The Star Princess arrived at the Ogden Point terminal today, kicking off the 2017 cruise ship season in Victoria. (ItkasanImages / Victoria Buzz)

Let the Victoria cruise ship season begin.

The Star Princess arrived at the Ogden Point cruise ship terminal at noon today, kicking off a cruise season in Victoria that will bring more than 550,000 visitors to the city.

Arriving with more than 2500 passengers, the Star Princess is the first of more than 240 estimated cruise ship calls planned for Ogden Point this year.

The Star Princess is berthed at Ogden Point until 11 pm tonight.

The Town Crier welcomes Christine and Matthew Miguel of Los Angeles, the first passengers to disembark from the Star Princess. (Richard Letourneau / Facebook)

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has made some improvements to the terminal, and to cruise operations, to prepare for the season.

“We’re looking forward to another successful season at Ogden Point,” said Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO Ian Robertson.

A recently completed $200,000 renovation project at Ogden Point’s Pier B terminal will move passengers more efficiently through customs and out to ground transportation pickup and walking routes.

GVHA has made significant improvements to transportation operations for environmental sustainability.

In 2016, fee incentives were introduced, to encourage coach operators to stage newer buses at Ogden Point, with lower emissions. The GVHA said this had had excellent results: in 2015 the average bus age on the terminal was 1986. In 2016, the average bus age was 2003. Similar incentives are in place for 2017, to shift the median age further.

GVHA, in partnership with CVS Tours, has also introduced the first purpose-built, fully electric double decker bus, which will operate as a pilot project at Ogden Point through 2017. CVS has also added new technology on its buses to mitigate backup beeping noise on the terminal.

Cruise passengers, local residents, and industry partners can also get improved and updated access to arrival departure times for all cruise ships coming into Ogden Point with the refreshed Victoria Cruise website. The site will be the most updated real-time snapshot of cruise schedules throughout the season.

The cruise season will wrap up on October 5 and is expected to bring an estimated $100 million in economic value to the region.

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