Victoria’s first scheduled cruise ship visit since the pandemic began has been cancelled due to a last-minute maintenance change.
Greater Victoria Port Authority spokesperson Brian Cant told Black Press Media on Saturday the Caribbean Princess, which was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, will no longer be arriving as scheduled.
“The Caribbean Princess was scheduled for a four-day cruise from San Francisco to Vancouver prior to going into dry dock for refit,” said Cant. “With the ship’s repositioning from the east coast to the west coast (Princess Cruises) have decided to scrap that four-day cruise and they are going to put the ship into dry dock early. We were informed of that late (Friday) night.”
The Caribbean Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, is also currently being investigated and monitored by the U.S. CDC. Under the organization’s COVID-19 program for cruise ships, the vessel is currently listed as having “orange status.”
Cant said that while he is aware the CDC monitors cruise ships for COVID cases, he said the only information the port authority has been provided on the schedule change is related to maintenance plans for the vessel.
The status means there are enough reported COVID-19 cases on the ship for the CDC to launch an investigation, and is the second-highest level of COVID concern under the program.
The schedule change, which Cant said is not uncommon in the early and late cruise season, means that the scheduled April 9 arrival of Holland America Line’s Koningsdam will now be the first cruise ship to make a port call in Victoria.
Cant said that ship’s arrival is still set to be the first cruise ship to dock in Canadian waters in two years.
“If anything I think this change just heightens the anticipation for our organization,” he said. “We were all pretty excited for Wednesday, now we will just have to shift our excitement to Saturday instead.”