Cruise Ship at Ogden Point
Every Friday and Saturday at the height of the cruise ship season, Victoria welcomes between 7,500 to 8,500 visitors through the Ogden Point cruise terminal. Up to one-third of those visitors walk into downtown looking to experience the city – shopping, dining, and seeing the sights. Even more arrive to Downtown Victoria via shuttle bus, taxi, pedicab, rickshaws, and bicycle.
The timing of the ships’ arrivals means that around 2,500 visitors arrive into Victoria at 2:30 pm and over 5,000 arrive at 6:00 pm, with an average of five and a half hours to spend in the city. The last shuttle bus back to Ogden Point leaves downtown Victoria at 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights (and also Mondays and Thursdays). Over the course of an average week between 25,000 – 30,000 cruise ship visitors will come to Victoria, as well as more than 9,000 crew.
Put in other words, downtown plays host to thousands of international visitors who are eager to see, taste and shop Victoria, especially on Friday and Saturday nights after 6:00 pm.
Where are these ships coming from and who are the guests on them? More than 4 out of 5 of the cruise ships calling into Victoria in 2017 start and end their voyage in Seattle, and feature an international guest demographic. Almost every ship has already visited Alaska, the second most in-demand cruising region in the world, and Victoria is their last port-of-call before the end of their voyage. While we know that younger generations – including Millennials – are embracing cruise travel more than ever, the average age of guests taking an Alaskan cruise is in their late 40s. These guests are usually travelling with their spouse, and they are looking to get an authentic taste of the local port they are visiting.
We also know that cruise guests comment on how beautiful, clean and friendly Victoria is, with our gardens and flowers standing out in their memories. In my time at sea with Royal Caribbean International, it was always a point of pride for me to hear these comments from guests who had been to Victoria. These same guests would often follow-up with a comment along the lines of, “it’s too bad that things seem to close so early.”
Lindsay Gaunt is Director, Cruise Development at the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. She spent eight years at sea on the world’s largest cruise ships as a marketing and revenue manager and can confirm that guests from around the world love Victoria. This season’s cruise ship schedule can be found at victoriacruise.ca. Subscribe for schedule updates here: http://www.victoriacruise.ca/cruise-schedule/current-season/subscribe