A festive welcome in SaguenayThe Emissions Control Area has been resolved for now with exemptions for the main cruise lines through 2018. That has Canadian ports feeling better about their cruise business. Numbers were decent for 2013 and are on par for the most part, or trending slightly upwards, for 2014.

Cruise Industry News caught up with the players in Canada/New England to talk about developing the market, summer traffic, shore excursions and more.

With a new concierge at the terminal, WiFi at all berths, a free shuttle for crew, and shorepower around the corner, Quebec City is preparing itself to be a key homeport of the future.

 “It can get kind of wild in September and October,” said Nancy  Houley, cruise market director for the Port of Quebec “We’ve invested in the entire welcoming portion of the call, and standardizing our operation.”

Added Martin Lachance of Quebec City Tourism: “The future looks very bright … we have more and more ships turning around here.”    

By his own account, it was a pretty good year for the cruise industry in Nova Scotia in 2013. Halifax held steady while Sydney saw a 15 percent passenger increase, said Pat Sullivan, CEO of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency.

“Our product in Nova Scotia is rather timeless,” he added. “But, what is becoming a bigger deal here are our great wineries. The fall foliage crowd is (still) huge and it’s a big part of our market.”

The cruise industry factors importantly into the overall tourism picture, which has the province seeing two million visitors annually, according to Sullivan.

2013 brought the 25th consecutive cruise season in Saint John to a close, with the port welcoming over 60 ships and reaching the two million passenger mark.

Highlights for 2014 include the first calls from the Regent Seven Seas Navigator, and the brand-new Royal Princess.

Add in Norwegian, more calls from Royal Caribbean, and the region still has a great deal of potential, said Betty MacMillan, manager of cruise development for the port.        

“Truthfully, Saint John is a bit out of the way, cruise lines that are calling here want to come here,” said MacMillan. “We know we are a deviation and we have to work harder than most ports to get the business – that is a testament of how well the port is doing. We are a marquee destination.”

>> Also in this section: News and profiles on the major ports in Canada/New England.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2013/2014