VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s a devastating blow to Vancouver’s already ailing cruise ship industry. Disney Cruise Line is leaving our city as a port-of-call just months after announcing service. The cruises will leave Seattle instead.
“If you’ve booked for this year, you’re good to go,” explains Claire Newell with Jubilee Travel. “Starting May 2012 the cruises will leave Seattle instead.”
She says the ships will do the regular Alaska run and will make two stops in Victoria. But they’ll bypass Vancouver altogether. “Not only as the embarkation location, but also as a stop on the itinerary.”
“This is going to cost Vancouver millions of dollars in lost revenue, probably to the tune of $40 million,” she predicts.
That’s because each ship can bring in as much as $2 million to the local economy. Newell speculates Disney Cruise Line is leaving because we have an expensive port and it’s more difficult for American travelers to get here as opposed to Seattle.
Newell says cruises have been heading south for a few years now, and it’s hurting. “It’s really sad for the Port of Metro Vancouver and the cruise ship industry here. Seattle is an easier draw for U.S. residents to get to. It’s an easier funnel. There are more airlines going to Seattle rather than up to Vancouver for U.S. clientelle,” she explains. “Because of that, it means there are lower prices.”
A representative from Disney Cruise Line says the speculation is not true. “Both ports have a great deal to offer; port availability for the itinerary we wanted to offer played a factor,” says Christi Erwin-Donnan with the company. “But really, we’re testing the waters in different home ports.”
She says the company will consider Vancouver again in the future.
Vancouver’s tourism industry reacting
Ryan Robutka with Tourism Vancouver says it’s a disappointing decision, but he’s trying to put a positive spin on things. “Even though Disney is pulling out this year, they’re planning to visit Vancouver twice next year. We’re optimistic that maybe we’ll have Disney come back one day in the future.”
Carmen Ortega with Port Metro Vancouver wants to see that, too.
Ortega also pointed to Princess Cruises bringing another ship to Vancouver in 2012 as a positive that will help offset this loss.