Harbour Quay on Port Alberni’s waterfront was filled with visitors, vendors and residents alike on Saturday, July 6 for the final festival welcoming Holland America’s Maasdam cruise ship to port for 2019.
Gustav Lorenz and Diane Raley, visiting from Lakeview, Arkansas, loved their visit to Port Alberni. They got off the ship in search of a beer and a burger, and they found what they were looking for at the Port Pub.
“This is a great place,” Lorenz said of Port Alberni.
“We’re really glad we stopped here,” Raley said. “I’m so glad the ship docked here instead of one of the larger towns; it was a lot more pleasant.”
“Vancouver is beautiful but a lot of big buildings. If you only stop there for a little while, you can’t see everything,” Lorenz added.
Kevin Folzenlogen and Leonard LaMagna, both from Houston, Texas, said the city was “warm and welcoming.”
“It’s a beautiful town,” said LaMagna, adding that he couldn’t believe the welcome the cruise ship visitors received. “This was one of the nicest stops Holland America has had.”
Folzenlogen said they took in all the dancing and entertainment during the morning welcome before shopping at the various vendors and stores. “They did a great job.”
The ship was headed to Astoria, Oregon for its second-to-last stop before ending in San Francisco.
This was the final time the Maasdam was scheduled to stop in Port Alberni as part of a 21-day Ultimate Alaska and Pacific Northwest adventure cruise between San Francisco and Alaska. It is the first time the deepsea port was used as a regular stop and not a repositioning cruise stopping in.
Some estimates had more than 85 percent of the ships’ passengers taking the tenders from ship to shore so they could look around or take pre-booked bus tours of the Alberni Valley. The Port Alberni Port Authority and the local cruise ship committee ensured there were shuttles to take people from place to place, and Harbour Quay was blocked off to vehicle traffic all day.
While ship passengers made up a large percentage of visitors on a rainy, cloudy afternoon, not all of them were pausing for a ship out trip. Bill and Lucie Quinn and their granddaughter Brianna, all from Ottawa, joined other family members who live in Port Alberni for an afternoon’s stroll through the vendors and shops at the Quay and up to Third Avenue.
Catherine Goulet of Port Alberni and two other teachers—Marie-Soleil Boulanger of Kelowna, and Eve-Lyne Gauthier from China—were having fun getting their photos taken by the #exploreportalberni wooden photo frame, which was positioned on the boardwalk at the Quay with the Maasdam in the background.
They weren’t part of the cruise, Boulanger said. “We’re all teachers enjoying the Island.”