Cruise ship passengers from the MS Amsterdam alight from a tender at Centennial Pier during a visit to Port Alberni in 2013. CHRISTOPHER SUN PHOTO

Port Alberni Port Authority talks logistics for cruise ship visit

Some restrictions for pedestrians, boaters will be in place

The Port Alberni Port Authority has ramped up as the first of three cruise ships is due to visit Alberni Harbour on Saturday, May 25.

The last time a cruise ship visited the harbour was in 2013, when Holland America’s MS Amsterdam anchored for a day. They used tenders to move passengers to and from the ship. When the MS Maasdam arrives, the process will be similar.

“They’re the same class (vessel) so about the same passengers and cruise size,” said PAPA’s director of public relations and business development David McCormick.

READ: Port Alberni prepares for first of three cruise ship visits

This cruise ship visit differs from others that have stopped in Port Alberni. Previous visits have been repositioning cruises in the off-season. This one is part of a 21-day Ultimate Alaska and Pacific Northwest Adventurer. The switch also explains why three cruise ship visits will take place in three months in Port Alberni.

Because the cruise will be on its way back to San Francisco, it will have already cleared customs in Vancouver or Victoria. “That helps streamline our operations,” PAPA director of operations Mike Carter said. A secure customs area will not have to be provided, he added.

A restricted area will still need to be fenced off at the end of Centennial Pier so members of the public won’t be able to access the end of the pier or the lower wharf. Two-thirds of the pier will still be open for people to come and watch the process of ferrying passengers, Carter said.

There will be a 50-metre “buffer zone” around the MS Maasdam at all times, as well as around the tenders. “We understand people want to get as close as possible for a unique photo or what have you but there will be a 50m perimeter,” McCormick said.

No other vessels, whether power boats or kayaks for example, will be permitted closer than 50 metres. There could be up to four tenders moving between the ship and pier.

“We need to give them a wide berth so they can keep their speed up and get passengers back and forth,” Carter said.

The wharf “fingers” will be restricted to use by the ship’s tenders only—no other moorage will be available at Centennial Pier while the cruise ship is in the harbour, Carter said.

Pacific Seaplanes, which usually tie up on the lower wharf, will instead have one or two of their seaplanes tied up at Tyee Landing and available for scenic tours for cruise ship passengers.

The public is also reminded that the port authority property and Alberni Harbour are “no drone zones”, especially when there will be planes flying in the area.

The harbour could be a busy place on Saturday, especially at Port Alberni Terminals. “We could very well have a ship in for forest products, so there would be some activity there,” Carter said. There won’t be any dockside conflicts though.

The ship is due to anchor at 8 a.m. in the harbour. China Creek Campground would be a good place to watch the ship enter and depart the harbour, McCormick said, because the Alberni Inlet narrows at that point. Anchors up is 5 p.m.

“This is the shipping world, anything can be delayed,” Carter cautioned. “But cruise ships are punctual with their times.”

The ship will head to Astoria, WA when it leaves Port Alberni.

The public is invited to visit Harbour Quay on Saturday, May 25 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to see the ship and participate in the cruise ship festival and craft fair that will be taking place around the quay. Subsequent festivals are also planned for June 15 and July 6.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


The MS Amsterdam anchors in deep water in the Alberni Inlet during a visit to Port Alberni in 2013. CHRISTOPHER SUN PHOTO

Just Posted

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Port Alberni bands ‘out of the basement’ and onto an album

Two bands, products of the Alberni Valley’s school of rock, celebrate their CD debut

Stephen Novik takes the mic at Words on Fire in Port Alberni

Event takes place Aug. 29 at Char’s Landing

Port Alberni pickleball winners announced

Men and women competed in annual Nick Hoekstra tourney

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

$5-million lotto ticket sold in Nanaimo

Someone matched all six numbers in Wednesday’s 6/49 draw

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Most Read