Cruise ship returns to Port Alberni

A Holland America cruise ship hasn't dropped anchor in Port Alberni since the gangplank incident in 2009. A ship is set to return this May though.

A cruise ship similar to this one is visiting Port Alberni on May 19. It's the first visit by a cruise ship to the Valley since 2009.

A cruise ship similar to this one is visiting Port Alberni on May 19. It's the first visit by a cruise ship to the Valley since 2009.

Cruise ships are returning to Port Alberni for the first time in two years and preparations for their return is underway, Port Authority manager Brad Madelung said.

Madelung confirmed that a Holland America cruise ship will arrive in Port Alberni on Thursday, May 19.

A number of issues have to be ironed out in advance, Madelung said.

Transportation Canada,  marine security, Canada Border Services and other agencies policies and procedures all have to be complied with in advance of the visit.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure work that has to be laid out in advance,” Madelung said.

The last ship to set anchor in Port Alberni was Holland America’s Statendam in May 2009.

A significant delay ensued after a problem developed with lowering the ship’s gangway, and the event played a role in the ship not returning in 2010.

There won’t be any such issue this time around though because the ship will be anchored in the harbour, and passengers will be ferried to shore by ship’s crew.

“Other ports like Nanaimo do that,” Madelung said.

“Every new venture has its challenges and we learned from that one,” port authority spokesperson Dave McCormick said about the gangplank issue.

Port Alberni’s ambassador program will be manning the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce information tent, chamber manager Mike Carter said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com