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Upswing in Port of Montreal cruise activity


As the 2023 cruise season winds down at the Port of Montreal, the Montreal Port Authority announced a 33% upswing in traffic over last year, with 51,000 passengers and 16,200 crew members. As a source of significant economic benefits for the city, Montreal’s cruise industry is proving that it is back in full swing.

The cruise season began on April 29, 2023 with the arrival of Holland America Line’s Zaandam, and ended on October 30, 2023 with the departure of Oceania Cruises’ Insignia. A total of 23 ships from 15 different cruise lines made 48 calls, including 12 stopovers and 36 embarking and disembarking operations. More proof that the cruise industry is on course for a comeback: ship occupancy averaged 90% compared with 75% in 2022.

As well as the economic benefits directly generated by cruise passengers, the cruise industry benefits Quebec producers and the agri-food sector, because docked cruise ships are supplied with local products. Over the course of the season, 200+ tonnes of locally-produced foodstuffs were delivered to cruise ships for onboard restaurant services. 

The cruise industry is also confirming its progress towards a more sustainable model. Since 2017, the Port of Montreal has been offering cruise ships the option to refuel at its shore power connections on the Grand Quay. This technology makes it possible for cruise ships and wintering vessels to turn off their engines while berthed, reducing GHG emissions at each connection. In response to growing industry demand, nine ships connected this season, resulting in a reduction of 370 tonnes of GHGs, or the equivalent of taking 105 cars off the road for a whole year.

Another special feature of Grand Quay terminals is their direct dockside connection for wastewater treatment, an advantage used by 14 ships this season.

Thanks to Tourisme Montréal’s “Visit Montréal the sustainable way” program, which aims to create smart tourism with a view to sustainable development, Montreal has been awarded first place in North America in the 2022 Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), a world benchmark in sustainable tourism.

For the 2024 season, the Port of Montreal expects growth to increase by 6%, with 54,000 passengers and 7 new ships.

(Port of Montreal photo)