Saint John in the eyes of tourists

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Saint John is a popular cruise destination for travelers from all over the world. With its four terminals, the city welcomes thousands of passengers through its ports every year.

The twenty-fourth cruise ship season in Saint John was scheduled to come to a close on Oct. 29, with Brilliance, a Royal Caribbean International ship. However, the season was unexpectedly extended with a visit from The Emerald Princess on Nov. 2, which was unable to return to New York City because of the recent hurricane.

The Emerald Princess is the seventy-fifth ship to dock in Saint John this season, over a period of 149 days. The ship’s 3,100 passengers will bring the number of cruise ship visitors to the city up to approximately 193,000, in addition to 76,000 crew members.

Saint John has several tourist attractions to suit the many tourists that pass through its port. Tourists can enjoy sites such as the New Brunswick Museum, the Saint John City Market, King’s Square, the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum and many of the historic streetscapes. With so many visitors, the local economy saw an influx of about $30 million this season.

To increase profits from the cruise ship industry, the city of Saint John is considering becoming a home-port for ships. Passengers would travel into Saint John to board and the ships would start and end their trips in the city. The city has commissioned a $50,000 study to determine the feasibility of this change, which will determine different options for expanding the cruise ship industry.

Katherine Biggs-Craft, curator of the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum, says it would be difficult to operate the museum without the cruise ship industry in the city. “We very much depend on the donations from [cruise ship passengers] to fund the day to day operation of the Museum,” says Biggs-Craft, “They make up almost all of the visitors we receive in September and October.”

In addition to the financial stability, the tourism industry offers the Saint John community the opportunity to meet many different kinds of people. “The tourists have really given this very small Jewish community the opportunity to tell its story,” says Biggs-Craft, “The visitors also provide encouragement to the community to keep going.”

Colleen Shea, a cruise ship passenger visiting the city from just outside of Boston, is very excited about the opportunity to visit Saint John. “It’s such a beautiful old city,” she says, “it’s wonderful to experience the history and culture that has been so well preserved.”

Shea visited many attractions in the city, but particularly enjoyed the historic buildings throughout the uptown area. “It’s amazing, [the city] is so good at preserving history, I love seeing all the old building in the area and imagining how people used to live,” she says. This is not the first time Shea has visited the city, “This is my third time in Saint John, and I always love visiting, everyone is so friendly and it’s such a beautiful city. I always feel so welcome here.”