The Norwegian Bliss (File photo)

Over the summer, it’s a common thing to witness colossal cruise ships docking in Ogden Point. According to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), a large number of new and old vessels showed up this season.

This year’s cruise ship season officially launched on April 11th, and will close on October 14th. Since April, the GVHA reports that roughly 640,000 passengers and 260,000 crew have visited Victoria on 250 ship calls.

“Cruise ship travel is an integral component of the Greater Victoria tourism industry,” said Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria.

“Research informs us that many cruise passengers are introduced to Greater Victoria for the first time on a cruise and then return for a longer land-based vacation.”

One cause for the visitor increase was the introduction of the largest cruise ship to ever visit Victoria, the Norwegian Bliss, a new vessel from Norwegian Cruise Lines that made its inaugural visit in June.

Larger ships bring more people to Victoria per call, and the Norwegian Bliss brought in an estimated 1,500 additional visitors to the downtown core each Friday afternoon of the season.

The GVHA is a local not-for-profit organization that owns a variety of Victoria’s harbour holdings, like the Ogden Point port facility and Fisherman’s Wharf.

The organization is working on expanding some of its piers and deep-water facilities to accommodate the addition of new cruise lines in 2019, and beyond.

According to the GVHA, the estimated economic contribution of this year’s cruise ship season is over $130 million.

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