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350 cruises set to hit Victoria in 2022 as port confirms first Canadian stops in 2 years

Click to play video: 'Ottawa lifts cruise ship ban, uncertainty in B.C. tourist industry' Ottawa lifts cruise ship ban, uncertainty in B.C. tourist industry
WATCH: The federal government has lifted the pandemic ban on cruise ships coming to Canada. But as Ted Chernecki reports, two legislative proposals in the U.S. are causing concern in B.C.'s tourism industry – Nov 2, 2021

It will soon be anchors aweigh for the COVID-19-battered cruise industry in British Columbia’s capital.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority released its draft schedule for the 2022 season on Thursday, with the first cruise ship to dock in a Canadian port in two years slated to arrive on April 6.

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The schedule anticipates 350 ship calls delivering 795,000 passengers to the Victoria Cruise Terminal between March and October next year.

Those figures would be roughly equivalent with 2019, the last full cruise season before sailings were derailed by the pandemic, according to the harbour authority.

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The federal government lifted a ban on cruise ships in Canadian waters effective Nov. 1, 2021, for operators able to fully comply with COVID-19 health requirements.

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“We’ve worked hard and collaborated with government and industry to ensure that when ships return to Canada, and to Victoria, we will be ready to safely welcome passengers and crew,” Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO Ian Robertson said in a media release.

“I look forward to being on the pier when that first ship arrives, and the first cruise passengers in two years disembark the ship to explore our beautiful city.”

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Health and safety measures will be mandated by Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, and will include mandatory vaccination for passengers and crew, along with COVID-19 management plans.

The 2022 season will see three vessels, the Norwegian Encore, Majestic Princess and Quantum of the Seas, make their first-ever call in the port.

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Read more: Atlantic tourism operator eye return of cruise ships in 2022

The Port of Vancouver has yet to release a 2022 cruise schedule.

The cruise industry is estimated to generate more than $2.7 billion in economic activity in British Columbia.

Tourism operators in Victoria, Vancouver and ports of call further north have seen major downturns over the past two years due to the cruise ban.

Victoria’s robust 2022 schedule may also ease some fears that B.C. could be left out amid a push by some U.S. legislators from Alaska to eliminate a law that requires vessels to stop at a foreign port between American ports.

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