On September 11, the Québec Port Authority (QPA) welcomed its 500,000th passenger at its Cruise Terminal, first opened in 2002. The lucky traveler was aboard the MS Maasdam, which was in port for the day en route to Montréal.

Mr. Kenneth Mc Ilheron debarked this morning at 9:40 a.m. accompanied by his wife Ms. Kathleen Mc Ilheron. The Toronto couple, who had just celebrated their 40th anniversary on September 6, had originally spent their honeymoon … in Québec City! Mr. Mc Ilheron is now retired after a 46 year career with a Canadian pharmaceutical company. This cruise is the couple’s first, and Québec City’s history and unique architecture were among the reasons they chose this itinerary.

Québec Tourism and QPA representatives were on hand to congratulate Mr. and Ms. Mc Ilheron, who were presented with a gift basket of local products, a book about the city, and various maple products. Tourism Québec also marked the occasion by presenting them with two museum passes for all Québec City–area museums and a complementary two-hour sightseeing tour.

Favorite tours with cruise passengers include Montmorency Falls and Île d’Orléans, as well as Old Québec. Other popular evening activities include a traditional Québec sugar shack experience and Québec City ghost tours. Among the tours and excursions offered at ports of call on the Eastern Seaboard itinerary, Québec rates highest overall for passenger satisfaction.

Québec’s international cruise industry generates direct economic spinoffs of nearly $80 million, with each passenger spending an average of $118 per port of call. The province recorded its best cruise season ever in 2008, with some 150,000 passengers visiting nine ports of call along the St. Lawrence River.