouver welcomes 25 millionth cruise ship passenger' Vancouver welcomes 25 millionth cruise ship passenger
It's a major milestone for Vancouver's cruise ship industry. The 25 millionth passenger arrived in the city -- marking decades of growth. Jordan Armstrong reports – May 23, 2018

Vancouver has welcomed its 25-millionth cruise ship passenger to the city and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority celebrated the occasion at Canada Place on Wednesday.

The unsuspecting Illinois woman who marked the milestone was awarded a gift bag, an on-board credit and a suite upgrade.

“My mom thought I won $25-million,” Cheryl Spangler said.

The first-time visitor to Vancouver says she chose the city’s sailing to Alaska because it offers a shorter time at sea versus sailing from Seattle.

As it welcomes larger ships that are unable to fit under Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Bridge, Seattle is becoming stiffer competition.

Seattle also saw more passengers this year, welcoming 1.1 million people ashore compared to Vancouver’s 895,000.

WATCH: Why Vancouver could lose major cruise ship revenue:

Click to play video: 'Why Vancouver could lose major cruise ship revenue' Why Vancouver could lose major cruise ship revenue
Why Vancouver could lose major cruise ship revenue – May 6, 2018

Officials in Vancouver say a potential secondary terminal, which would have to be somewhere outside of the city, is still years away.

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“We are convinced Canada Place can hold a competitive position for the majority of vessels that will be calling the Alaska cruise itinerary, but we are seriously looking at the opportunity to accommodate larger vessels in the future as well,” Port of Vancouver president and CEO Robin Silvester said.

The Port of Vancouver said it will welcome the largest cruise ship to ever visit the city in September; the Norwegian Bliss can accommodate more than 4,000 passengers, is more than a thousand feet long and features a go-kart track.

~ With files from Jordan Armstrong 

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