Digby is preparing the welcome mat for a cruise ship coming this October.
Mike Bartlett is the chair of Cruisefundy, the organizing committee that works on both attracting cruise ships and on making their stay as enjoyable as possible.
He is asking the town and the municipality each for $500 to put towards the area’s welcome mat.
“This would enable us to provide visitors arriving in Digby on Saga Cruise Lines’ vessel, the Quest for Adventure, with an enhanced and more exciting experience during their time in Digby,” wrote Bartlett in his letter to councils at the end of July.
On Wednesday Oct. 3, the Quest for Adventure will bring approximately 450 passengers to Digby, the first stop on a 17-day cruise from Halifax to Cuba.
Cruisefundy is hoping to provide the following activities and services:
- scallop shucking demonstration
- costumed interpreters from Admiral Digby Museum
- shuttle bus to shops for ship crew
- a reception for the ship’s captain (a tradition upon a ship’s first visit to a port of call)
Bartlett’s letter lists the benefits of providing cruise ship visitors with an exceptional experience.
He says visitors are more likely to stay ashore longer and spend more money shopping and eating in our local businesses, they will take away fonder memories and will be more likely to visit the region for a longer period during a targeted, future return visit. ( He says ten per cent of cruisers return.)
Also the visitors will give more positive feedback to the cruiseline, which will influence the cruise lines’ decision to include Digby on future trips.
And hopefully visitors will mention Digby to friends and family.
The Quest for Adventure plans to arrive in Digby about 1 p.m. and leave at 8 p.m. that night. Passengers will come ashore by tender or launch.
The Quest for Adventure is 160 m long and 22 m wide and a gross tonnage of 18,591 gross tons. She could carry as many as 600 passengers and travel at a maximum speed of 20 knots.
A cabin for the “Contrast of the Americas” cruise start at £2,400 ($4,400) and go as high as $12,000. The passengers are mainly British and between 50 and 60 years of age.
Saga Cruiseline, the operators of the Quest for Adventure describe Digby on their website as having “a reputation for its excellent fishing; particularly scallops.”
“Away from the busy part of the harbour, you'll find a number of historical sites, well-kept parks, hiking trails and some of the best whale watching in North America. If you've seen all of the sights, you may like to consider a quiet drink or a spot of lunch in one of Digby's restaurants or bars.”
The last cruiseship to stop here was the Balmoral in October 2009. One thousand passengers came ashore that day. The last cruise ship before that was 1996.
The town and district councils will consider the request at their next council meetings.