Charlottetown, PE – Port Charlottetown is set to welcome 91 ships, over 150,000 passengers and over 63,000 crew to Prince Edward Island’s capital city in 2023. This represents the largest number of passenger arrivals in the port’s history and an impressive forty per cent increase over last year’s scheduled arrivals.
“We are delighted to release the 2023 cruise schedule and look forward to working alongside our incredible partners in tourism as we prepare for a banner season,” said Mike Cochrane, Chief Executive Officer of the Charlottetown Harbour Authority. “The recent addition of a second berth and our ongoing work to enhance our facilities and the waterfront reinforces Port Charlottetown as a premier cruise destination.”
As in previous years, the majority of the 91 ships set to arrive in Port Charlottetown will do so during September and October. Charlottetown’s walkable downtown and proximity to central PEI make it easy for cruise passengers to explore everything the Island has to offer. From outstanding dining to local shopping, immersive cultural experiences, on-water adventures, the Anne of Green Gables heritage site, and more, there’s something for every traveller to enjoy.
“Cruise passengers consistently rank Port Charlottetown amongst the top ports of call in Canada and for good reason,” said Kelly Murphy, Director of Marketing & Cruise Development for the Charlottetown Harbour Authority. “We really want to showcase the front-row experience to unforgettable memories that Port Charlottetown affords. Our incredible waterfront and historic downtown are mere steps away as passengers disembark, making it easy to explore our vibrant city. Paired with high-quality excursions beyond the city passengers can get a true taste of the Island in one immersive day.”
One of the largest ships set to arrive this season is the MSC Meraviglia, which has a passenger count of 4,500 and a complement of 1,500 crew and will make three calls to the port in 2023. By size, the largest ship to call on Port Charlottetown in 2023 will be the Norwegian Joy, which is 333 metres in length and will carry 3,804 passengers and 1821 crew. This year’s cruise schedule also includes 15 double ship days and 6 triple-ship days.
“The electrifying energy and economic benefits cruise ships bring to our province is unmatched,” said Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Bloyce Thompson. “The Island’s cruise industry had a $42.2M economic impact in 2019. With passenger numbers in 2023 surpassing 2019, it is anticipated that the industry will continue to contribute significantly to the Island’s economy.”
Port Charlottetown and its tourism partners are capitalizing on the Island’s growing reputation as a premier cruise destination, with several initiatives in the works to enhance the visitor experience and showcase the very best of PEI. One such project is the development of digital kiosks and a digital walking map of Charlottetown, which is being developed by Port Charlottetown and Discover Charlottetown.
“One thing that really works in our favour here on PEI is the collaborative spirit that our tourism partners and operators embrace, paired with an innovative approach to the development of new products and experiences,” said Murphy. “We all have this strong belief that a rising tide lifts all ships and that’s one of the keys to our ongoing growth as a premier cruise destination.”
In addition to a record-breaking season, eight vessels will make their inaugural calls to Port Charlottetown. The 2023 season will wrap up with a call from the MS Insignia on November 4, 2023.