Port of Toronto Cruise Ship Terminal Welcomes First Passenger Ship in Two Years, the 378-passenger Viking Octantis, on its Inaugural Visit to Great Lakes
TORONTO, April 29, 2022 /CNW/ – After two years of suspended service due to COVID-related travel restrictions, Great Lakes cruises have returned to the Port of Toronto, and it promises to be the biggest year yet with 40 ships scheduled to call at the Port of Toronto Cruise Ship Terminal. Earlier today, PortsToronto proudly welcomed the Viking Octantis on its inaugural visit to the Great Lakes.
With a capacity of 378 guests in 189 staterooms, the Viking Octantis® kicked off the 2022 cruise season that runs from May to October, and will sail five itineraries that stop in Toronto. The ship recently sailed the Atlantic Coastline to the Great Lakes following it first voyages to Antarctica, and will visit U.S. and Canadian destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Charleston, New York, Lunenburg, Quebec City, Niagara Falls, Point Pelee and Thunder Bay. A second, identical sister ship, the Viking Polaris®, will join the fleet later in 2022 and sail the Great Lakes in 2023.
With Toronto as one of the key ports of call, passengers aboard this and other cruise ships remain in Toronto for one to three days and support the local economy by enjoying restaurants, attractions and shopping while in the city. In fact, a 2018 study estimated that cruise activity at Ontario ports could generate more than $6 million annually in revenue to sectors catering to vessels, passengers and crew.1
“The return of cruise ship passengers to the Great Lakes will bring renewal and revitalization to our local tourism and travel sectors, hard-hit over the past two years. We are thrilled to welcome them back,” said Geoffrey Wilson, CEO, PortsToronto. “Between May and October, the Port of Toronto Cruise Ship Terminal will connect thousands of foodies, sightseers and enthusiasts of all kinds to Toronto to discover what we know to be one of the greatest cities in the world.”
“Great Lakes Cruise ships have become increasingly popular at the Port of Toronto over the last decade and we welcome the return of these large passenger vessels after a two-year break due to the pandemic,” said Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson. “These cruise ships bring passengers from as far away as South Africa and Europe to enjoy the restaurants, attractions and events of Toronto and are an important and growing element of our tourism offering, contributing more than $6 million annually. It’s wonderful to see these majestic ships back in our harbour with approximately 40 more on their way this summer and fall.”
“The return of Great Lakes cruising to the Port of Toronto is another important step in the recovery of our visitor economy,” said Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President, Destination Development at Destination Toronto. “Toronto is a waterfront city and cruising has been a growing market opportunity, attracting new visitors who typically add extra time in Toronto as part of their trip.”
About Toronto Cruise Ship Industry
The Port of Toronto offers a unique and popular urban experience for the thousands of travellers who will be making their way through the Great Lakes this season, boosting Toronto’s tourism, entertainment and hospitality industries. A gateway to Canada’s largest city, the Port of Toronto is a turnaround port, allowing Toronto to host arriving and departing cruise ship passengers for several days as they enjoy the many accommodations, restaurants and attractions the city has to offer. To view the Port of Toronto Cruise Ship Terminal’s full 2022 schedule, click here.
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a board with representation from all three levels of government.
Viking was founded in 1997 and provides destination-focused journeys on rivers, oceans and lakes around the world. Designed for experienced travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests The Thinking Person’s Cruise® in contrast to mainstream cruises. With more than 250 awards to its name, Viking has been rated the #1 River Cruise Line and #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. Viking has also been consistently rated the #1 ocean cruise line and one of the best river cruise lines in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best” Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-800-2-VIKING (1-800-284-5464) or visit www.viking.com. For Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, visit www.viking.tv.
1 Bermello, Ajamil and Partners, Great Lakes Cruise Strategy for Ontario Ports, 2018.
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