MONTRÉAL, Aug. 10, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - On August 13, Marco Polo will return to the Port of Montréal for a 24-hour visit. To celebrate its arrival and 50th anniversary, the Montréal Cruise Committee is encouraging Montrealers and tourists to come to the Old Port's magnificent boardwalk at 8:15 a.m., when the ship is scheduled to arrive with 750 guests and 220 crew members aboard. To welcome the Marco Polo, there will be a water show, with jets sprayed from tugboats owned by Ocean Group.
In 1965, Germany's Wismar shipyard delivered to Russia a cruise ship named after the celebrated Russian poet Alexandr Pushkin. This ship completed transatlantic voyages travelling from Leningrad to Montréal, with stops in Helsinki, Copenhagen, London and Québec City. It would be the beginning of a long love affair between the ship and Montréal, as the Alexandr Pushkin visited Montréal 114 times in all. Its final trip to Montréal was on August 18, 1980.
"Like probably thousands of Quebecers, I have family members who had the chance to travel on the Alexandr Pushkin. Now, I'm delighted to welcome back this ship that played an important role in Montréal's cruise industry for 15 years," said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Port of Montréal.
Since cruise season began, the Port of Montréal has already welcomed some 25,000 cruise ship passengers and crew members, and by the time the season closes on October 29, this number is expected to be as high 90,000. This encouraging projection is more than 27% higher than last year, when 56,466 passengers and 14,578 crew members stopped in Montréal.
"We're anticipating a record high this year, as 19 internationally renowned ships have scheduled stops in Montréal. The fact that all these cruise lines choose to include our city on their itineraries proves that Montréal is a destination of choice for tourists from around the world. This year, a total of 77 stopovers are expected, up from 52 last year. I'm pleased to report that Montréal has the wind in its sails and we're on our way to achieving our ambitious targets for the year," said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.
Supported by Tourisme Québec, the Montréal Cruise Committee works closely with the Montréal Port Authority and Tourisme Montréal, as well as five other local organizations: Aéroports de Montréal, the Old Port of Montréal Corporation, the Old Montréal Business Development Corporation, and the Hotel Association of Greater Montréal. The committee's objective is to attract new cruise lines to Montréal while encouraging those that already stop here to come more frequently and stay longer once they're here.
For more information about cruises in Montréal, go to: croisieresmontreal.com.
The Marco Polo: A brief history*
The Alexandr Pushkin completed its inaugural crossing in April 1966, travelling between Leningrad and Montréal. It first sailed under the banner of the Baltic Shipping Company, but was sold to the Far Eastern Shipping Company in 1985.
When the Soviet Union crumbled, the company was forced to part with the Alexandr Pushkin for financial reasons and the ship was sold to Orient Lines in 1991.
Renamed Marco Polo in 1991 , the ship saw its machinery revamped in Greece before resuming its operations in 1993. In 1998, the company was acquired by Norwegian Cruise Line, though the original brand name was maintained.
In 2008, the company parted ways with Orient Lines and the ship. Since then, Marco Polo has been owned by the Global Maritime Group and is part of the fleet at Cruise & Maritime Voyages.
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, go to: www.mtl.org.
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, liquid bulk and dry bulk. It is a leading container port served by the largest container shipping lines in the world. The Port of Montréal has its own railway network directly dockside. It is connected to the two national rail networks and a highway system. The port operates a passenger terminal that welcomed 56 466 passengers and 14 578 crew members in 2014.
For more information, go to: www.port-montreal.com.
About Ocean Group
The Ocean Group is Quebec's leading harbour towing company. Headquartered at the Quebec City Port, the company operates in the ports of Quebec City, Montreal, Sorel-Tracy, Trois-Rivières, Hamilton, Oshawa and Toronto. Ocean also operates subsidiaries specializing in transportation, dredging, marine salvage, marine equipment rental and ship repair, as well as a shipyard at Ile-aux-Coudres.
For more information, go to: www.groupocean.com
SOURCE Tourisme Montréal
Image with caption: "The Marco Polo at the Old Port of Montreal on August 13th (CNW Group/Tourisme Montréal)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150810_C8884_PHOTO_EN_474278.jpg
For further information: Mélanie Nadeau, Communications Director, Montréal Port Authority, 514 283-1385, [email protected] ; Dominique Desrosiers, Manager Media, Leisure Market and Member Services, Tourisme Montréal, 514 844-5732, 514 708-7111 (cell.), [email protected]