Holland America Line ship docks in Montreal

Cruise the Saint Lawrence has expanded its trademark welcome policy to include a new focus on shore excursions, the organization said in a statement.

The group has initiated the evaluation of excursions marketed and sold by cruise lines, according to a statement.

"In broadening policy reach, we seek to ensure that excursions are consistent with participant expectations. Over and above obtaining feedback on the quality of services offered, observations will enable us to collate information about specific tools and training needed by local guides, as well as guide expectations respecting passenger transport," the group said. 

Cruise the Saint Lawrence has commissioned Karine Blais to support the teams responsible for excursion sales and assess their needs in terms of training and sales tools required to help boost sales numbers.

Blais began her new role by joining the Holland America Line Rotterdam in late September; she lent a hand at the excursion sales counter and drew up an action plan. 

The association said it hopes to foster a better understanding by onboard excursion sales personnel in regards to the variety of products on offer at each individual port of call.

In addition to this pilot project onboard cruise ships and onsite at member ports of call, Cruise the Saint Lawrence will be launching an online training program this fall for port of call service providers. These sessions will enable the latter to understand more fully port of call embarkation/disembarkation operations and learn more about the needs of cruise ship passengers. Training will be aimed at restaurateurs, retail personnel and taxi drivers. Through this program, service providers will be better poised to commit to and qualify for ‘Bienvenue Croisiéristes/Cruise Passengers’ certification instituted by Cruise the Saint Lawrence.