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Maritime cruise industry sees post-pandemic rebound

The November cold means cruise ships are gone for another year and for many Maritime port cities, the 2023 season will go down as a pretty significant post-pandemic bounce-back.

"Between April and November, we welcomed 110 ships," said Nicole MacAulay, manager of cruise at the Port of Sydney in Nova Scotia.

That's a record number of cruise vessels for a single year in Sydney, which also saw 18 double-ship days and seven days with three ships.

Another eight ships stopped in Louisbourg, N.S.

Port officials hope that success will translate into an even stronger 2024.

"We are still kind of calculating those preliminary numbers and the projections, but it's looking like 124 ships," MacAulay said.

In Halifax, with more than 180 cruise visits and 300,000 passengers, port officials are calling 2023 “a good rebuilding year” post-pandemic.

They add that one of the focuses now is summer growth, something that started this past year.

"We saw a 40 per cent increase in the number of cruise calls in June, July, and August," said Lane Farguson, director of communications and marketing for the Port of Halifax.

Saint John, N.B., had 74 ships and more than 172,000 passengers visit.

Those numbers represent a more than 16 per cent increase over 2022.

Charlottetown had 89 ships -- its largest vessel count to date.

Officials there anticipate more than 100 ships in 2024, which would be record-breaking for the Island.

Back in Sydney, one of the goals going forward is to take those big fall numbers and try to match them throughout the year.

"Now we need to look and say, 'Okay, let's look at spring and summer. How do we increase that growth and balance out our season?’” MacAulay said. “And then of course in 2025, we will have winter cruising in the Port of Sydney."

2024 cruise schedules are expected to be released in the coming months. Top Stories

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