High season for cruises begins in Montreal – 29 ships expected before the end of October
MONTREAL – Montreal is expecting more than 46,000 cruise ship passengers and 10,000 crew members between August 31 and October 22. The 29 international vessels scheduled for arrival will dock at the temporary cruise terminal located in Eastern Montreal and at the McKay pier in Old Montreal. The busiest day of the season will be October 1, when three ships will simultaneously proceed with embarkation and debarkation activities, for a total of 7,000 cruise passengers and crew.
Cruise season officially began on May 7. Over the next two months, four luxury vessels will be making their first-ever stop in Montreal. Azamara Club Cruises‘ Azamara Quest, which will be in Montreal on September 23, is known for offering high-end vacations. The ship has been chartered by a group of Australians who will travel from Montreal to New Orleans. Meanwhile, Regent Seven Seas Cruises‘ SS Marina will make two stops in the city, once on October 1 and again on October 21. On September 17, German cruise line Hapag Lloyd has scheduled a stop in Montreal for the Europa 2, a six-star ship that is currently ranked the best in the world by Berlitz. Finally, on October 2 and 3, the city will welcome the Viking Star, the top-of-the-line model from Viking Cruises, a company that specializes in river cruises.
The cruise sector has a very promising future and already generates significant economic spinoffs for the city. According to a survey conducted by the Montreal Cruise Committee, passengers who started or ended a cruise in Montreal or Quebec City in 2015 spent $23 million during their visits.
“Cruises account for a major economic sector in the tourism industry. That’s why we have developed promotional campaigns to position Montreal as an essential stop for cruise lines. The Montreal Cruise Committee will continue its promotional efforts to encourage tourists to stay in Montreal before or after their cruises. The goal is to exceed our tourism projections for 2017,” said Yves Lalumiere, President and CEO of Tourisme Montreal.
Montreal has enjoyed a very strong tourist season since the beginning of the year, and the influx of cruise passengers has bolstered business in shops, restaurants and attractions in the city, including in Old Montreal. “We are really noticing the financial impact from these passengers, which has been significant since last year. As soon as a cruise ship docks in Montreal, local businesses benefit with increased sales. It’s very positive for our economy,” said Mario Lafrance, General Manager of Vieux-Montreal SDC and member of the Montreal Cruise Committee.
Due to restoration work on the Alexandra pier and Iberville maritime terminal, most cruise operations will take place on piers 34 to 37, located approximately 7 kilometres east of Old Montreal. Two temporary structures featuring all the amenities of a marine terminal have been set up to receive ships throughout the season. “Everyone at the Montreal Port Authority and the Montreal Cruise Committee has made a major effort to ensure that cruise lines and passengers receive outstanding quality service and the warm welcome that Montreal is known for. We are very pleased with the positive feedback we received during the first half of the season and we are ready for the large volumes of passengers expected during the high season,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Port of Montreal.