The Port of Québec has reported a banner 2023 cruise season, welcoming over 154,000 cruise passengers. Twenty-eight cruise lines and 41 different ships, 11 of which were on their maiden voyage, visited a total of 131 times over the season which ran from April 25 to November 5 – the longest in the Port’s history.
These figures exceed the previous year, confirming Québec City’s growing appeal as a destination.
“We are ecstatic with this 2023 international cruise season. Demand has exceeded our expectations since the post-pandemic resumption. This latest season’s growing numbers and the popularity of our destination confirm that the efforts devoted to developing the cruise industry responsibly and sustainably are paying off. I would like to thank all those involved in the tourism sector who have worked to provide an unforgettable experience for all cruise passengers who came to visit our beautiful city,” noted Port of Québec CEO Mario Girard.
A record number of boardings/unboardings
The 2023 season also notched a record 32 boarding/deboarding operations, which require great logistical skill. Unlike ship stopovers with passengers just leaving the ship for a few hours, leaving their luggage on board, a boarding and unboarding operation marks the end of a trip and the beginning of another. In other words, this operation involves twice the number of passengers, plus their luggage. Thanks to its new Cruise Terminal 30, inaugurated last summer, and the expertise of its teams, the Port of Québec further raises the bar as a boarding/unboarding port.
The Port of Québec has been limiting the numbers of passengers and cruise ships visiting Québec City since 2014. No more than 15,000 passengers may stopover at the port on any given day, and the boarding/unboarding operations are limited to two to ensure the best possible experience for citizen and cruise passengers alike.
Québec City named best cruise destination in 2023
This season’s success was recently underlined with Québec City earning the title of Canada/New England’s Best Cruise Destination for 2023, awarded by Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine. Québec City is the only Canadian destination to win this prize for 2023, which attests to its unique appeal for cruise passengers and tourists.
“International cruises play an important role in promoting Québec City, transforming each visitor into an ambassador attesting to the magic and richness of our destination. They also allow us to extend our tourist clientele into the fall, and to generate additional overnight stays and benefits for the industry. We are proud of this season’s results, which reflect our continued commitment to providing exceptional experiences for our visitors and to positioning ourselves as a destination of choice on the global stage. It is an additional motivation to continue our efforts to develop the cruise industry responsibly, for tourism focused on the future,” declared Robert Mercure, General Manager of Destination Québec cité.
Winter cruises starting in 2025
As announced last June, winter cruises will become a reality as of January 2025, with PONANT’s Le Commandant Charcot which will set sail to inaugurate the first Saint Lawrence River winter season.
In addition to the Port of Québec, several ports of the Cruise the Saint Lawrence Association will also be ready to accommodate the ship, most notably those of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Gaspé, Sept-Îles and Saguenay. The cruise ship’s navigation through the Saint Lawrence icy vistas will be a world premiere.
(Port of Québec photo)