/R E P E A T -- Cruise season to begin impressively at the Port of Montréal/

MONTRÉAL, May 16, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Set the sails! The first ship of the 2014 cruise season will anchor in Montréal on May 17. Holland America's Maasdam will arrive from Fort Lauderdale at 8 a.m. with over 1,266 passengers on board. For the trip, the ship was chartered by Olivia Travel, an agency specializing in vacations for the lesbian community.

The 219 metre long cruise ship is a Port of Montréal regular. In 2014 alone, it will arrive a total of 12 times. During this visit to the city, the Maasdam will allow its passengers to explore Montréal and its cuisine, attractions, and shops through city tours and several activities before returning to Boston at the end of the day.

"Cruises are at the heart of our strategic planning for the coming years. We have ambitious objectives for this high-potential market, and we are working together with members of the Montréal Cruise Committee to attain them," affirms Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. "We not only want to attract cruise travelers to the city, but we would also like to make Montrealers more aware of this unique way to tour and discover the St. Lawrence River."

Cruising with the wind in their sails

In 2014, three ships will be anchoring in Montréal for the first time: the all new Pearl Mist, the Hamburg, and the Seabourn Quest. A fourth ship, the Europa, will be back in the city after only one previous stopover in 2004.

The cruise season to Montréal on the St. Lawrence River runs from May to November and is in full swing in September and October, with travelers showing up to admire the colours of the fall.

Last year, the Port of Montréal welcomed 47 cruise ships and a record 55,611 passengers. Including crews, nearly 70,000 people boarded or disembarked in Montréal, 70% of whom were international tourists. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of cruise passengers dramatically increased by 47%. These numbers are the result, in particular, of the work of the Montréal Cruise Committee, a group created in 2011.

"I would like to commend the excellent work of the Montréal Cruise Committee, whose efforts are yielding positive results. I anticipate with great enthusiasm the 2014 cruise season, which looks to be very promising," adds Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Port of Montréal.

Supported by Tourisme Québec, the Montréal Cruise Committee comprises the Montréal Port Authority and Tourisme Montréal, as well as six other local associations and organisations: Aéroports de Montréal (Montréal airports), the Old Port of Montréal Corporation, the Montréal Casino, the Old Montréal Business Development Corporation, the Hotel Association of Greater Montréal and the City of Montréal.

Photo Opportunity: For media representatives wishing to take photographs, please note that the Masdaam will be docked at the cruise terminal (opposite the Pointe-à-Callière Museum) on May 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on cruises to Montréal, visit cruises.alamontreal.com.

About the Port of Montréal
Operated by the Montréal Port Authority (MPA), the Port of Montréal is a major diversified transshipment centre that handles all types of goods: containerized and non-containerized cargo as well as liquid bulk and dry bulk goods. It is a leading container port served by the largest container shipping lines in the world. The Port of Montréal has its own rail network directly dockside. It is connected to the two national rail networks and a highway system. The Port operates a passenger terminal that welcomed 69,966 passengers and crew members in 2013. All other terminals are run by private stevedoring firms. For more information, go to www.port-montreal.com.

About Tourisme Montréal
Tourisme Montréal is responsible for providing leadership in the concerted efforts of hospitality and promotion in order to position the "Montréal" destination on leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal's tourism product in accordance with the ever-changing conditions of the market. For more information, visit www.tourisme-montreal.org.


SOURCE: Tourisme Montréal

For further information: Information: Alexandra Graveline, Manager - Corporate Public Relations, Tourisme Montréal, 514 844-3558, Cell. 514-994-5639, graveline.alexandra@tourisme-montreal.org; Mélanie Nadeau, Communications Manager, Montréal Port Authority, 514 283-1385

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