Croisières M/S Jacques-Cartier is planning to start-up on the St. Lawrence in 2018, bringing a 100-plus-years family sea-faring tradition to the cruise industry.
The ship, which was most recently a sight-seeing vessel operating out of Trois-Rivières, will be converted into a 66-passenger cruise ship, according to Vice President Maryse Camirand.
President Michel Harvey is a fourth-generation captain. The family has owned the ship for over 40 years. Also involved with the project is Yolaine Masse, known in cruise industry circles from her time as Director of Tourism for Trois-Rivières.
According to Camirand, the family took a step back from the maritime world in 2012, and spent three years building a business case for starting a St. Lawrence-based cruise line.
That is now reality, with funding in place to convert the ship.
She said the ship would introduce yacht-like designs, as the company has retained a renowned yacht designer.
Deployment will be finalized in the first quarter of 2017, but those online can vote on itinerary choices on the St. Lawrence.
The main homeport will be Trois-Rivières., but the ship is also expected to use Montreal and Quebec City, and possibly Toronto, depending on demand.
Camirand told Cruise Industry News that beyond the nine major cruise ports on the St. Lawrence, there were bays, islands and other features the big ships could not get to. It’s these stops that they hope to use to help differentiate their product, which they are marketing as “active,” including kayaking, hiking and other activities.
“We want people to be healthy, move and discover something on their vacations,” said Camirand.