A new stylish and modern cruise terminal on the Port of Montreal’s Alexandra Pier is providing a more pleasant experience to cruise ship passengers sailing through Montreal while better meeting the operational needs of international cruise lines.
The terminal, which opened for operations earlier this year, is the new home for cruise ships that grace Montreal’s waterfront during the spring, summer and fall. The project integrates best practices in sustainable development and features state-of-the-art installations and infrastructure.
The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) and its partners in the cruise and tourism trade have been actively seeking to attract an increasing number of cruise lines and passengers to Montreal for many years now. Their efforts are paying off: more and more cruise guests are now choosing Montreal as a destination or embarkation point. In fact, when the cruise season concludes at the end of October, the port will have welcomed more than 110,000 passengers and crewmembers, up from 85,808 last year.
“This significant project represents a major milestone in the Port of Montreal’s modern era,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the MPA. “This new terminal will enhance Montreal’s international position by providing an efficient, warm, friendly and prestigious welcome to cruise guests from the four corners of the world.”
Holland America Line’s MS Maasdam was the first ship to dock at the new terminal when it arrived in Montreal on June 10. Among those on hand with Ms. Vachon to welcome the ship’s captain and 1,266 cruise guests were Verdun MNA Isabelle Melançon, representing the Government of Quebec, and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.
“The Alexandra Pier revitalization project enables us to heighten Montreal’s appeal and welcoming capacity, which will help make the city and the province even more attractive as world-class destinations,” Ms. Melançon said.
Added Mr. Coderre: “The Port of Montreal is a founding component in the city’s history. Over the years, it has remained a vital economic engine of our economy. The opening of this terminal is a perfect fit with Montreal’s 375th anniversary festivities. All our visitors will enjoy an even more impressive welcome.”
The restoration of Alexandra Pier, which was built more than a century ago, began in November 2015. A final concept for the project was designed following open houses for the public and meetings with key partners from the economic, tourism and political sectors, as well as with stakeholders committed to Montreal’s harmonious development.
The new cruise terminal provides a seamless connection between the city and the waterfront. The main embarkation and debarkation area is now closer to Old Montreal. Passengers board or disembark on the ground floor, rather than a floor higher, at the request of cruise operators. The establishment of a secondary terminal will meet increasing demand from the cruise sector, especially during the peak season.
A Port Centre located on the second floor of the cruise terminal gives Montrealers and visitors alike an opportunity to better understand the importance of port and shipping activities. An exhibition that showcases the Port of Montreal’s rich history and its pivotal role in the socioeconomic development of Montreal, Quebec and Canada is currently being held at the centre. The History of Ships exhibition is open to the public. Admission is free. (For further information, please see the story “History of Ships Exhibition Showcases Port Over Time” in this Port Feature.)
Work continues to complete the development of all areas on Alexandra Pier. The site will include a green rooftop terrace, improved parking and several public areas. One end of the pier has been lowered toward the St. Lawrence River to create an open space that enhances river access and brings the public closer to the water. The MPA will hold a large public celebration in spring 2018 that will allow residents to discover these new spaces.
The total cost of the Alexandra Pier and cruise terminal project is $78 million. The MPA has invested $43 million, and the Government of Quebec and the City of Montreal have contributed $20 million and $15 million, respectively.
An observation tower at one end of the cruise terminal that will provide spectacular views of the City of Montreal and the St. Lawrence River will be inaugurated in 2019.