Sydney cruise season launches Saturday

Laura Jean Grant, The Cape Breton Post
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SYDNEY — An LED screen featuring videos, images and information about Cape Breton will greet the 99,000 cruise ship passengers expected to visit the port of Sydney this season.

Bernadette MacNeil, manager of cruise marketing and development for the Sydney Ports Corporation, stands in front of a new LED screen that will be used to welcome cruise ship visitors this season.

ernadette MacNeil, manager of cruise marketing and development for the Sydney Ports Corp., said the large screen is located on the dock next to the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion and it faces the water.

She said the video, which will play as a cruise ship arrives, can be customized to what's happening that day on the island and what tours are available, and another video will play as the ships depart the port.

"We want something memorable, a lasting impression as the ship is pulling away," she said, noting it will include the message "Your heart will never leave."

Sydney's 2015 cruise season kicks off Saturday with a visit from the Maasdam.

MacNeil said that in addition to tours to island attractions, there's also plenty for cruise ship passengers to do in and around the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion, which includes a full-service visitor information centre, a tourism exhibition centre, the Flavor on the Water restaurant, the Big Fiddle Market featuring local crafters, and nine shopping boutiques.

One new business setting up shop at the pavilion is the Kilted Moose Trading Company, where local ice cream, popcorn, fudge, oatcakes, and other treats and souvenirs will be sold.

"Lots of good things to indulge your sweet tooth," said manager and co-owner Nic Meloney, who was at the site Wednesday preparing the new shop for business. "We're pretty excited for the season."

Seventy-three cruise ships are scheduled to visit the port of Sydney in 2015, up from the 65 ships that came in 2014, and on par with the 73 that visited the port in 2013.

"It's comparable to other years and it's holding its own for sure," said MacNeil.

Highlights of the 2015 season include a visit by the renowned Queen Mary 2, five inaugural cruise ship visits, and seven days where there will be multiple cruise ships in port.

The Maasdam, a Holland America cruise ship, will continue to be a regular visitor to the port with 24 stops here this season — accounting for about one-third of all visits to Sydney in 2015.

"That relationship is strong. We call them our best client," she said.

MacNeil said the fall continues to be the busiest part of the cruise season with 43 of the 73 cruise ships coming to Sydney in September and October.

The final visit of the season will be the Seven Seas Navigator on Nov. 1.

By the numbers

Sydney's 2015 cruise sesason:

• 99,229 — passengers expected to visit port

• 44,958 — crew expected to visit port

• 73 — cruise ships scheduled to visit

• 24 — visits by the Maasdam cruise ship

• 5 — inaugural cruise ship visits

• 7 — number of times more than one cruise ship will be in port on the same day

• $27.7 million — estimated economic impact


Organizations: Sydney Ports, Kilted Moose Trading Company, Queen Mary 2

Geographic location: Sydney, Holland America

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