Peak cruise season brings milestone for Port Saint John

Click to play video: 'Port of Saint John sees record-setting day for cruises'
Port of Saint John sees record-setting day for cruises
Thursday was a busy day in uptown Saint John – three cruise ships in port for the day brought a 2022 record number of passengers. As Robert Lothian reports, this called for many celebrations in the port city – Sep 29, 2022

Thousands of visitors strolled off cruise ships and into uptown Saint John on Thursday, making for one of Port Saint John’s busiest days of the year.

Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Breakaway and the Voyager of the Seas combined to bring about 8,500 passengers ashore.

“The ships certainly aren’t coming at 100 per cent capacity like we would see in previous seasons, but we are right up there (at) 85 per cent, 90 per cent fill rates on most ships, which is remarkable considering we are in a recovery year,” said Natalie Allaby, the cruise development manager at Port Saint John.

The cruise ship industry continues to rebound from two pandemic years that brought misery to operators.

In Saint John, the season has now reached its peak, with many ships still set to dock in the port city through to November.

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Read more: Saint John welcomes first cruise since COVID-19 hit

Allaby said a couple of vessels originally bound for Charlottetown, P.E.I., and Sydney, N.S. have been rerouted to Saint John due to the damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona.

An inspiring return of cruise ships has also brought busy days back to the Saint John City Market.

Many vendors like Donna Brillant only remain in operation certain days of the week, but often open back up for significant cruise ship days.

“Yeah its good, we get a lot of sales,” Brillant said about the impact of cruise ship passengers. “It’s really nice to meet the people, and talk to the people, and see what they think of our city.”

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A significant day on the Saint John Harbour also brought a significant milestone for Port Saint John. Allaby said the Norwegian Joy delivered the three-millionth cruise passenger to the Port of Saint John since 1989.

She said a curated gift would be awarded to two lucky passengers in celebration of the milestone, and additionally, a firework show will be held in Uptown on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.

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While 2022 will go down as a success regardless of how the rest of the season goes, Allaby said the outlook for the 2023 season appears strong.

“I can share that we do have a record-breaking season on the books for 2023, which is wonderful. We’ll be officially releasing our cruise schedule in the new year as we usually do, but we have a really exciting year coming up.”

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