YARMOUTH, N.S. – As Yarmouth continues to look to tap into the small cruise ship market, it will welcome a 318-passenger cruise ship in port on May 2.
The cruise ship MS Fram is scheduled to arrive in Yarmouth at 10 a.m.
The ship will be anchored in Yarmouth harbour for approximately six hours while guests visit local attractions and participate in a walking tour of the town. Guests of the ship may also choose to browse shops and eateries in downtown Yarmouth, says a press release from YASTA (Yarmouth and Acadian Shores.)
The ship is operated by the Norwaybased Hurtigruten Group. Its Yarmouth visit is part of a tour that sees the ship traveling from New York City and eventually ending its voyage in Halifax.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming the MS Fram to the port of Yarmouth early in the tourism season,” said Neil MacKenzie of Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association (YASTA). “We’ve had small cruise ships visit the port of Yarmouth before and so a portion of our marketing efforts will continue to target this niché cruise opportunity.”
YASTA in partnership with Town of Yarmouth, Tourism Nova Scotia and other partners, participated in a port readiness workshop last year in an effort to better understand the small cruise market and how our operators can better leverage the opportunity.
MacKenzie made a presentation to Yarmouth town council in November about this effort. During that presentation he said there are many things that position the Yarmouth port well for this to happen, but there are also weaknesses to overcome. However, between the smooth sailing and the rough waters is opportunity, he said, and this is what the area wants to tap into. That they are only a year into this process and have already attracted a ship bodes well, he said in an April 17 interview.
“This is one of the first small cruise ships that is coming since we started this process so it’s good see,” he said. “We’d love to see more. We’d love to see more come, especially in the fall, which is when we could use more tourism experiences and things to happen. We’re still in the very beginning of things for sure but this is a good sign.”
YASTA is working with the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association. The association’s goal is to market partner ports and niche cruise ports, which Yarmouth is now officially listed as.
“The good news is here in our port we’ve got lots of benefits, we do have customs here, we have quite a bit of tourism experiences that can be sold to the ship and a willing community that is willing to try and grow the market,” MacKenzie said. “One of the things that keep telling us these small ships and operators are looking for new experiences and new products so it really pays us to create some innovative product.”
The MS Fram is too large to dock at the wharf so MacKenzie said it will be moored in Yarmouth harbour with passengers tendered to shore.
YASTA and the Town of Yarmouth are encouraging business operators to be welcoming to the ship passengers and crew. If possible, vendors are encouraged to create welcome signage or offer special discounts to passengers.
“We want to make sure passengers and crew feel welcome and want to come back,” a YASTA media release reads.
The town of Shelburne, which has a larger harbour than Yarmouth, is also welcoming a cruise ship to port on May 2. There, the ocean liner Marina, with an estimated 1,000 passengers and 800 crew members, will be making a port of call visit as part of its 16-day sojourn from Miama to Montreal. The ship will also moor in the harbour and ferry passengers ashore in tenders.
There, the town is busy preparing for this visit.
MacKenzie says some of the Marina passengers will be doing a day trip to this region as well.
“So even though its landing in Shelburne we’ll still be seeing benefits of it,” he said.