Ports, cruise lines and other stakeholders around the Cruise Canada New England region had plenty of news and notes at the Cruise Canada New England Symposium being held in Montreal. The news ranged from new cruise lines looking at the region to ports considering expansion plans.
**For an in-depth look at the region's key 10-year plan, presenting a vision for year-round cruise business by 2026, click here.
**The Cruise Canada New England Symposium is a packed event in 2017, with over 170 attendees in Montreal, according to the president of Cruise the Saint Lawrence, Tony Boemi. Montreal previously hosted the event in 2000 and 2006.
**Are non-U.S. flagged ships finding a workaround in carrying a single U.S.-flagged tender to land passengers?
**MSC Cruises was represented at the Cruise Canada New England Symposium, but has not had a ship in the region since 2011. With 10 ships on its orderbook through 2026, the privately-owned cruise line is eyeing the region on a seasonal basis.
**In 2016, the Canada/New England region saw 1,322 cruise ship calls from 21 different cruise lines, adding up to 2.4 million guest visits.
**Also on the scene in Montreal was river cruise operator Croisiere Europe, which is looking at a Canada/New England program.
**Rene Trepanier, executive director of Cruise the Saint Lawrence, will take over as chair of the CCNE Alliance, taking over from Amy Powers, director of Cruise Maine USA. The position rotates between the members of the alliance.
**Cruise the Saint Lawrence will see a 32 percent increase in 2017 traffic across its nine member ports.
**AIDA Cruises is heading to Canada/New England for a summer program, according to Dana Keller, destination management supervisor.
**One cruise line already in the region, Holland America Line, has varied its deployment in the area for the summer. "Next year we will go more north in the summer," said Dirk van der Raadt, senior manager of deployment and itinerary planning.
**"Winter cruising in this region is not something we are looking at," said Jennifer Marmanillo, director of itinerary planning at Norwegian Cruise Line. She said the line's customers want to go south, to the Caribbean, during the colder parts of the year.
**Montreal's new and improved cruise terminal accepted the Maasdam as its first call and is mostly ready to go, according to Port of Montreal CEO Sylvie Vachon who told Cruise Industry News final touches would make the facility fully operational by August. The updated terminal also allows concurrent embark/debark activities for the first time in Montreal.
**Port expenses are a key component to itinerary management, according to Sebastian Rosenberg of TUI Cruises, who said the company presents an all-inclusive fare to cruise guests (including port fees). Not part of the ticket price, however, are shore excursions, which make up the majority of onboard revenue. Thus, excursion inventory and items such as proper staging areas for busses and sufficient tour capacity are critical for the German operator. TUI makes its Canada/New England debut later this year with the Mein Schiff 6.
**The 2018 Cruise Canada New England Symposium will take in Boston. The event, which will be the 20th annual Symposium, is scheduled from May 30 to June 1. Planning is already in full swing, said Michael Vanderbeeke, deputy port director, business development. Boston last hosted the event in 2013.
**Boston is set to acquire a new boarding bridge for bigger ships in time for the 2018 cruise season. The port is also looking at converting Terminal 1, which is used for smaller vessels, into a multi-story facility, also to accommodate larger vessels. "We want to make sure we have two proper homeport facilities," said Vanderbeeke.
**Michael DiMeo has taken over heading up cruse duties at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). DiMeo joined the NYCED in late May.
**Charlottetown is yet another port considering a port expansion in time for the 2019 season to accommodate two ships.
**Also for this year, the alliance has launched and refreshed its branding with a new logo, incorporating a lighthouse.
**The French government is putting 8 million euro into port facilities in Saint Pierre and Miquelon (a destination that fulfills cabotage requirements). Will round-trip Quebec sailings that mainly feature Saint Lawrence ports be making a comeback soon? "By having Saint Pierre and Miquelon it opens up additional itinerary options from Quebec, Montreal and even some of the additional Atlantic Provinces," said Marc Miller, director of deployment and itinerary planning, Royal Caribbean Cruises.
**Past and future investments across the region in port infrastructure, among 100+ ports, is estimated at $656 million CAD, the biggest of which was the Saint Lawrence ports, which have spent some $156 million CAD combined on port facilities and related infrastructure.
**Portland, Maine is seriously considering a third finger pier as cruise traffic grows, which would enable it to host four ships at once.
**Next for Bar Harbor will be a vote in early 2018 on whether to purchase an unused ferry terminal. A vote earlier this week was the first hurdle to pave the way for the town to take over the terminal and potentially build out a dedicated cruise pier.