Cruise season 2016 revs into high gear later this week

Cruise season 2016 began May 9th and by the time the last ship casts off its lines on October 28th, 64 ships will have visited, bringing with them approximately 145,000 passengers and 57,700 crew.  This year, the Port is experiencing a year-over-year 20% increase in cruise passenger traffic.

Cruise ships have been visiting Port Saint John since 1989 and our City has welcomed in excess of 2 million people as guests and crew on more than 1,000 vessels.

All the major cruise lines in the world now visit Saint John and we can handle some of the largest cruise ships in the business today. Check out Anthem of the Seas next week and on 3 more occasions in September and Octobershe’ll be the largest ship to visit here to date.

Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas

While the season runs from May through to October, the months of September and October typically see the most traffic (two-thirds of the entire cruise season).

The reason?  Cruise tourism was established here on the attraction of fall foliage and as a result, this is the most established part of the season.

With the arrival of Holland America’s Rotterdam later this week (August 26) and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas next Tuesday (August 30), we are heading into the peak cruise months of September and October.  We thought you’d like to know what to watch for in the harbour over the next 10 weeks.

Notables of the 2016 cruise season:

  • Seven inaugural calls from ships that have not visited our city before. These include Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Sunshine (June 23), Holland America’s Rotterdam (August 26), Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas (August 30), Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2 (September 24), Silversea Cruises’ Silver Explorer (September 29), Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest (October 1), and Phoenix Reisen’s Amadea (October 22).
  • Mid-sized boutique luxury line, Azamara Club Cruises, docking on October 1st with 700 passengers is a new cruise line for Port Saint John.
  • Blount Small Ship Adventures returned this year, staying dockside at Pugsley Slip (foot of Princes Street) for five days in early August.
  • Disney Cruise Line returns to the port city with Disney Magic on October 4th.
  • Six double-ship days, five triple-ship days highlight a busy September and October. (See the schedule below).
  • The 2 busiest cruise days will be September 28 and October 19 the, when the City will welcome over 12,000 passengers and crew on each day. To put that in perspective on how cruise business has grown in Saint John, 12,000 was approximately the number of cruise guests for the entire year back in 1996, 20 years ago.
  • The busiest 3 weeks in cruise begin September 26 and run to October 15, corresponding with peak fall colours. During these 3 weeks almost 40% of the entire season will occur with approximately 56,800 guests and 22,700 crew members during 30 ship visits.
  • Ship watchers should keep their eye out for Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas on August 30, September 13, September 29, and October 13. Anthem of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship to visit Saint John yet.

Cruise tourism activity in Saint John represents a $25 million annual boost to New Brunswick’s economy.

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Saint John to enjoy boost in cruise ship passenger numbers in 2016


Triple cruise ship day in 2015

May 9th will see the first cruise ship of the season dock in Saint John harbour, and it will be the beginning of a busy season of calls.

By the time the last ship casts off its lines on October 28th, 64 ships will have visited, bringing with them approximately144,000 passengers and 57,700 crew.

“Our passenger numbers for 2016 represent an increase of 20% over last year,” says Jim Quinn, President & CEO of Port Saint John. “That is great news for Southern New Brunswick, and for its many tourism-related businesses.”

This year’s cruise ship schedule includes six inaugural calls from ships that have not visited our city before. These include Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Sunshine, Holland America’s Rotterdam, Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas, Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2, Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest, and Phoenix Reisen’s Amadea.

Azamara Club Cruises is a new line for Port Saint John. Described as a mid-sized boutique luxury line, their vessel Azamara Quest will dock on October 1st, carrying close to 700 passengers.

Blount Small Ship Adventures will also return this year, staying dockside for five days.

Disney Cruise Line also returns to the port city with Disney Magic on October 4th, after a four-year hiatus.

“This season we will have 8 double-ship days and 4 triple-ship days,” says Quinn. “Our busiest cruise day will be October 19, when we will welcome 8,900 passengers and 3,500 crew for a total of 12,400 visitors to the city. We look forward to an active cruise season for the many operators both large and small in Southern New Brunswick who depend on this industry.”

Cruise activity via Port Saint John represents a $25 million annual boost to New Brunswick’s economy.


When a lobster waves at you on your way to lunch – that’s how you know it’s cruise season.

Walking down Water Street, the Steamers lobster isn’t the only thing moving and shaking. Passengers are leaving the cruise terminal, sporting cameras and sneakers, eager to explore the city. Tour operators are taking people to experience the region. Businesses are opening their doors, offering local treats.

The cruise season officially kicked off on August 2, with the arrival of the Carnival Splendor. Holland America Line’s Veendam arrived on August 18.

This season, after last year’s quarter-century celebration, is not without its milestones.

In September, we mark our 1000th ship call. As well, there is a record number of double-ship days, 2 triple-ship days and seven inaugural calls.

“My office window looks right onto these ships when they arrive. Some of them even tower past the terminal, filled with passengers waiting to experience our community. Saint John has a lot to offer and I’m proud to live in a place where newcomers get such a warm welcome,” Jim Quinn, president and CEO of Port Saint John, said.

Here are some fast facts for this cruise season:

  • 19 different vessels from cruise lines all over the world.
  • 11 double-ship days
  • 2 triple-ship days
  • 7 inaugural calls
  • The Royal Princess, christened by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, will be calling for the first time

“We may not be doing a season’s worth of anniversary celebrations, but every cruise day is like a party here. Our talented tour operators, greater community and cruise stakeholders offer passengers an experience they just can’t get elsewhere – genuine hospitality, remarkable scenery and centuries of history,” Betty MacMillan, Manager of Cruise Development added.

Cruise season ends on October 27, with the Regent Seven Seas Navigator. Next year, Port Saint John will get our first experience as a homeport, with the arrival of Blount Small Ship Adventures. For more on that, visit us at Port Saint John and Blount Small Ship Adventures here.

For continual news about cruise in Saint John follow on Facebook by liking the Cruise Saint John page and to check when ships are arriving visit the cruise schedule.