The weather was cloudy and cold, but that didn’t dampen spirits as the first cruise ship in more than two years arrived in Sydney, Nova Scotia on Sunday.
“We froze to death because we’re from South Texas,” said passenger Carolyn Stanton. “But it’s lovely and we’re happy to be here.”
It was the first time Carolyn and her partner Ken had traveled to the east coast of Canada.
“We’re really looking forward to the next six or seven days in Canada,” said Ken.
Waterfront businesses were also eagerly awaiting the return of the big boats, and the financial boost that comes from the passengers on board.
“Our last was in 2019, and it’s just not the same without them,” said business owner Bruce Meloney. “It really helps our businesses here at the port and in town as well. It’s like Christmas today.
The Seven Seas Navigator arrived around noon on Sunday, but it was not the first cruise ship scheduled to arrive on the island.
High winds prevented the first boat from docking in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia last month.
“We’ve waited a very long time for this to happen, but the energy is so good today and we’re ready to welcome them back,” said Sydney cruise manager Samantha Ash.
There are 83 cruise ships scheduled to call at Sydney this year.
For the first time, two ships will be able to dock simultaneously in the port, following the completion of the port’s second berth during the pandemic.
“For our tourism sector, this is so important,” Ash said. “We are so happy to have them back for our small businesses and just for the local economy. He’s really been hit hard in the last couple of years.
Cruise ship employees and passengers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Canada. And passengers must pass a COVID-19 test before setting sail.
“We have been so tested. We were vaccinated and double-boosted,” Carolyn said. “We had to go through all sorts of loops to get into Canada and get on the ship, so we feel safe.”
The Seven Seas Navigator has a capacity of 490 passengers, one of the smaller ships to visit, but everyone is happy to have cruise ships calling the island again.