Vancouver Closes Season On a Green Note

Setting sail from the Canada Place cruise terminal this week, Island Princess concluded Port Metro Vancouver's 2010 Alaska sailing season. While the Pacific Northwest coastal port welcomed fewer cruise ships in 2010 than in 2009, many of the ships that did use its facilities helped contributed to a greener environment for this coastal city.

Island Princess was one of six ships this year that plugged into Vancouver's new "shore power" facilities rather than running onboard engines for electricity needs while docked. Three other Princess Cruises ships and two Holland America ships also connected to shore power in a green movement that reduced greenhouse gases at the port by an estimated 3,000 tons this year.

Port Metro Vancouver, the Government of Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and BC Hydro have joined together to invest $9 million in providing shore power at Canada Place, the first cruise terminal in Canada to offer shore power facilities.

During the 2010 cruise season, Port Metro Vancouver welcomed 177 calls, including 44 shore power connections and more than 570,000 passengers. Vancouver expects renewed cruise ship growth in 2011, although -- as with 2010 -- not all ships will utilize shore power.

Retrofitting ships so their onboard technology can accommodate shore power is a sizable investment. Holland America's President and CEO Stein Kruse previously told Travel Agent the technical requirements of retrofitting an existing ship to hook up and utilize shore power runs about $1 million per ship. Both Holland America and Princess will return to Vancouver in 2011 with their shore-power-enabled ships.

What's new for Port Metro Vancouver for 2011? Disney Wonder will home port in Vancouver for its inaugural Alaska season. Oceania Cruises also debuts its Alaska season for 2011 with Regatta home porting in Vancouver. And Crystal Cruises makes a return to Alaska with nine port calls in Vancouver.

Port Metro Vancouver says the cruise industry is an important economic engine in the Vancouver area, with more than $2 million in economic benefit for every cruise ship call in Vancouver.