The Nunavut territory is expecting 10 ships calling at about 51 communities in 2019, according to the 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.
Last year also saw 10 ships and 3,404 passengers and the same number of passengers is expected this year, according to Nancy Guyon, director of tourism and cultural industries with the government of Nunavut’s department of economic development and transportation.
“We are not seeing a huge spike in traffic, but rather steadily increasing growth with one ship added every year or every other year,” she said.
Most ships travel up the east coast of Baffin Island, with a few going into the Northwest Passage, Guyon explained. “Many ships sail up the west coast of Greenland before coming into Canada. Pond Inlet is our most visited community by far, with Resolute, Iqaluit, Pangnirtung, Cambridge Bay and Gjoa Haven being communities that are also visited often.”
Infrastructure can be a bottleneck and the seasonal harvesting activities going on in the summer also mean restricted access to some areas for cruise ships.
Guyon said that while some communities, like the capital Iqaluit, can handle more passengers, others like Pond Inlet are nearing their capacity in terms of passengers.
Attractions range from cultural and scientific programming to wildlife viewing, including polar bears, archeological and palaeontological sites, bird sanctuaries and marine conservation areas, historic whaling and explorer landmarks, and the communities themselves.
Among efforts to accommodate the ships and their passengers, Nalunaiqsijiit is a new program to train 12 Inuit every year to work aboard cruise vessels as expedition staff or support crew. The candidates go through four weeks of intensive training and also intern on a ship on one voyage during the season. The program covers expedition guide training, leadership skills, zodiac driving and polar bear guard training, and the individuals receive the appropriate certificates.
About the Expedition Market Report:
The 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News is a comprehensive overview of the booming expedition market, profiling 39 operators, over 40 new ships and projecting capacity growth through 2027. The 196-page PDF is a deep dive into all aspects of the expedition cruise market.