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Halifax wraps a season of big new ships as local businesses report gains

Anthem of the Seas called for the first time on Sept. 1 (Photo: Royal Caribbean International)
Some of the world's biggest cruise ships made maiden calls at Halifax, Nova Scotia, during the season that ends Friday with a visit by Serenade of the Seas.

Big ships calling for the first time included Norwegian Breakaway on June 29 and Anthem of the Seas on Sept. 1, while Queen Mary 2 returned for four stops, and Disney Magic also came back.

Halifax Seaport tenants are reporting strong interest and steady foot traffic as a result of cruise visitors.

'We have seen tremendous year-over-year growth at this location,' said Alex MacLean, founder and ceo, East Coast Lifestyle, which has been operating from the Halifax Seaport Immigration Annex for two cruise seasons.

'The cruise guests are a big part of that,' MacLean said. 'They come in looking for an authentic East Coast product they can take back with them, and we are more than happy to provide them with what they are looking for. It has been a great season for us.'

Passenger interest in nearby landmarks like Peggy's Cove and destinations like Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have kept tour operator Ambassatours Gray Line busy since the first vessel arrived in April.

'We are very fortunate here in Nova Scotia to live in a place where people come to spend their vacations,' Ambassatours ceo Dennis Campbell said. 'It is our privilege to provide our cruise guests with a service that helps make their time in our region even more memorable while supporting the local tourism economy.'

The Halifax Port Authority expressed appreciation to its partner organizations, tour operators, retailers and tourism providers who 'go above and beyond each year to provide cruise guests with an unforgettable, authentic experience that keeps them coming back for more.'

Final passenger numbers for the 2016 season are still being tallied and will be released in the coming weeks.

The cruise industry in Halifax is worth an estimated $104.3m each year in economic benefit, according to the most recent economic impact report.


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