Executives from P&O Cruises and Cunard, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Saga and MSC Cruises heard about new infrastructure and product development in the region which offers ports in Canada, US and France (Saint Pierre and Miquelon).
‘Starting off by attracting fall foliage cruising Canada New England is now popular with cruise guests in spring and summer and we are now promoting it as a four season destination target year-round cruising by winter 2021,’ remarked Cruise Atlantic Canada executive director Brian Webb.
New expedition ships a bright light
In addition to four major turnaround ports of Quebec, Montreal, Boston and New York, there are scores of smaller and lesser known ports across Canada New England which are appealing to expedition and smaller luxury ships and we see the large number of expedition ships being delivered in the coming years as a very bright light for our future, Cruise the Saint Lawrence, executive director René Trépanier told Seatrade Cruise News.
Many ports have just closed 2018 with record numbers of passengers and prospects for 2019 all lead to another year of growth.
MSC Cruises four ships in the region
MSC Cruises has four ships serving the region in 2019: Seaside, Divina, Armonia and Meraviglia with the latter set to be the largest ship being welcomed by several ports. Holland America Line will offer 34 departures between April and October on Veendam, Zuiderdam and Zaandam.
Cruise the St Lawrence, which has nine port members, welcomed 387,678 passengers in 2017 and is predicting another jump this year of between 10-15% (statistics will be announced next month).
Infrastructure investment continues as arriving ships get bigger with Quebec building a new second cruise terminal to be ready by 2020; Sydney which had a record breaking year with 10% growth in cruise visitors this year is planning a C$21m wharf expansion and new bollards to be able to take ships up to 360mtr in length. Nearby Charlottetown is also adding a second berth.
Sarah Flink, newly promoted executive director at CruiseMaine, representing 11 ports, have collectively had the best year ever in 2018, she told SCN.
‘A new pier to take ships up to 1,000 passengers is planned at Eastport and in Portland the move of a ferry service to a new location will free up 700mtr of berthing by 2020,’ she explained.
Newer destination Saguenay welcomed 64 ships between end April and beginning November, said Pricilla Nemey, ceo Promotion Saguenay. Among new callers this year was Disney Magic.
Montreal’s new terminal is fully operation, Yves Gilson at Montreal Port Authority reminded, Baie Comeau is building a new pier, St John is spending C$1m on new Yokohama fenders and Halifax is installing new 200 ton bollards. Donna Schultz at Cruiseport Boston announced new funding to build a turnaround facility for up to 5,000 passenger capacity.
Betty MacMillan honoured
Chair of Atlantic Canada Cruise Association Betty MacMillan, who in September was awarded the Seatrade Port Personality of the Year Award in Lisbon, was represented with her trophy by Mary Bond, group director Seatrade Cruise for 30 years leading cruise business development at Port St John. Over her career MacMillan has built a network of cruise stakeholders that work together to ensure visitors have an excellent experience from arrival to departure and this year St John welcomed 200,000 passengers and is facing its best ever season in 2019.