First Cruise Ship Arrives for Busy Montreal Season

The first of 50 expected cruise ships arrives at the Port of Montreal to begin a busy 2023 cruise season.

The first of over 50 cruise ships arrived in the Port of Montreal on April 29, 2023.

Another cruise season has officially begun in La Belle Provence and her St. Lawrence River as Holland America Line’s Zaandam arrived in the Port of Montreal after a port of call in Quebec City.

More Ships and Passengers to Visit Montreal in 2023

According to port authorities, the 1,440-passenger Zaandam is one of the largest ships to visit Montreal and kicks off a season that will run through October 30 and welcome in five more ships and 20% more passengers than in 2022.

“Every year, the docking of the first cruise ship kicks off the long-awaited summer tourist season. Montréal is delighted to see the arrival of thousands of cruise passengers, who will add to the lively atmosphere of the old port as they enjoy its many cultural activities,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.

For more exact numbers, the Port of Montreal expects a total of 51 ships (38 for debarking and embarking operations and 13 for stopovers), over 45,000 international passengers, and $25 million generated economic impact.

Montreal’s performance will play into a 35% overall spike in cruise ship numbers visiting a group of nine French Canadian ports, including Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Sept-Îles, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands.

Port of Montreal
Port of Montreal (Photo Credit: EB Adventure Photography / Shutterstock)

The Port of Montreal is also expected to increase its participation in the industry-wide practice of providing shore power connections to its cruise ships to lower emissions.

This year, eight cruise ships will connect during 19 different visits. Port Authorities estimate that 5 tons of GHG emissions are reduced each time a ship can turn off its engines and connect to an on-land power supply.

According to the Port’s press release, five ships scheduled to visit Montreal for the first time include Hapag-Lloyd’s 230-passenger Hanseatic Inspiration, Oceania’s 1,200-passenger Vista, Peace Boat’s 1,950-passenger Pacific World, and Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Neptune and Viking Mars, both carry 930 passengers each.

The Zaandam is set to arrive back in Montreal on May 13. But in the meantime, The Port of Montreal will receive the 202-passenger Ocean Navigator (American Queen Voyages) on May 5 and the 170-passenger Ocean Explorer (Vantage Deluxe World Travel) on May 7.

Cruise Ship in Montreal, Canada
Photo Credit: Firefighter Montreal / Shutterstock

Due to its position on the St. Lawrence River farther south compared to Quebec City and its relative popularity as a cruising destination, Montreal remains a port capable of servicing smaller ships as a port of call and home/turning port.

This year, ships making their home in the Port of Montreal will include the Zaandam, Ocean Explorer, Hanseatic Inspiration, Seven Seas Navigator, and Viking Neptune.

Montreal Celebrates Holland-America Line’s 150th Anniversary

As the 731-foot, 63,000-ton ocean liner docked in Montreal, officials were on hand to honor Holland-America Line’s 150th Anniversary.

Between 2012-2022, the Amsterdam-based cruise line has become Montreal’s most frequently-visiting cruise line. In that 10-year period, Holland-America ships have delivered 337,111 passengers across 136 visits. That is 54% of all Montreal’s cruise passengers in that timeframe.

In honor of the anniversary, and perhaps also the relationship between the cruise line and the port, Captain Ane Smit was presented with a special plaque.

From Montreal, the ms Zaandam is set to embark on a one-way, 7-night Canada and New England Discovery Cruise to Boston, Mass. Along the way, passengers will visit ports of call such as Quebec City; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Sydney, and Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Bar Harbor, Maine.

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