Arrival of ms Zaandam on Sunday Marks Beginning of 2007 Cruise Season: Passengers to Increase by 11% Over 2006



    VANCOUVER, April 5 /CNW/ - Vancouver's 2007 cruise season begins on
Sunday 8 April when Holland America Line's ms Zaandam arrives at Canada Place.
    During the 2007 cruise season, the Port of Vancouver will welcome
33 ships and 273 calls at its two cruise terminals, Canada Place and
Ballantyne. Vancouver will also see 930,000 cruise revenue passengers, up from
837,823 in 2006, due to the return of Celebrity Cruises' 1,870-passenger
Mercury, new service on the 700-passenger Pacific Princess, and the
larger-capacity Norwegian Sun replacing the Norwegian Wind.
    "The VPA is looking forward to a successful cruise season," said Gordon
Houston, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are confident that
together with our partners at the North West Cruise Ship Association (NWCA),
the Pacific Rim Cruise Association (PRCA), Tourism Vancouver and our cruise
terminal operator, Ceres, the exceptional level of service, smooth operations
and superior luggage handling that Vancouver is known for around the world
will continue."
    "We are happy to be back in Vancouver for the Alaska cruise season," said
Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer, Holland America Line,
which operates five ships from the city. "Our guests have enjoyed the
hospitality and friendliness of this scenic gateway for decades now and we are
excited to bring even more guests to Vancouver in 2007."
    "The cruise season plays a pivotal role for Vancouver's tourism industry
and positioning the city as an essential component of the cruise experience is
important for us," said Dayna Miller, Director Sales, Travel Trade & Cruise at
Tourism Vancouver. "The PRCA study shows we have a 'must-see' destination that
passengers want to explore, and Vancouver received extremely high satisfaction
ratings on nearly all aspects of their visit including attractions,
sightseeing, dining, shopping and accommodation."
    Berlitz, the London based travel publisher, has recognized Vancouver as
the most passenger-friendly cruise port in North America. And according to a
2006 Vancouver Cruise Passenger Study conducted by the PRCA, passengers rated
their Vancouver cruise terminal experience 4.5 out of a possible 5.0, giving
the highest accolades to smooth and efficient baggage handling, security
processing and Canada Customs procedures.
    "I am sure the US Direct program, in which passengers are expedited
through the customs and immigration process, is a key factor in the excellent
ratings in the PRCA survey," said Houston. "The program has received
tremendous support and is an excellent example of a collaborative and
innovative approach to enhancing Vancouver's competitive cruise position."
    Cruise and other ocean-going vessels visiting Vancouver will be able to
take advantage of the VPA's new Harbour Dues program. The differentiated rates
- Basic, Bronze, Silver and Gold - are designed to provide a wide variety of
technology and fuel options to vessels in order to promote and build awareness
around a number of alternative emission reduction practices.
    Vancouver, the homeport for the Alaska cruise itinerary, is a popular
destination on the cruising scene. The season runs from April to September,
and the West Coast market, consisting of both Mexico and Vancouver-Alaska
itineraries, is the third most popular cruise in the world after the Caribbean
and Europe.
    The cruise industry provides significant economic benefit to Canada
including $1.3 billion in total economic output and $567 million in total GDP
annually. Each sailing through Vancouver generates approximately $2 million in
economic benefits to the local and provincial economy, and the cruise sector
alone creates 13,500 jobs annually at the Port of Vancouver.

    The Port of Vancouver is Canada's flagship port, trading more than
$53 billion in goods with more than 100 trading economies annually. Port
activities generate 69,200 jobs in total with $4 billion in Gross Domestic
Product and $8.9 billion in economic output.





For further information:

For further information: Anne McMullin, Director, Corporate
Communications and Public Affairs, Vancouver Port Authority, (604) 665-9069
(office), (604) 665-9073 (fax), (778) 231-6978 (cellular),
anne.mcmullin@portvancouver.com. For more information on any of these stories,
call 1-888-PORTVAN. Or, send an email to: public_affairs@portvancouver.com

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