UPDATED: Two cruise ships visiting Pictou County this fall

Published on March 24, 2014
Passengers disembark from the Saga Pearl II, which docked in Pictou on Sept. 14, 2012. As passengers left the pier, they experienced Celtic music, crafts and shops. MacDonald is hoping to recreate this with more visits from cruise ships even as early as this fall. FILE PHOTO

The Port of Pictou is expecting company.

Two ships from the cruise line Pearl Seas, a division of American Cruise Lines, will visit the port on Oct. 3 and Oct. 25 with about 200 passengers each date.

“After the successful visit of the Saga Pearl in 2012, this is wonderful news,” says Geralyn MacDonald, co-chair of the Pictou County Cruise Line Committee and director of Community Economic Development for the Town of New Glasgow. “That first visit is so important as you only have one chance to make that very critical first impression.”

She said the cruise industry and the various cruise lines are very much in tune with the experiences passengers are having at new ports. She believes their successful first cruise ship visit combined with ongoing work with the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association and Nova Scotia Tourism Agency demonstrate their work and strategies as a port and as the Atlantic region are producing results.

MacDonald has been working on making Pictou County a port destination since her time with the former regional development agency. They key was to get the community “port-ready.” She said they knew it would take three to five years to get the first ship. But as they hoped, after that first visit more would arrive.

Michelle Young, also co-chair of the Pictou County Cruise Committee, who has a background in the cruise industry with cruise lines such as Carnival and Regency, says they are proud of the port and region.

“We offer an authentic experience that is memorable and the hospitality is world class. Our community rolls out the red carpet and there are so many people and businesses who are committed to providing a high-calibre vacation experience for all visitors,” she said. “Pictonians and Nova Scotians are known for not only their talents but also for their genuine desire to welcome the world to the communities and province we are so proud of and love.”

She said the passengers from the cruise ship in 2012 wrote very positive comments about their experience. Many enjoyed walking the waterfront and hearing about the local history.

“Here in Pictou County we offer a unique and authentic cultural experience and we’re able to compete at the world class level,” Young said “We’ve seen that from the last ship that came to visit.”

And she’s confident these two in the fall won’t be the last.