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Record year predicted for Cape Breton cruise season
This year’s cruise schedule at the Port of Sydney has been released with yet another record high number of anticipated visits.
The schedule reveals 90 stops, coming on the heels of a 2017 banner year that saw a then record 82 ships.
CEO of the Sydney Ports Corporation Marlene Usher says this year’s schedule could be by far the best cruise season they’ve seen yet.
“That will translate into more than 200,000 passengers and crew,” says Usher.
This year's numbers are looking solid elsewhere in the Maritimes with the Port of Saint John expecting a nearly 20 per cent increase in visits, being its fourth consecutive year of growth.
Charlottetown is looking to rebound with a record 95 scheduled calls scheduled, but last year the P.E.I. capital was hit hard by ten cancellations due to speed restrictions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect endangered right whales.
"What I think it says is that Atlantic Canada as a destination is becoming a real positive place for cruise ships to visit,” Usher says.
Joyce Rankin from the Old Sydney Society says the increase in traffic could mean more jobs for the region.
“That’s the sort of increase that means you have to hire more people,” says Rankin. “I imagine all of the other restaurants and organizations will have to do the same thing.”
Next year's cruise season is expected to be even better with the completion of a second cruise ship at the Port of Sydney.
"Those lines that previously didn't come, will come, so I expect that we'll be above our 90… we'll grow even further,” says Usher.
Right whale restrictions have been lifted, but if they’re reinstated many canceled calls will be diverted to other maritime ports like Sydney.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.