MONTRÉAL, Canada – Montréal’s 2016 cruise season officially begins on May 7, with the arrival of Holland America Line’s MS Veendam, and will close on October 22, with the departure of Oceania Cruises’ MS Regatta.
More than 71,000 international and domestic passengers are expected this year along with 16,000 crew members, for a total of more than 87,000 visitors coming off vessels and into the Port of Montréal this season. Four deluxe cruise ships will be making their first visit to the city, including the MS Azamara Quest (710 passengers), the luxurious MS Europa 2 (400 passengers), the Viking Star (930 passengers) and the SS Mariner (730 passengers).
“We’re heading into the season with a lot of enthusiasm. This year’s cruise season will be marked by visits from some high-end luxury ships, which is a testament the cruise industry’s appreciation of Montréal as a destination, and of the services we offer. I would like to acknowledge the excellent work carried out by the Montréal Cruise Committee, whose goal is to attract international cruise companies to Montréal,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.
Due to restoration work on the Alexandra pier and Iberville maritime terminal, which were announced by the Montréal Port Authority two weeks ago, most cruise operations will take place on piers 34 to 37, east of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. This is about seven kilometres away from Old Montréal. A large tent with all the comforts of a permanent marine terminal is erected. A second tent will be set up in August to deal with the influx of vessels during the months of September and October, which is the peak season for cruises on the St. Lawrence.
“All of the staff from the Montréal Port Authority and members of the Montréal Cruise Committee have made tremendous efforts to ensure that cruise lines and passengers will receive the same quality service and reception that they are used to,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Port of Montréal. “For example, we’ll be creating a luggage check service and offering shuttles so that travellers can discover everything that the Old Port and the rest of the city has to offer, without any additional hassle.”
The cruise sector has a very promising future and already generates significant economic spinoffs for the city. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Montréal Cruise Committee, cruise passengers on the St. Lawrence River spent $23 million during their visits or stays in Montréal. This includes passengers who started or ended their cruise in Montréal or Québec City between May and October 2015.