That ripple of cruise lines pulling their sailings out of Vancouver and moving them to Seattle seems to have turned into a wave. A few weeks ago, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it was relocating nine of its Alaska sailings to Seattle next season. That's an estimated $18 million loss in B.C. tourism revenue - shifted to Seattle. This week, Seattle-based Holland America said it also will relocate some of its 2010 sailings, replacing 20 week-long Alaska cruises from B.C. with ten 14-day sailings out of Seattle. (That's a view of downtown from a Norwegian Cruise ship, above, my pic). The Vancouver Sun reports that could cost Vancouver (and benefit Seattle) up to $40 million. And there's more.
Steve Pearce, a vice-president with Tourism Vancouver, tells the Sun he expects there to be 62 fewer return sailings from Vancouver in 2010 compared to 2009, a loss of 260,000 passengers and $120 million in economic impact. Some of those sailings will be cutbacks, others could be relocated to Seattle as well. Why? Will Vancouver be too crowded with the Olympics next year, maybe? Seattle's simply cheaper, says Pearce. "Seattle is serviced by more carriers and more importantly more discount carriers. So all things considered it's less expensive to fly to Seattle to take a cruise than it is to fly to Vancouver."