The History of Harbour Cruises

The story of Harbour Cruises Ltd. dates back to 1911.

It all began with operating small ferry boats on the Fraser River under the name Harbour Navigation. Seeking to capitalize on the expansion of Vancouver’s downtown and the new popularity of the West End, in the 1930’s Harbour Navigation moved to Coal Harbour and began operating a small fleet of tour and charter vessels.


In 1930, Harbour Navigation purchased the MV Scenic, which delivered mail to those living up the Indian Arm. The MV Scenic was the only floating post office in the British Empire. It continued delivering the mail between 1932 and 1968.


In 1945, Harbour Navigation purchased the MV Hollyburn (built in 1936- pictured lower left) which did trips up to the Wigwam Inn. Previous to the purchase from Harbour Navigation, the MV Hollyburn carried passengers across the First Narrows to North Vancouver. The MV Hollyburn was a part of Harbour Cruises, it was moored and converted into the Tour Reservations Office until 2009.


The company expanded in 1976 with a new owner, a new name (Harbour Ferries) and new vessels to serve the growing population and number of visitors to the city.


The MV Britannia was launched in 1982, and was originally built as a ferry boat to transport Woodfibre Employees. In 1982 it was converted into a passenger vessel for the Boat and Train Daytrip. The Boat and Train Daytrip was discontinued in 2001, and the Britannia is now used for our exciting party cruises and private charters. The Britannia is named after the mountain range on the east side of Howe Sound.


The MPV Constitution was launched in July 1983, and is Vancouver’s only authentic paddlewheeler.The name comes from the Canadian Constitution that was repatriated at the time of the launch of our new sternwheeler. It is the most photographed vessel in Vancouver.


The MV Harbour Princess was launched in 1992 and was named after the original Harbour Princess that Harbour Navigation had built back in 1924(pictured above right). The old Harbour Princess carried passengers and freight to Wigwam Inn (up Indian Arm), and was the first diesel powered passenger boat on the coast (all others were steamers). Today’s Harbour Princess travels up the Arm on our Indian Arm Luncheon Cruises.

1996 - Present

Renamed Harbour Cruises Ltd. in 1996, the company has enjoyed great success and has matured into Vancouver’s leading boat cruise company.