Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Embarking in Vancouver

On January 25, 2012 Disney Cruise Line announced that it was going to return to sailing out of Vancouver in 2013. Fifteen trips will leave from this fair city. On 2011 the cruise line announced that it was going to forego the Canadian city not only as a departure city but also as a port of call. This meant a loss of about forty million dollars in revenue for Vancouver. For 2012 Disney sailed out of Seattle instead.

That piece of news got me to thinking about the history of Cruise Ships in our city and I let my fingers do the surfing. I managed to find a couple of sites with information.

On May 28, 1958 a P and O Cruise ship sailed into Vancouver. Almost twenty years had passed since the last voyage of the great CPR Empress liners. (My maternal grandparents arrived on our shores in one of the Empress liners.)

Some have wondered if that was the start of Vancouver's cruise ship business but an expert on the topic, Gary Bannerman, states that the modern cruise era began on our shores four years later with the Seattle World's Fair.

Vancouverites, and all those who like cruises or benefit from the industry, have Stanley B. McDonald - founder of Princess Cruises -  to thank. McDonald chartered an old ship for the Seattle's World Fair in 1962. He transported and housed travellers to go on a circular route that included Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. After the fair McDonald chartered an old Canadian Princess ship, the Princess Patricia,  and offered cruises from Los Angeles to Mexico during the winter.

At the same time Florida tour brokers, including the founder of Carnival Cruises Ted Arison, were working with Norwegian ship owners and selling Caribbean cruises.

During the steamship era there was animosity and competition between the steamships and the airlines. But with the advent of cruise ships that competition turned into a partnership. After all the airlines could fly the ship passengers to wherever the cruise was leaving from.

An interesting aspect to all this though is that in Vancouver it seems that 1958 was the year that P and O made Vancouver a regular point of call. The Panoceanic passenger ship, S.S.Himalaya, made a few visits to this city and each arrival was greeted with fire boats and brass bands on the pier.

Dean Miller, the PR representative for P and O, made every maiden visit of each ship and extraordinary event. He eventually became synonymous with the cruise ship industry and by the time he died in 1997 Vancouver had become one of the important ports of embarkation for the international cruise ship industry.

I would like to mention that although Disney Cruise Line vacated Vancouver for 2012 we do have other cruise lines sailing out of this coastal city.

I would like to thank The History of Metropolitan Vancouver and Bannerline Communications websites for the above information. If you find the topic of the history of cruise ships interesting then you might want to look into Gary Bannerman's book, Cruise Ships, the Inside Story, which was published by Saltaire Publishing Ltd in 1974.
I hope you find the beauty around you.

(there is supposed to an amphersand between the P and the O when I menton the P and O cruise ships but this program won't let me use one so I put in the and instead.)

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