Friday, January 10, 2014

Nanaimo Cruise Ships 2014 - Only 2 Stop Here

Is Nanaimo cruise ship business sailing slowly into the sunset?

The local daily is reporting only two cruise ships scheduled to visit Nanaimo this year, and even then the article only says we 'expect' to see two cruise ships this year.

The story goes on to report a few explanations from a Port Authority spokesman which really makes little to no sense. For example it is said one reason for the lower number of visits is a need to cut costs in the cruise ship industry. That might make some sense if it weren't for the fact that Victoria is scheduled to see 210 cruise ships visit Ogden Point this year, up from 203 last year.

At the height of Nanaimo's cruise ship business we saw 13 ships come to Nanaimo back before we had our fancy cruise ship dock and terminal. There has been a steady, consistent decline in those numbers every year since then. Why? Perhaps it is because Nanaimo just simply does not have the tourist appeal we all would like to think it does.

Cruise ship lines are in a business, and you can bet they analyze and scrutinize every port of call they decide to include and offer to their passengers. I am sure they solicit feedback from their guests and ask for their thoughts after stopping at certain ports. If Nanaimo's response is not positive (and I expect is it lacking), it won't take long for the cruise ship lines to drop ports from their list of stops.

So rather than saying cruise ships aren't choosing to stop in Nanaimo because of cost cutting measures when in fact their stops in Victoria are more than last year, why not look for the real answer. Maybe the real answer is, that Nanaimo just isn't the tourist destination we keep liking to think it is. Or perhaps the marketing department at the Nanaimo Port Authority isn't all we could hope for.

Be honest now ........ if you were advising someone on a cruise to spend a day in Victoria or Nanaimo, which one would you recommend?



  1. It’s time to call the port authority and some politicians to task - again.

    There should be chastising for all who touted building a new $24-million cruise ship terminal would moor the city to economic prosperity. (i.e.: see convention centre, future hotel, proposed fast ferry)

    This week the Nanaimo Port Authority, no-doubt as quietly as possible, announced there will only be 2 ships visiting this year. Fewer and fewer, instead of the promised more and more, since the terminal opened just three years ago.

    Why not build? The cruise industry is only growing at a small rate. Well-ingrained Victoria and Vancouver are hard ports-o-call to break. Campbell River’s terminal, built for $20-million in 2007, grew cob webs and moss a few years after opening. It has not seen a ship since 2009.

    But regardless, in 2010 Nanaimo said, “ Port’s projection within the next 5 years to secure 25-30 large cruise calls per season.” “2,000 passengers and 900 crew spending average $90 U.S. and $40 U.S. respectfully per call.”

    The "fishy" figures go on to proclaim a windfall to the city and its businesses of up to $200-thousand per ship. And based on 25 calls per season, the port authority said $5-million would be poured directly into the local economy.

    Yet again, trumped-up made-to-order studies and propaganda for taxpayer consumption - like the salesmen who boasted the Titanic was unsinkable.

  2. If your passengers are not reporting a good time with any port scheduled, the cruise line drops that port. No cruise line wants to drop their passenger's into a dead zone.

    Nanaimo is not a tourist destination, it never has been. It's always been a blue collar mill town and that'all it will ever be. There is nothing downtown that will draws tourists, there are no popular, ritzy ethnic restaurants, the museum is a joke, there is nothing to see nor do.

    Those involved in the decision making to build a
    this cruise ship terminal, the Mayor, City Council, the Nanaimo Port Authority should all be fired for negligence and wasting taxpayer's money. We can't afford these people, their lack of experience and their stupid decisions.

  3. I'm always a little bit perplexed whenever I hear Nanaimo being described as a tourist destination. I agree there isn't really much at all downtown that will draw tourists. I work in the downtown area and when the cruise ship passengers ask about things to do in the immediate area it's very hard! Most of the time their response is a blank stare. I love our town but a tourist destination it is not.

  4. When the Celebrity Solstice comes calling this September there's only 3 shore tours listed on the cruise line's web site - and all 3 of the tours have passengers being bused out of town with their wallets. The tours go to Port Alberni, Coombs and Horne Lake!


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