Lines that have been loyal to Montreal for years now as well as newcomers to the city are helping the Port of Montreal enjoy yet another strong cruise season. When the schedule concludes at the end of October, the port will have welcomed some 113,000 cruise passengers and crew members in 2019.
Twenty-four cruise ships representing 17 different lines are making a total of 76 stops in the Port of Montreal this year. The season began on May 18 with the arrival of Holland America Line’s Zaandam from Boston and wraps up on October 30 with the departure of Oceania Cruises’ Riviera for New York and then Miami.
The Zaandam and the Riviera are among the four vessels in 2019 calling Montreal for the very first time. The other cruise ships making their inaugural visits to Montreal this season are Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Sun and Maritime Holding Group’s Ocean Dream.
In addition to those newcomers, another highlight of the 2019 season occurred on August 10, when the Port of Montreal and Montreal Cruises held a special event to celebrate the arrival of Holland America’s 500,000th cruise passenger to Montreal since the line first started calling the port with the Veendam in 1996. The honour went to John and Tina Grondin of Cleveland, Ohio, who were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary aboard the ship. The couple took the opportunity to visit Montreal for a few days.
The daylong event was held on the green roof of the Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay, home to the port’s new cruise terminal, which was inaugurated in 2017. The day featured free family activities, a jazz show, marine knot workshops and numerous games. There was also a contest in which 20 lucky winners got to tour the Zaandam and enjoy lunch on board on its call on September 7.
Montreal Cruises, whose aim is to promote cruises to and from the city, organized the day. Montreal Cruises brings together the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) and Tourisme Montréal along with Aéroports de Montréal, the Old Port of Montreal Corporation, the Old Montreal Business Development Corporation, the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal and the City of Montreal.
“Holland America Line is a cruise partner that has been coming to Montreal for 23 straight years,” said MPA President and CEO Sylvie Vachon. “I would like to thank the company for its loyalty and for the valuable advice it provided when we were designing our new cruise terminal. Today, the Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay is one of Montreal’s must-see sites, and we are very pleased to celebrate Holland America’s 500,000th passenger here. It is a major milestone in the relationship between the cruise line and Montreal.”
“On behalf of Montreal’s entire tourism industry, we are truly delighted to welcome Holland America Line’s ships, whose repeated visits contribute substantially to the local economy,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. “We are also pleased to have international-calibre port facilities to offer a top-quality welcome to cruise passengers and crew members.”
Montreal’s cruise market has been growing for many years. The city has long been a popular departure, arrival or stopover port for international cruises, mainly on the Canada-New England route, as well as for domestic cruises to the Magdalen Islands. And more recently, it has become home to an increasing number of cruises on the St. Lawrence and to the Great Lakes.
The Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay is a unique attraction in Montreal. In addition to the cruise terminal, the site features Promenade d’Iberville, located on the Grand Quay’s large green rooftop. It has an immense wooden terrace and thousands of flowers and aromatic plants. It is the best place in Montreal to watch cruise ships sail into and out of the city.
Commencement Square is a vast lawn area on the edge of the water with a lowered wharf that offers exceptional access to the river. A work of art honouring the pioneering women who helped found Montreal will be unveiled soon.
The Grand Quay also features a Port Centre, Mariners’ House of Montreal, and unique reception venues suitable for all kinds of events.
This year, the MPA fully completed Terminal 2 at the Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay. The final stage of the Grand Quay revitalization project will be an observation tower, reminiscent of a lighthouse, located at the south end of the pier. Construction of foundations began this summer and will be followed by subsequent works next year. The tower is scheduled to open in 2021.
Next season, Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas will visit Montreal for the first time with a total of six Canada-New England, Canadian Adventure and Snowbird Migration South cruises in June, September and October.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will call Montreal for the first time with its Yacht One, a custom-built yacht with space for 298 guests. Yacht One will leave Boston and sail to Bar Harbor, Halifax, Charlottetown, Gaspé, Tadoussac and Quebec City before arriving in Montreal on October 15 and then retrace that route back to Boston.
Hapag-Lloyd’s Hanseatic Inspiration, an ultra-luxury 230-passenger cruise ship that will sail in the Great Lakes, will be in Montreal on June 1 and July 3.
The World, a private residential ship with 165 homes on board that sails around the globe, will return to Montreal from October 4 to 6.