James Bay cruise ship
Photo by Dave Van Photography

Victorians walking around downtown may find the streets a little more crowded in the weeks to come.

The first massive cruise ship of the 2019 season, the Celebrity Eclipse, will dock in Victoria on April 16th.

The ship is the first of over 260 cruises that are scheduled to visit the city this year between April and October.

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During the season, an estimated one million people (700,000 passengers and 300,000 crew) are expected to grace Victoria’s shores, with an increase in full-day and midweek calls. Additionally, one visitor in May will be greeted as the city’s 8 millionth cruise ship passenger.

“The start of the season brings a flurry of exciting activity to all our cruise-related operations,” said Lindsay Gaunt, Director of Cruise Development for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA)in a release.

“Everything from infrastructure upgrades and new paint to in-person transportation flow discussions with all our operators is required in advance of welcoming our first ship.”

This winter, the GVHA continued to work on its multi-year improvement project on three deep-water berths. Since November 2018, the organization has built two additional information kiosks for greeters, implemented seagull deterrent netting on roofs, and installed five new 200 tonne bollards used to tie up ship lines.

Visitors stepping off these ships will also have access to improved signage and wayfinding to help them make their way into the city. In 2018, 30% of all cruise visitors chose to walk downtown from the ship terminal, and the GVHA plans on building a new pedestrian gateway that will link the terminals to the street front.

For visitors that prefer to walk, bus transportation has been upgraded to include 18 single double-decker busses, allowing for more people to be transported at once without adding more buses to the location.

The final cruise ship that is scheduled to dock in Victoria is the Grand Princess, which will arrive on October 25th, 2019.