350 cruise trips expected to return to Victoria in 2022

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to return to Victoria next year during the 2022 cruise ship season, according to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA).

The GVHA said it had completed a draft schedule for the 2022 season, with the first ship to arrive on April 6. It will be the first cruise ship to dock in Victoria in roughly two years.

While the draft schedule is subject to change, the GVHA says 350 ship calls are currently scheduled to arrive in Victoria between March and October 2022.

The harbour association estimates that 759,000 passengers will be aboard those ships, a total that's close to the number of visitors that arrived during the 2019 cruise ship season.

"Our government is excited to welcome the first cruise ship back in Canadian waters in two years to the Victoria Cruise Terminal, Canada’s busiest port of call and a strategic stop on the popular Alaskan cruise itinerary," said B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming in a statement Monday.

"Our government is working hard with our partners to support the safe restart of the $2.7 billion industry in British Columbia."

The GVHA says health regulations for cruise ships are set by the federal government. Currently, Canada requires cruise ship passengers and crew members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and operators must have COVID-19 management plans and reporting protocols in place.

The harbour authority says it has plans in place to meet cruise = passengers upon arrival, and that its safety measures "will always meet both federal and provincial health requirements."

"We’ve worked hard and collaborated with government and industry to ensure that when ships return to Canada, and to Victoria, we will be ready to safely welcome passengers and crew," said Ian Robertson, CEO, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority on Monday.

"I look forward to being on the pier when that first ship arrives, and the first cruise passengers in two years disembark the ship to explore our beautiful city," he said.