Five cruise ships on one day this week

It’s quints! Saturday will see five cruise ships arrive — the most on one day this season.

“It is an exciting day. It shows that Victoria is very much a popular port, that the cruise lines like coming here, and it also shows that there is demand for Victoria,” Ian Robertson, chief executive officer of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, said Monday.

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Five ships have arrived previously in one day, but that was several years ago, he said.

On four days this cruise season, four ships will come in. It is not unusual to see three cruise ships docked on one day.

Longshoremen at Ogden Point will be handling the first two ships as they pull in at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

The 820-foot-long Crystal Serenity, with 1,080 passengers, stays until 5:30 p.m., when it heads to Vancouver.

Longer visits are greatly desired by the Greater Victoria businesses because visitors have plenty of time during the day to visit attractions and tour downtown.

“We are finding that more and more ships are spending longer times here,” Robertson said.

The 951-foot Grand Princess, with 2,606 passengers, is the other morning visitor. It will be here until 2 p.m., when it leaves for San Francisco.

The other three vessels arrive in the early evening and leave at midnight, all heading to Seattle. Classic car shows are staged Saturday evenings at Ogden Point, attracting both visitors and local residents, Robertson said.

At 6 p.m., the 965-foot Norwegian Pearl arrives with 2,394 passengers. The Amsterdam, at 780 feet, is also expected at 6 p.m. with 1,389 passengers. The Ruby Princess, at 945 feet, with 3,080 passengers, comes in at 7 p.m.

This year’s cruise ship season kicked off April 1, with a planned 227 visits by ships carrying 533,000 passengers.

Many passengers are exploring Victoria on foot. Pocket guides are available when passengers arrive and signage is improved, Robertson said.

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