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scenic eclipse
In addition to big ships, Port Charlottetown is also drawing smaller luxury ships, like Scenic Eclipse PHOTO: Scenic

PEI's Charlottetown racks up a record cruise season

Prince Edward Island’s Port Charlottetown handled a record-breaking number of passengers and crew during the 2019 season, which wrapped Monday.

Just over 128,000 passengers and 55,000 crew visited, representing a total direct economic impact of nearly $21.7m, and a 31.5% increase over 2018.

Summer visits on the rise

‘While the bulk of the calls come in the fall months, we are very pleased to see increased calls throughout the summer as well,’ said Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown.

Ships big and small

Port Charlottetown also welcomed its largest cruise ship, MSC Meraviglia, carrying 4,500 passengers, on Oct. 12. Other maiden calls were by Scenic Eclipse, Holland America’s Zaandam, TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 1 and Sapphire Princess.

‘We are seeing larger vessels calling our port and region, but we are also seeing great growth in the smaller luxury lines, which speaks directly to the quality of product and tour offerings we have here on Prince Edward Island,’ said Corryn Clemence, cruise development, communications and brand manager for the port.

‘We’ve built great relationships throughout our industry and are excited to continue to promote the authentic, world-class product we have here on Prince Edward Island to the growing cruise industry,’ she added.

Economic impact across PEI

Cruising’s economic impact can be felt across the island, since many tours reach a number of rural communities and businesses. ‘With a small province, we are able to offer passengers a half day tour to rural areas, leaving the remainder of their day to enjoy the beauty, history, dining and shopping that Charlottetown offers,’ Clemence said.

Port Charlottetown expects further growth in 2020.