The Port of Montreal is taking stock of its seasonal cruise business, and the findings are uplifting, to say the least. A 2023 mid-season report, with the upcoming fall schedule included, shows that the season overall will reflect a 40% increase in cruise ship visitors versus 2022.
Full Season Will See Big Jump in Cruise Arrivals
Peak cruise season for the Port of Montreal is autumn, as fall foliage-seeking leap-peepers cruise the Northeast coast between New York or Boston and French Canada.
A mid-season report by the Port of Montreal officials shows that 40,000-plus cruise guests are expected in September and October.
Add that to the nearly 30,000 cruisers who visited the port between April and August, and the port knows it will host 70,000 cruise ship guests and crew by the time the season closes out. The figure represents a 40% hike compared to total cruise arrivals last year.
“The marked growth in the number of visitors compared to 2022 shows that the pandemic is truly behind us and confirms the continued enthusiasm of cruise passengers from around the world about our city,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.
“The luxury clientele arriving via the St. Lawrence generates a very significant economic impact for Montréal, so we are extremely happy to welcome them in even greater numbers this year,” added Lalumière.
New, Returning Ships Buoy Port’s Numbers
The mid-season report found that 10 ships carried out 17 port call operations in Montréal between April 29 and the end of August.
The season kicked off with the arrival of Holland America Line’s 1,432-guest Zaandam, a regular visitor to Canadian waters, with a capacity of 1,916 guests. Other ships made their maiden calls to Montreal in 2023, such as Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Neptune, which called on July 1.
In September, 17 cruise ship port call operations are planned, bringing more than 25,000 visitors and crew members. Two ships will make maiden calls to Montréal in September: Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Mars will visit on September 26 and 27, while Oceania Cruises’ Vista will call from September 28 to 30. The Viking ships each accommodate 930 guests, while Vista has capacity for 1,200.
In October, 15 operations will take place, delivering another 16,500 passengers and crew members. The 2,000-guest Pacific World, operated by Peace Boat, will make her maiden call to Montreal.
“Montreal is looking forward to its peak cruise season. It’s in this spirit that our teams and facilities at the Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay are ready to welcome tourists to our beautiful metropolis,” said Geneviève Deschamps, Acting President and CEO of the Port of Montreal.
Port, Holland America Look Ahead to 2024
The Port of Montreal’s mid-season report cites Holland America Line as likely being its top cruise customer, due to the line’s steady flow of seasonal visits on Canada/New England sailings.
In fact, a statement from the port says Holland America has been the most important cruise line visiting Montreal since 2010.
Holland America Line, a Carnival Corporation brand, earlier this year unveiled its 2024 Canada/New England schedule, and revealed that its tradition of calling at Montreal will continue. The line will deploy two ships between April and October 2024 — the 1,916-guest Zuiderdam, and the 1,432-guest Volendam.
A total of 29 cruises, all of which begin or end in Boston, are offered under the line’s Canada & New England Discovery series next year.
Discovery cruises sail between Boston and Montréal, calling at Bar Harbor, Maine, Québec City, Québec; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Historic Coastal sailings will be offered, as well, although they do not call at Montreal.
The Port of Montreal is the second-largest port in Canada, and is operated by the Montreal Port Authority. Besides its cruise business, the facility serves as the only container port in Quebec province.