The first cruise ship of the season at the port of Saint John docked in Saint John harbour on May 9, for the beginning of what will be a busy season of calls. By the time the last ship casts off its lines on October 28, 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 per cent over last year,” says Jim Quinn, President and CEO of Saint John Port Authority. “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 the 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, its 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. And Disney Cruise Line also returns to Saint John 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.”

While Saint John welcomed 107,000 cruise passengers in 2014 and 120,000 in 2015, and now expects 144,000 for 2016, the Port is still some way from attracting the record annual number of 190,000 cruise passengers it welcomed on average during the years 2010 to 2012.