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Port of Saint John marks record visit with Oasis of the Seas

Tuesday was a record setting day in the Saint John Harbour.

“Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean came in last June with 5,032 passengers,” said Natalie Allaby, Port Saint John cruise development manager.

“This year she came in with a 5,931 passenger count. It is our single biggest cruise ship day in port history today and we’re thrilled.”

A total of 8,000 people, including crew members, were on board the world’s fourth largest cruise vessel as it made its way into Saint John for a one-day stop, nearly doubling the population of the uptown core for the day.

“To see a ship of this size coming in this full outside of our peak season… is just a testament to the cruise lines believing in what we have to offer for tourism product in our beautiful part of the world,” said Allaby.

The ship docked at the Saint John Port at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, and is set to depart at 6:45 p.m. due to the Bay of Fundy’s tide cycle. Thankfully, during the near 12 hours of being docked, passengers were treated to beautiful weather.

“Nice historical city,” said passenger Amy Powlenko. “It’s been lovely walking around; the weather is beautiful, the architecture is beautiful.”

“I love the people and I love the environment,” said another passenger from South Africa. “Everything is cool and the food is good.”

A busy day in the city centre also provided a welcomed increase of traffic for local business owners. Pristine co-owner Matt Shields said he was pleased to see some life uptown, especially given the uncertainty of the past few years.

“When hospitality does better, retail does better,” says Shields. “There is this really nice spillover effect and in the uptown community we all sort of know each other and talk, so everyone is really happy to see a full strength tourist season again.”

Allaby notes September and October are the busiest months for cruise ships in Saint John.

“To have a ship of this size in this early in the season, it’s just great to give that extra boost to kick off the season,” Allaby said. “Then they will have their regular summer tourism season, and then they will get that nice cruise tourism boost in the fall. It just makes for a nice long spending season.”

Port Saint John officials say the cruise industry accounts for over $68 million for the city’s economy each year.

The Oasis of the Seas vessel is the third ship to dock in Saint John in 2023. A total of 86 calls to the port are scheduled to be made by the end of the season. Top Stories

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