The total number of international cruise passengers AT the Port of Quebec dropped in 2011, down approximately 20 per cent from the previous record year. 

Despite this drop, 2011 was the third-best cruise season ever for the port, after 2009 and 2010. In 2011 nearly 83,000 passengers and 31,000 crew members experienced Quebec City through a total of 75 stopovers. Of these 83,000 passengers, nearly 31,000 chose Quebec City to start or end their cruise. Considering the money spent on transportation, meals, accommodation and shopping at various retailers, these passengers generated much greater economic spinoffs for the region.

The year’s 75 stopovers brought some 20 vessels belonging to 16 different cruise lines. Four of these ships were visiting Quebec City for the first time – including Cunard Line’s world-famous Queen Elizabeth. The Seabourn Sojourn (Seabourn Cruise Lines), the Boréal (Compagnie du Ponant), and the Regatta (Oceania Cruises) round out the list of “first-timers.”

An unmistakable highlight of the 2011 cruise season was the simultaneous presence of five different cruise ships in the port from October 14 to 16, 2011, bringing a total of 15,000 visitors to discover the joys of Quebec City over the course of a single weekend.

After 2011’s slight drop in international cruise traffic, forecasts call for numbers to bounce back in 2012. There will also be more cruise lines offering Quebec City departures and arrivals, adding to the spinoffs generated by this industry. QPA is pleased that the cruise ship market, according to Québec City Tourism data, now brings in $86 million in direct economic activity in Quebec, with $25 million in greater Quebec City.

The Port of Quebec and its partners have been working tirelessly to tap the full potential of the international cruise ship market, both in Quebec City and in the other top calibre destinations along the St. Lawrence that are so popular with travelers and cruise lines. It’s no accident that the Port of Quebec has won Dream World Cruise Destination’s “Best Destination Experience – Independent” award an impressive four times since 2004. A challenge going forward will be to extend the St. Lawrence cruise ship season – 80 per cent of traffic currently comes in September and October