One of those Really Big Cruise Ships was docked in Charlottetown today.
You could tell it was coming because all of the “We Welcome Cruise Ships” posters went up in local shops as they prepared to prostrate themselves to the ephemeral postcard and clubhouse sandwich buyers amidst their capsule ingestion of our delightful Island culture (this map for cruise ship visitors [PDF] is sort of “Charlottetown Lite” — how to lick the frosting out of our civic Oreo© in 5 hours or less; note how “FREE INTERNET” and Province House, the cradle of Canadian Confederation, are about the same size on the map).
Regardless of how soulless cruise ship tourism might be, one can’t help but be impressed by the immensity of the hardware involved. Here’s a picture we snapped this afternoon from Fort Amherst of the Holland America ship Rotterdam docked in Charlottetown Harbour. Click the photo for a larger version, with handy labels.
If you need any additional convincing that our city as seen through the fast food lens of the cruise ship visit is weird, look at how Holland America describes Charlottetown:
A provincial capital with a distinctly English feel. Where red double-decker buses motor along streets lined with gingerbread-trimmed Victorian houses; and tea is served promptly at three.
Exactly where does this Charlottetown exist? “Tea is served promptly at three?” Huh? Apparently they use some sort of automated “Describotron” system to write their copy, as here is how they characterize Victoria, British Columbia:
Stroll through the charming downtown of this very British city, with it’s double-decker buses, turreted castles, fine British woolens, tea and china. Or, just outside the city, visit the lush flora and fauna of Butchart Gardens.
Apparently double-decker buses, tea, and a British vibe go over big with the cruise ship set. Indeed, look how they describe London:
In the East Anglia countryside see the mill, bridge and medieval barns immortalized by landscape painter John Constable. Tour to London, shop stylish Knightsbridge, hop a double-decker bus.
The Rotterdam carries 1316 passengers and 600 crew. It was in port for 9 hours. The ship, in all its crazy bigness, is coming back on June 24, July 2, July 8, Sept. 23, Oct. 1, Oct. 13 and Oct. 21, so if you missed it this time, you can always catch it later in the season. We left Fort Amherst before it steamed out of Charlottetown Harbour; I think it would be quite a sight to see it leaving out there.