Montreal welcomed its first cruise ship of the season on May 12. With just over 71,000 domestic and international passengers expected this year—plus 19,000 crew members, the port said that more than 90,000 cruise visitors will descend on Montréal this season. These figures represent an increase of more than 27% over last season, when the city reported 56,466 passengers and 14,578 crew members.

The Montréal Cruise Committee invites Montrealers and visitors to the city to head to the Old Port Promenade for a view of the ships that will be tying up in Montréal over the course of the season. With no fewer than 19 ships expected, including 5 new ones (the Oceania Marina, Oceania Insignia, AIDAdiva, Saga Sapphire, and the Saint-Laurent Prestige), it's going to be a good season.

The Saint Laurent, which uses Montréal as its home port for the 2015 season, will be the first vessel of the year to take on passengers and set sail from Montréal on May 12.

"Cruises are central to our strategic planning. We've set some ambitious goals once again this year. Based on our current figures, it looks like all our efforts—and those of our partners—are going to pay off with a record number of visitors. Montréal is a top destination for cruise passengers from around the world," commented Yves Lalumière, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. "We would also like to call attention to the investments announced by the Québec government as part of Québec's Maritime Strategy. The construction of a new maritime terminal will have a big impact on tourism and generate economic spinoffs for Montréal. We see a bright future ahead."

Added Sylvie Vachon, president and CEO of the Montréal Port Authority: “This season marks another big step for the Montréal cruise sector.We are particularly pleased to see international cruise companies consolidating their operations in Montréal by bringing us new ships, and to see river cruises becoming increasingly popular.

The Welcome Cruise Passengers! Contest invites residents of each port of call to share their vision of a perfect day ashore by taking pictures of the experiences cruise passengers can enjoy while exploring their city. The nine (9) points of call are Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec City, Baie-Comeau, Sept-Îles, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Gaspésie, and Îles de la Madeleine.

Supported by Tourisme Québec, the Montréal Cruise Committee comprises the Montréal Port Authority and Tourisme Montréal, as well as five other associations and local organizations: Aéroports de Montréal, the Old Port of Montréal Corporation, Société de développement commercial du Vieux-Montréal, the Hotel Association of Greater Montréal, and Ville de Montréal.