One only had to approach the downtown core of Corner Brook Tuesday afternoon to know a cruise ship was in port. There were hundreds of tourists walking the streets and browsing the shops, while tour buses and taxis scurried around.
While we spot lots of travellers each day during the summer months, the visual impact of a cruise ship — with a capacity of 3,100 passengers and 600 crew such as the M/S Veendam — doesn’t go unnoticed.
What was especially nice to see was the visit of the Veendam during the prime tourist season. Corner Brook’s cruise ship season usually takes place in the fall, often leaving these visitors to brave the elements of Newfoundland’s typically wet, cool fall weather. The folks on the daylong stop over Tuesday were gifted with a beautiful sunny day to take in our spectacular scenes, and that only bolsters the visit for all involved.
While the influx of folks aboard a cruise ship any time of year spreads some extra cash around the western region, it only stands to reason summer ports of call can be better revenue generators. Besides allowing passengers and crew the ability to hoof around the city itself — without a layer of heavy clothing and toting an umbrella — it also provides seasonal business operations a bigger piece of the pie.
Folks can hit the beaches for a few hours, play a round of golf or maybe take a zipline ride across the beautiful Steady Brook falls. Not things they might want to partake of in mid-October.
The Corner Brook Port Corporation is hosting nine cruise visits this fall, not a bad haul for sure, and the corporation’s staff is working to add more stops each year. But, when you look at the number of visits other ports in the Atlantic region are blessed with, the question is why Corner Brook can’t get a larger piece of the lucrative summer cruise ship season?
St. John’s has 21 visits scheduled this year, while a reasonable comparison to a city Corner Brook’s size would be Sydney, N.S., which has more than 60 ships planned for visits. If there are that many cruise ships touring Atlantic waters, why can’t a few more add western Newfoundland to their ports of call?
There’s no doubt the Corner Brook Port Corporation is doing its part to see this industry grow, and local businesses and services are looking for ways to improve their cruise ship bounty, but seeing the bustle of visitors taking in the sights in the summer sun was a welcome sight indeed.