Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cruising towards a new tourist season

As we outlined a few days back here on the Podunkian portal, the cruise industry in the city will see a subtle jump in the amount of port visits in the upcoming year, adding a few more visitors to wander the streets of the city.

In order to make that experience more enjoyable, the city of Prince Rupert is in the midst of a 90 thousand dollar beautification project for the downtown and Cow Bay areas.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority provided a brief description of its expectations for the new season, with a press release issued last week.

The Daily News extracted the details with a front page story in their Tuesday edition.

Additional ships and visitors expected in coming season
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Pages one and three

More cruise ship passengers will be visiting out city this summer.

According to the preliminary schedule of cruise stops from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, people can expect to see the 2,435 passenger ship Rhapsody of the Seas stop each Wednesday from8 a. m. to 6 p. m. and the 2,240- passenger Norwegian Star visit Prince Rupert each Thursday from 4 p. m. to 10 p m.

Overall, the city will welcome 65 large cruise ships and 103,000 passengers in 2008, compared to 63 ships and 100,000 people in 2007.

In 2006, Prince Rupert saw 32 ships and 62,845 passengers.

In addition, Celebrity Cruise Lines is increasing its calls on Prince Rupert from two visits to five with the Mercury and Infinity.

Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas will be making port calls with sister ship Rhapsody of the Seas, and Norwegian Cruise Lines is extending the length of Norwegian Star’s visit each Thursday to six hours in order to increase shore excursion opportunities for their guests.

The 2008 cruise season will begin with the arrival of the 2,240 passenger Norwegian Star on My 1 and end with the visit of the 1,950 passenger Infinity on Sept. 22.

Tourism Prince Rupert Director Bruce Wishart said they plan to use this year as an opportunity to focus on improving guest experiences by offering more tourist-friendly services in Prince Rupert, as well as more diverse world-class shore excursions, which will highlight the 2008 cruise season.

This year’s cruise visitors will benefit from a number of city enhancements to make their stay more satisfying. The City of Prince Rupert is investing $90,000 in beautification projects along the waterfront surrounding the cruise terminal. In addition, the Prince Rupert Port Authority is partnering with the City of Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert Economic Development Corporation and Tourism Prince Rupert to implement a way-finding program that will enhance cruise visitors’ experience in and around the city when they begin arriving this year.

“The way-finding program is part of our continuing efforts to help make our guests feel at home in Prince Rupert,” said Wishart.

“We’ll offer user-friendly brochures and associated directional signage, so that they can easily move about the city and find the shopping and attractions in which they are interested,” said Wishart.

“Heritage signs will encourage people to linger in the shopping and cultural areas of the city, and at the same time learn more about our history and culture,” he added.

The Port of Prince Rupert also ahs been focusing its energies on the shore excursion program – to give cruise guests more diverse and value-added shore excursion experiences that capitalize on “where Canada’s wilderness begins” strengths: world-class wildlife viewing; sunning scenery; and 10,000 years of unique First nations culture.

There are now 28 shore excursions in Prince Rupert, including expanded tour capacity of the increasingly popular Khuzemateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, a one-of-its kind protected area that is home to between 40 and 60 grizzlies and a myriad of other land and sea mammals and birds.

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