A record number of cruise ship passengers flooded into Halifax Thursday and were treated to a truly authentic Nova Scotian experience — rain, wind and chilly temperatures.
About 11,000 passengers from five large ships were docked in the Halifax harbour Thursday — a record breaking number of people for one day, according to the Halifax Port Authority.
“The Port of Halifax has been working with many of our partners … to really market the cruise business here in our region,” said Cathy McGrail, the authority’s manager of cruise ship development.
She also noted that while the weather is out of the authority’s control, most visitors to the region know what they are getting into and are drawn to the changing leaves and crisp breeze.
Michigan’s Mimi Murphy said she was enjoying her brief stay in Halifax despite the weather.
“I’m enjoying the cold weather,” she said while strolling the Halifax waterfront. “Michigan has nice cold winters … it’s just for the hardy people.”
Her friend Myrt Hayes disagreed. With admirable self-restraint, even while looking particularly uncomfortable in the strong breeze, Hayes chattered that Halifax is beautiful, “but a little too cold.”
Despite the chill, Sam Neale, captain of Tall Ship Silva, said many waterfront businesses open up shop this late in the year exclusively for cruise ship business.
“The harbourfront gets pretty crazy when a lot of cruise ships are in,” Neale said. “It goes from being almost dead, because the local tourism season is done … to being totally busy. Everybody opens up at this point in time pretty much only for the cruise ships.”
And business is booming. According to the port authority, the economic impact of cruise ship traffic is estimated at $50 million.
Two hundred and fifteen thousand passengers are expected to pass through the port this year, with approximately 175,000 of those coming through during September and October alone.
It’s also a record-breaking week, with the Port of Halifax handling 16 cruise ships in five days for a total capacity of 27,657 passengers.