Port of Montreal has had a vigorous 2023 season, surpassing 2022 figures by a full 33% and bringing significant economic benefits to the city and Quebec overall.
The boom has been attributed to the ongoing attraction of the destination to luxury travelers, as well as continued development of port projects. Furthermore, 2024 looks even better with more ship calls and guests expected.
Cruise Season Ends for Port of Montreal
The 2023 cruise season has officially ended at Port of Montreal with the departure of Oceania Cruises’ Insignia on Monday, October 30. In total, 23 ships from 15 different cruise lines visited the capital of Quebec 48 times since the season began on April 29 with the arrival of Holland America Line’s Zaandam.
As the second largest port in Canada, Port of Montreal welcomed a diverse array of ships this year, including inaugural visits from five ships – Hanseatic Inspiration from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Vista from Oceania Cruises, Pacific World from Peace Boat, and Viking Neptune and Viking Mars from Viking Cruises.
“It’s exciting for us to see how Montreal’s appeal as a tourist city and popular cruise destination keeps growing. Higher traffic is coming and our port facilities are ready after a complete makeover to give visitors an optimal experience that lives up to the city’s international reputation,” said Geneviève Deschamps, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Montreal.
“The Port of Montreal is proud to contribute to the growth, development and success of this tourism sector, which generates huge economic benefits for the region and the province.”
The bulk of the season’s traffic was from Holland America Line, not only with Zaandam opening the season and commemorating the line’s 150th anniversary, but with various ships bringing 54% of the year’s guests to Port of Montreal. Eight of those calls were by the 61,396-gross-ton, Rotterdam-class Zaandam.
Tremendous Economic Support
In total, 51,000 passengers passed through Port of Montreal in 2023, but it isn’t just the sheer numbers of guests that create the economic boom cruise tourism brings to the region.
Because cruise lines are becoming more focused on locally-sourced supplies, agriculture in Quebec was able to step up to service the ships with 397,000 pounds (180 tonnes) of fresh fruit and vegetables, 511,000 eggs, 24,250 pounds (11 tonnes) of Quebec cheeses, 6,600 pounds (3 tonnes) of seafood, and 29,800 pounds (13.5 tonnes) of meat.
Furthermore, guests traveling to Montreal for cruising often spend money on local hotels, restaurants, transportation, and retail shopping either before or after their cruise. Likewise, crew members often go ashore to purchase essentials and items they can’t get onboard their vessels, creating even more positive economic impact.
Poised for an Even Better 2024
Port of Montreal is planning for an even better 2024 as it increases local sustainability through shore power connections on the Grand Quay, as well as a direct dockside connection for wastewater treatment.
These initiatives can help cruise lines reach their carbon neutrality and other sustainability goals, and help support and preserve the local community.
In 2024, visitor growth is expected to increase by 6%, totaling 54,000 passengers in the season. Seven ships are already scheduled for inaugural calls to Montreal next year, including ships from multiple lines. Of special note will be the inaugural visits by Holland America Line’s Volendam and the new Seven Seas Grandeur from Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
“The cruise industry is a powerful vector of international outreach for our city. The Port is a gateway to a city where major events, gastronomy and well-being create an unforgettable experience. Montreal is a recognized tourist destination, and cruises are one of the keys to our success,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.
With so much on the horizon for Port of Montreal, many cruise passengers are sure to say Bonjour! to such an amazing cruise destination.