News Port Charlottetown Welcomes First Cruise Ship of 2023, Kicking Off Record-Breaking Season

Port Charlottetown Welcomes First Cruise Ship of 2023, Kicking Off Record-Breaking Season

April 26, 2023

Port Charlottetown Welcomes First Cruise Ship of 2023, Kicking Off Record-Breaking Season

Charlottetown, PE – The Island’s cruise season set sail today with the arrival of Holland America’s Zaandam at Port Charlottetown. Its arrival marks the kick-off to the biggest cruise season in PEI’s history, with 91 ships scheduled to call at Port Charlottetown and the largest number of cruise visitors ever – 148,500. With the impressive rebound of PEI’s cruise industry post-pandemic, tourism operators and local businesses are ramping up for a banner season. The Island as a whole is expected to enjoy an economic impact in excess of the record-breaking $42.2 million set in 2019.

“We are delighted to welcome our first visitors of 2023 and excited for all of our cruise guests to enjoy a front-row experience of historic Charlottetown and our beautiful island the minute they step off their ship, ” said Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown.

This year, nine ships will make their inaugural visit to Port Charlottetown, reaffirming that Port Charlottetown has established itself as a premiere cruise destination.

“We are incredibly proud to welcome these inaugural calls to the port, alongside many returning ships that love the authentic PEI experience we offer their guests,” said Cochrane. “That we are heading into a record-breaking season and have experienced phenomenal growth over the past decade is a testament to the innovative spirit and collaborative efforts of our tourism partners in PEI and across Atlantic Canada.”

Indeed, the Atlantic Canada region as a whole is enjoying strong year-over-year growth in cruise visitation. This year, the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association indicates that over 1-million cruise passengers are expected to visit the region aboard over 600 vessel calls.

“With the start of an anticipated record-breaking 2023 cruise ship season, comes the energy and excitement of a strong year for tourism,” says the Honourable Cory Deagle, minister of Fisheries, Tourism, Sport and Culture. “Our cruise ship passengers want a unique and inviting experience and that is just what PEI delivers. We are ready for, and eagerly welcome, the opportunity to share the

beauty and hospitality of our province.”

Port Charlottetown and its tourism partners have been collaborating on several initiatives to enhance the visitor experience and showcase the very best of PEI this year. One such project is the creation of digital kiosks and a digital walking map of Charlottetown. Developed in partnership with Discover Charlottetown, these digital resources will be launched in late May.

“We’re constantly seeking ways to enhance the guest experience for our cruise visitors,” said Kelly Murphy, Director of Marketing & Cruise Development for Port Charlottetown. “We’re very fortunate here on PEI that tourism operators and industry partners are incredibly engaged and eager to work together. It’s fitting that our first ship has arrived during Canada’s Tourism Week, as we look forward to a busy season showcasing PEI to guests from around the world. ”

The Zaandam, which has a passenger capacity of 1,634 and a crew complement of 607 is scheduled to call on Port Charlottetown 15 times this year. This year’s cruise schedule also includes the MSC Meraviglia. One of the largest ships to call on Port Charlottetown, it boasts a passenger count of 4,500 and a complement of 1,500 crew and will make three calls to PEI in 2023.

This year’s cruise schedule also includes 15 double-ship days and 6 triple-ship days. The 2023 season will wrap up with a call from the MS Insignia on November 4, 2023. For a complete schedule, visit

For more information contact:

Kelly Murphy
Director of Marketing & Cruise Development

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