The Port of Montreal is looking forward to yet another record-breaking year in the cruise sector in 2016. The Port welcomed an unprecedented 91,000 passengers and crew members last year, up 28 percent over 2014, while hosting 72 international and domestic calls. The number of international calls jumped to 56 in 2015 from 36 the previous year.
“Once again, the numbers prove that Montreal’s cruise market is growing rapidly, generating significant economic spinoffs for the entire city,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA).
“Much to the delight of local business owners, a flood of tourists poured through the city’s streets (in 2015). Hotels also benefited from this high-value clientele, as many travellers extended their trips and stayed a few extra nights in Montreal,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourism Montreal.
These results are in large part due to the efforts of the Montreal Cruise Committee. Since its creation in 2011, the number of passengers and crew members sailing to and from Montreal has increased by an impressive 91 percent.
The MPA, along with Tourism Montreal, is a founding member of the Cruise Committee. Other members are 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. Tourism Quebec supports the organization.
The committee’s microsite – www.cruisesalamontreal.com – provides information about Montreal and its port to the cruise and travel trade industries.
The 2016 cruise season will kick off May 7 and end October 22.
Four vessels will sail to Montreal for the first time in 2016: Hapag-Lloyd AG’s Europa 2, Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner, and Viking Cruises’ Viking Star.
Holland America Line’s 1,350-passenger MS Veendam and 1,404-passenger MS Rotterdam will replace its smaller MS Maasdam, which had been sailing the Canada/New England route to and from Montreal for the past 11 years.
Seventy-two percent of international passengers sailing to Montreal hail from the United States, followed by Australia (9 percent), Canada (7 percent) and Europe (7 percent).
To ensure the development of the cruise sector, the Port of Montreal works with Medov Shipping Agency, based in Genoa, Italy, and its representative in the U.S.
The Port is a Gold Executive Partner of CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, and a member of the Cruise the Saint Lawrence Association (CSLA), a group of nine ports of call along the St. Lawrence River. Tony Boemi, the MPA’s Vice-President of Growth and Development, is President of CSLA.
New cruise welcome location in 2016
The MPA is conducting major restoration work at Alexandra Pier and the Iberville Passenger Terminal in order to provide Montreal with a new cruise terminal in 2017. This means the passenger facility will be closed for the 2016 season.
Accordingly, cruise operations from late May to the end of October will be relocated to Berths 34-35 and 36-37, located about seven kilometres east of Old Montreal. Certain smaller vessels will dock at Berth M, located at the upstream end of the port.
“Nevertheless, the Port will be providing amenities that will guarantee the same high-quality welcome for ships and guests for which Montreal is renowned,” said Yves Gilson, the MPA’s Director of Marketing and Cruises. These amenities include:
• Two free-standing tents – 29,000 square feet and 15,000 square feet, respectively – equipped with washrooms, telephone services, vending machines, and heating and cooling systems;
• Tourism information counters and waiting areas inside the terminals;
• Free wireless Internet;
• An access ramp for guests with reduced mobility;
• Taxis and buses right at the terminals;
• A free shuttle bus service from the temporary terminals to Old Montreal;
• Free long-term parking spaces.
“We are confident that these measures will allow our cruise lines’ guests to enjoy to the fullest their Montreal experience in 2016,” Mr. Gilson said.