First cruise ship in more than two years docked in Sydney, N.S., Sunday

The weather was cloudy and cold, but it didn't dampen spirits as the first cruise ship in more than two years arrived in Sydney, N.S., on Sunday.

“We're freezing to death because we're from south Texas,” said passenger Carolyn Stanton. “But it's lovely and we're happy to be here.”

It was Carolyn and her partner Ken's first time on the east coast of Canada.

“We're really looking forward to the next six, seven days in Canada,” said Ken.

Businesses on the waterfront were also looking forward to the return of the big boats, and the financial boost that comes from the passengers on board.

“Our last one was in 2019, and it's just not the same without them,” said business owner Bruce Meloney. “This really helps our businesses down here at the port and in town as well. It's like Christmas today.”

The Seven Seas Navigator pulled in just around noon Sunday, but it wasn't the first cruise ship scheduled to arrive to the island.

Gale force winds kept the first boat from docking in Louisbourg, N.S., last month.

“We waited extra-long for this to come, but the energy is so good today and we're ready to welcome them back,” said Sydney cruise manager Samantha Ash.

There are 83 cruise ships scheduled to stop in Sydney this year.

For the first time, two ships will be able to dock at once in the harbour, after the port’s second berth was completed during the pandemic.

“For our tourism sector, it's so important,” said Ash. “We're so happy to have them back for our small businesses and just for the local economy. It's really been hit hard the last two years.”

Cruise ship employees and passengers have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter Canada. And passengers have to take a COVID-19 test before they set sail.

“We've been so thoroughly tested. We've been vaccinated and double boosted,” said Carolyn. “We had to go through all kinds of loops to get into Canada and to get on the ship, so we feel safe.”

The Seven Seas Navigator has a passenger capacity of 490, one of the smaller ships to visit, but everyone is happy to have cruise ships calling on the island once again.