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Maritime ports anticipate record-breaking cruise ship, passenger numbers

A cruise ship docks in Saint John, N.B. (Source: Port Saint John) A cruise ship docks in Saint John, N.B. (Source: Port Saint John)
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It’s shaping up to be a busy summer and fall at Maritime ports.

The ports of Halifax, Sydney, N.S., and Saint John, N.B., revealed their 2024 cruise ship schedules this week and all three are expecting hundreds of thousands of passengers from around the globe between April and November.

“The 2024 season will run longer and see ship visits spread out across eight months,” said Captain Allan Gray, president and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority. “This is good news for our port, local businesses, and our provincial tourism industry. We know Nova Scotia is a top-tier travel destination, and we look forward to sharing that with the visits to our shores this year.”

According to a news release from the Halifax and Sydney ports, the Nova Scotia capital is expected to see 203 cruise calls this year, which is up from the roughly 180 cruise visits it had in 2023. There will also be 11 ships making their inaugural visits to Halifax.

The Port of Sydney says it will have a record-setting 115 cruise calls during its season, which starts on April 7 with the arrival of the MSC Poesia. Sydney saw 110 ships last year, according to Nicole MacAulay, manager of cruise at the Port of Sydney.

"Cape Breton is an incredibly beautiful island destination and our reputation among cruise passengers is what continues to drive our success and ability to generate significant economic benefits for our communities,” said Lorna Campbell, CEO of Port Sydney.

Port Saint John says it will welcome 75 ships with more than 170,000 guests in 2024. Their season kicks off on May 8 with the arrival of the MSC Meraviglia, which last visited the Port City for an unexpected winter visit on Dec. 21.

Saint John saw 74 ships and more than 172,000 passengers in 2023. They are anticipating 10 inaugural vessels this year.

On its website, Port Charlottetown says it is expecting 96 ship calls and more than 166,000 visitors this season, which starts on April 8 when the MSC Poesia comes to town.

-With files from Ryan MacDonald

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