VANCOUVER — A major cruise line that has frequently docked in Vancouver and Victoria has put four of its luxury liners up for sale, an indication of the financial hardship the industry has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic as travellers stay home and countries restrict cruising.
Seattle-based Holland America is selling the ships, leaving it with a worldwide fleet of 10. Those four ships, each one named for a Dutch city, will be transferred to two undisclosed European buyers, the company announced July 15.
The Zandaam, seen in the attached video and photo when it was last docked in Victoria’s harbour, will remain part of the fleet.
Ottawa has banned cruise ships that carry more than 100 passengers from sailing in Canadian waters until at least Oct. 31. Similarily, federal health officials in the U.S. have extended a ban on cruise ships through the end of September.
Holland America itineraries show April 2022 as the next time any of its ships are scheduled to arrival in Vancouver.
The sale of the vessels is welcome news for the CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, who says fewer visits from cruise lines will not affect the city’s economy but could have a substantial impact on the environment.
"I do like to see these ships being moved on because they are older. They are less fuel-efficient,” said Ian Robertson. “It makes way for these newer, more fuel-efficient ships to come in to Victoria.”
Cruise lines are moving away from smaller vessels, added Robertson.
“What we’re seeing is a trend towards larger ships, more fuel-efficient, and so it would be fairly typical for these older ships to be sold.”
The four ships leaving the Holland America fleet carry roughly 1,200 to 1,400 passengers.
Holland America said passengers will be notified if their travel plans will be altered or cancelled because of the sale.
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