Vancouver To Regain Its Lead Over Seattle?
The Port of Vancouver has been regaining on the Port of Seattle, which in recent years has taken a good chunk of Vancouver?s traditional Alaska cruise business. The worst year by far for Vancouver was 2010, when Seattle overtook the Canadian port as the busiest cruise port in the Pacific Northwest. In that year, sailings from Vancouver dropped 31% and passenger volumes 36%.
Things have started to change, however, as last year, with the return of the 1,750-berth Disney Wonder, 2,002-berth Norwegian Sun, 684-berth Regatta and 1,380-berth Amsterdam, Vancouver saw a 20% gain in cruise passengers.
Where Seattle was once in the lead, both ports now see about 800-825,000 passengers a year at present.
After a few years, people seem to have settled on a few truths about the two ports. For one thing, ships sailing from Vancouver are 125 nautical miles closer to Alaska to start with, and they sail the Inside Passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Seattle-based ships, on the other hand, must take the ocean passage outside Vancouver Island in order to make up time in getting to Alaska. This route is far less scenic and amounts to two and a half days of open seas as opposed to the constant scenery on both sides experienced on Vancouver-based ships making their way north.
On top of this, it can be choppy on the outside route. There is also a difference in air fares for US passengers. For most, air fares to Vancouver are often double what they can get on domestic flights to Seattle. But this concern is easily handled as there are plenty of inexpensive coach transfer services between Seattle and Vancouver (a distance of 150 miles), as well as a choice of rail journeys between the two cities ranging from Amtrak service to this year?s arrival of the Rocky Mountaineer.
Last year, twenty-nine vessels sailed under Vancouver?s scenic Lion?s Gate Bridge, carrying more than 813,000 passengers on 230 sailings. These numbers compare to 177 departures in 2010, 199 in 2011 and 191 in 2012. The 2014 total is projected to be 248 departures from Vancouver, compared to 178 from Seattle.
Passenger numbers are up too. In 2010, only 578,000 cruise passengers sailed through Vancouver, compared to last year?s 813,000, a rise of more than 40% in three years. At its peak, before Seattle opened up to cruise ships, Vancouver saw 340 ships taking more than 1.125 million passengers, but it may be some time before this sort of number is achieved again, if ever.
Seattle, meanwhile, has grown from no cruise ship visits in 1999 to 100 in 2002 and 223 in 2009, but will drop back to 178 this year as lines such as Disney have returned to Vancouver. And because Victoria is used as a foreign port of call by Seattle-based ships to avoid falling under US coasting regulations, that port has seen a growth similar to Seattle?s, from 34 calls in 1999, 110 in 2002 and 210 in 2013.
Click here to read more.
Source: Kevin Griffin (2014). Vancouver To Regain Its Lead Over Seattle?, Latest Cruise News http://www.latecruisenews.com/2014/04/14/vancouver-to-regain-its-lead-over-seattle-other-cruise-news-explorer-of-the-seas-to-australia-bermuda-forecasts-21000-more-cruisers-this-year/ published Apr 14, 2014. Viewed Apr 15, 2014.