Skip to content

This year's cruise ship season could bring industry back to pre-pandemic levels

The Port of Halifax is expecting 191 vessel calls carrying approximately 325,000 cruise guests
An aerial photo of cruise ships in Halifax's harbour

The year's cruise ship season has the potential to bring the industry back to pre-COVID levels.

Prior to the virus, 2019 was a record breaker with 324,828 passengers and crew coming to Halifax Harbour. We had been on track to exceed that the next year, but then the pandemic hit.

What followed was a federal government imposed a ban on cruise ships, which resulted in the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

2022 was considered to be a rebuilding year, with 148 vessels bringing around 234,000 passengers to our waterfront.

This year, the Port of Halifax is expecting 191 vessel calls carrying approximately 325,000 cruise guests. If that were to happen that would edge out 2019's record season.

However, the port's communications coordinator cautions we won't know for sure until the season wraps up.

In an emailed statement, Emily Richardson told CityNews Halifax throughout the season there are always unforeseen circumstances, including stormy seas, that could either divert an additional few ships to or away from our harbour, "but the season is looking very promising so far," she said.

Halifax is not on track to beat the record for most ships in a cruise season. That came in 2018 when 198 vessels docked along our waterfront. However Richardson said in recent years, the industry as a whole has been trending towards bigger ships carrying more people.

Sydney is expecting a record breaking season, and this year cruise ships are also expected to visit Shelburne, Lunenburg, Pictou County and Louisbourg.

Here in Halifax, Norwegian Dawn will kick off the season when she arrives at 7 a.m. on April 22, and it will wrap up at 4:30 p.m. on November 9 when Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow departs our harbour.

The industry pumps millions of dollars into our local economy each year, benefiting tour operators, attractions and local bars, shops and restaurants, along with businesses selling food, drink and other supplies to the cruise lines.

"The return of the cruise industry in 2022 contributed to a very strong recovery for tourism across the region," said Halifax Port Authority's CEO, Captain Allan Gray, in a news release.

"With our partners, we are looking forward to growth in 2023, and finding new and exciting ways of further developing this industry for our province and extending the economic benefits that come with cruise."

2023 Halifax cruise highlights include:

  • 11 scheduled inaugural calls
  • Three ship days - 23
  • Four ship days - 1
  • Five ship days - 2
  • One visit from Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas on May 31, the fourth largest cruise ship in the world
  • Two visits from the Cunard Line Queen Mary 2, on July 2 and October 1

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
Read more
Rogers Sports & Media
6080 Young Street Halifax, NS, B3K 5L2
© 2006-2023 Rogers Sports & Media. All rights reserved.
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks