Veendam cruise ship cancels three visits to Charlottetown

There’s little Port Charlottetown can do when wind conditions prevent cruise ships from visiting, says the port’s business development manager.

Corryn Clemence confirmed Friday windy conditions were to blame for the Holland America Veendam’s three recent cancellations, dating back to Aug. 23.

One of those cancellations came on Sept. 26 when the Veendam’s presence would have resulted in an impressive site of four different cruise ships in port.

On that particular morning the Veendam was heading into Charlottetown when the captain chose not to proceed into the harbour.

“They were at the pilot station just outside the harbour . . . and it was forecasted winds of 24 knots, which is getting up there for cruise ships so he decided to keep on trucking. (Another cancellation) was due to forecasted winds at the (Confederation) Bridge . . . It’s ultimately the captain’s decision,’’ Clemence said.

The other cancellation came on Oct. 4.

Clemence also speculated speed restrictions, in combination with wind, might have played a part.

In August, Transport Canada imposed a temporary mandatory speed restriction for vessels 20 metres or more to a maximum of 10 knots when travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence and a voluntary slowdown for vessels under 20 metres. That’s in response to the high number of right whale deaths this season in the Gulf.

“Again, that’s pure speculation on my part.’’

A call to Holland America’s head office on Friday was not immediately returned.

“I think every cancellation is disappointing but there are things that are out of our control,’’ Clemence said.

Still, October will be a busy month for cruise ships at Port Charlottetown. Two ships were scheduled in port on Sunday, another on Monday, two more on Tuesday and the Disney line is still scheduled to arrive at the end of the month.

Other days that will feature two ships in port include today, Oct. 14, 22 and 23. The final ship of the season visits Charlottetown on Oct. 28.

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