The 2022 cruise season at Port Charlottetown sets sail Friday, April 22, with the first of 74 visits to Prince Edward Island’s major marine gateway. Viking Octantis, an expedition class ship from Viking, will mark the first call of the season and the first at Port Charlottetown since November 2019.
“Today is a special day—we are delighted to welcome cruise back to Prince Edward Island for the first time in over two years,” states Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown. “The safe return of cruise ships in Charlottetown, and in Canada, represents the culmination of many months of planning, cooperation, and tenacity on the part of all of our partners and our community. We are eager to kick off a busy season and welcome the world back to Charlottetown!”
In preparation for the safe resumption of cruise, Port Charlottetown has been working closely with Transport Canada, as well as with the Chief Public Health Office of P.E.I. and the Government of P.E.I., to follow federal and provincial guidance on the latest public health plans and regulations. Transport Canada requires all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and test negative before boarding.
“After a long two years, it’s time to give a warm welcome back to cruise ships,” says Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew MacKay. “I want to recognize Port Charlottetown and the many partners involved for not only helping make the return of cruise ships a reality for Prince Edward Island, but to ensure it is done safely for both Islanders and passengers. We know this sector plays an important role in recovering our tourism industry and provincial economy, and we are delighted for the return.”
The Charlottetown cruise industry is a key contributor to the local economy. The industry supports 294 Island jobs and generates more than $42.2 million in total economic activity. Port Charlottetown last welcomed ships in fall 2019, concluding a record-breaking season that saw over 128,000 passengers step down on red shores.
Port Charlottetown will receive 74 calls between April and November 2022, with most vessels arriving in the fall. These include the return of major cruises from Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise.
“This summer holds so much promise for the return of tourism to downtown Charlottetown and the Island,” offers Dawn Alan, executive director of Downtown Charlottetown Inc. “A big part of the seasonal success for businesses, retail, dining, and beyond, is the return of cruise to our harbour and to the streets. We are so looking forward to welcoming the first ship, passengers, and crew and are looking forward to a terrific season for all!”
During the two-year national pause for cruise ships, a $12 million expansion project was implemented at Port Charlottetown, installing a second berth. This expansion will provide greater capacity, enabling multiple large ships to dock simultaneously and will allow passengers to get to shore more safely and efficiently.