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Vancouver's Canada Place named the world's best cruise ship port

For the very first time, the annual World Travel Awards (WTA) has named Canada Place, the cruise ship terminal of Vancouver, as the “World’s Leading Cruise Port.”

The winners of the 2023 awards for dozens of tourism-related categories were released this week, with Canada Place earning the top spot in the cruise port category.

Between 2008 and 2022, Mina Rashid in Dubai consecutively won the global title for cruise ports. Before that, the Malmo Port of Copenhagen took the top spot in 2005, and the Miami Port between 1994 and 2004.

This builds on WTA’s previous annual awards of naming Canada Place as the “North America’s Leading Cruise Port” in 2021 and 2020, short of being the very best in the world. Miami Port was the top North American cruise port in 2022, as well as in 2019 and prior.

Founded in 1993, WTA is based in London, UK, and its prestigious internationally recognized annual awards are based on public votes of its registered members worldwide.

Prior to the pandemic, other rankings by publications such as Cruise Insights Magazine and Cruise Critic also named Canada Place as one of the world’s best cruise ship ports.

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Norwegian Bliss at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal in downtown Vancouver on April 14, 2023. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

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Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam at Vancouver’s Canada Place cruise ship terminal on August 13, 2023. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Many cruise ship ports are located deep within industrial zones and/or co-located with cargo container terminals, and often away from city centres. But Canada Place is located in a highly urban, pedestrian-friendly area in the heart of downtown Vancouver — on the central waterfront of the business district, immediately adjacent to hotels, restaurants, retail districts, attractions, and major public transit services, and fully immersed by the city’s scenic natural surroundings.

Not to mention that Canada Place, with its distinct five sails, is one of Vancouver’s most iconic landmarks, and the promenade on its pier is publicly accessible, enabling the public to view and walk the length of the cruise ships up close.

As a case in point, the Disney Wonder’s homeport during the summer cruise season for Alaska itineraries has consecutively been Vancouver since 2013. Disney Cruise Line permanently moved the vessel’s homeport to Seattle for the 2012 season, but it was short-lived, with the vessel returning to Vancouver for the following year due to its far more positive feedback from passengers.

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Cruise ships docked at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal in downtown Vancouver. (Shutterstock)

Alaska cruise BC

Canada Place cruise ship terminal in downtown Vancouver. (Shutterstock)

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Disney Wonder at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal in downtown Vancouver. (Macklin Holloway/Shutterstock)

Vancouver has also experienced a strong post-pandemic recovery in its cruise ship industry in 2022 and 2023 to date.

Earlier this month, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority shared that halfway into the 2023 cruise ship season, over the first four months, it already saw over 740,000 cruise passengers pass through the Canada Place cruise ship terminal in downtown Vancouver. This exceeds the first four months of the 2022 season between April and July by 70%, or over 300,000, when about 438,000 cruise ship passengers were recorded over the same period.

Vancouver’s cruise ship business is on pace to reach an all-time annual record for total number of passengers, with the port authority previously forecasting up to 1.3 million passengers on 331 ship visits.


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