Politics

Nanaimo hopeful Silver Muse stop could translate to more cruise ship visits in future


Officials are doing their best to make a good impression while the Silver Muse is docked at the Port of Nanaimo, in the hopes the cruise line will consider returning to the Vancouver Island city.

Officials are doing their best to make a good impression while the Silver Muse is docked at the Port of Nanaimo, in the hopes the cruise line will consider returning to the Vancouver Island city.

The 213-metre long Silversea Cruises ship pulled into Nanaimo on Sunday for a seven-to-10-day stop for an operational maintenance call.

No passengers are on board as the crew members ready the vessel for the upcoming cruise ship season, when it will run mainly between Alaska and Vancouver.

This was a short-notice arrival, but Port of Nanaimo chief executive Ian Marr is thrilled the company chose the city. Silversea Cruises is part of Royal Caribbean’s cruise holdings.

Port officials are “talking to them about future visits as well,” Marr said Tuesday.

The Silver Muse can carry up to 596 passengers and 411 crew members. It was built in 2017 and weighs about 40,800 tons.

Marr has not seen local work trucks at the ship and is assuming that safety protocols during the pandemic are keeping the crew on board.

Cruise ports around the world lobby for ship visits because of their economic impact. In addition to bringing what can be thousands of passengers and crew members to shore to shop and take in attractions, ships also take on provisions, use local services and get repairs done while in port. A stop in a port also allows a community to showcase itself in the hopes of attracting return visits from tourists.

COVID-19 shut down the global cruise industry but it is opening up again with new protocols.

Victoria is set to receive about 350 cruise ship visits this year, with vessels carrying a total of nearly 760,000 passengers.

Nanaimo, however, does not have any cruise ship visits scheduled this year, Marr said.

Just prior to announcement of the pandemic, the Port of Nanaimo was preparing a revised marketing strategy to attract the big ships, he said. “We just had to put all that on the shelf.”

He is hoping to attract ships in 2023. There are no commitments so far, but “we are working on that.”

cjwilson@timescolonist.com





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