Canada New England offers attractive and safe ports, but also very high operating (port) costs, while high air costs are an obstacle to open jaw itineraries, according to David Candib, business development manager, Carnival Corporation, who spoke at today’s session of the Cruise Canada New England Symposium in New York. He also described port of call options as limited.

However, Royal Caribbean will sail a couple of open jaw cruises from Quebec City next year, said Craig Milan, president of Royal Celebrity Tours. Milan also said that Quebec City was the highest rated port for Royal Caribbean, mirroring a similar comment from Holland America Line’s director of deployment planning and itineraries, Simon Douwes, two weeks ago. Royal will also be calling at two (for it) new ports, Gaspesie and Saguenay.

Milan also said that Royal is always willing to partner in port upgrades and that “we do this all around the world.”

His biggest challenge is that most passengers on Canada New England cruises are seniors and that Royal and Celebrity would like to see more families.

“Overall, the guest experience here is good. The trick is to generate summer demand as good as the fall demand,” he added.  Talking to the ports, he said: “You are competing in a global marketplace. In the summer, the ships will go to Europe and Alaska. This (2011) will be our best year in Alaska.”

With the ECA looming, Milan said that solutions include scrubbers, other new technology or modified deployment.

Other topics discussed today included port infrastructure development, economic impact and the use of social media for information and marketing purposes.

The two-day 2011 symposium closed this afternoon. The 2012 symposium will take place in Quebec City.