The international cruise season officially begins at the Port of Québec on Saturday, with the arrival of this year’s very first cruise ship, the Veendam from Holland America Lines (HAL), at the Ross Gaudreault Cruise Terminal.

The Port of Québec will be the ship’s home port for the second year in a row, as it carries out nine embarkation/disembarkation operations throughout the season. The ship will also berth at the Port of Québec for 26 days in the 2014 season.

Once again this year, the prestigious Holland America Lines has given a vote of confidence to the Port of Québec, as three of its ships will be coming to our city. Québec was recognized in 2013 as the most popular of HAL’s 400 destinations.

“This year will mark the busiest season we’ve ever seen at the port. Over the October 3rd weekend, we will reach for the first time in our history, full capacity by having six ships docked at the same time, representing over 20,000 passengers and crew members. We already know that we are headed for a record level of traffic in the 2014 season with a never-before-seen peak of 110 cruise ship visits,” said Mario Girard, President and CEO of the Québec Port Authority.

The Port of Québec will welcome five new ships to its docks this season. The Pearl Mist, the Seabourn Quest and the Hamburg will call at the Port, while the Crystal Serenity and the Legend of the Seas will have embarkation/disembarkation operations at the port.

May to August are increasingly popular months for cruise ship lines. The Port of Québec notes an increase of 15 ships making it a port of call in the summer season, going up from 38 in 2013 to 53 in 2014. This increase is a result of hard work put in by the QPA and its partners in the past few years to promote the summer tourism supply’s potential.

Over the years, the Port of Québec has made progress in leaps and bounds, and last year reached a new record with the passage of 103 cruise ships and 164,000 visitors. Embarkation/disembarkation operations have increased by an average of about 20% per year, truly making the Port of Québec the top cruise port on the St. Lawrence River. Cruise ship activities in Québec generate $23M in economic impact yearly and also provide an exceptional international spotlight on this destination.