First cruise ship just arrived in Toronto kicking off record-breaking season
Cruise season has officially arrived in Toronto, welcoming its first ship of the 2023 on April 28.
The luxurious Viking Octantis expedition ship kicked off the 2023 passenger season, briefly docking in Toronto before embarking on its tour of the Great Lakes.
With 54 ships slated to visit the city between May and October carrying over 22,000 passengers, the Port of Toronto is set to have another record-breaking cruise ship season.
While most might not think of our city as your typical cruising destination, in recent years Toronto has become an increasingly popular urban jumping off point for cruises throughout the Great Lakes.
As Toronto is one of the key ports of call, most of these ships will dock in the city for one to three days, letting passengers disembark and explore the city, a boost of support for the local economy.
"From the cruise ship terminal, passengers are a quick five-kilometre drive to downtown, which has the shopping, theatre, sporting events and restaurants you would expect in a world-class city," says President and CEO RJ Steenstra of PortsToronto.
"With the growing trend of 'exploration cruising', the Great Lakes cruising sector has seen a steady increase in both the number of ships as well as the number of passengers choosing to visit our region, and we expect to see this growth continue."
The economic boost isn't just limited to Toronto; the cruises will also move international travellers into smaller towns and ports in Northern Ontario, such as Thunder Bay, Parry Sound, and Port Colborne.
Last year, Cruise the Great Lakes reported that cruising in the Great Lakes generated over a whopping $120 million USD in economic value to the region's ports and communities.
Most cruises of the Great Lakes don't come cheap, however; most average upwards of $5,000, with more luxurious offerings like the 15-day Viking Great Lakes Collection cruise starting at $16,895 per person.
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