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May 21, 2009

The Maasdam kicks off the international cruise season in style

Québec City, May 21, 2009-For the third consecutive year, the Québec Port authority (QPA) proudly confers the international cruise season opener award on Hendrik Bernard Draper, captain of the Holland America Line vessel Maasdam, which docked at Pier 22 at 6:30 this morning.

"We are very proud that our biggest client has won this award again this year. Holland America Line has supported us tremendously in recent years. This is a very small way we can thank them for their confidence in Québec City," said QPA's President and CEO, Mr. Ross Gaudreault. A bronze bird sculpted by Québec artist Marc Martel was presented this morning to Captain Draper, the recipient of this award for the third year in a row. This bird evokes the arrival of warmer days and international cruises, just as the arrival of the snow geese in Cap Tourmente signals the arrival of spring.

The 2009 season thus begins at about the same time as years past (May 17 in 2007 and May 16 in 2008). This is the Maasdam‘s 87th port visit since 1999, and on September 27 it will tie up in Québec City for the hundredth time. Since 1995, seven different Holland America Line cruise ships have made 150 port visits, making it the most loyal cruise line since the market began developing in Québec City.

After leaving Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on May 8, the Maasdam called on the ports of Charleston, Newport, Gaspé, Sept-Îles, and Saguenay before arriving in Québec City. "We are happy to see that Holland America Line has added new St. Lawrence stops to its itineraries. This  speaks volumes about the development of new ports of call supported by the St. Lawrence Cruise Association," stated Mr. Gaudreault. "In this period of economic uncertainty, the fact that hundreds of Americans are coming to Québec City and spending money in our shops and restaurants is encouraging. They are proof that we need to continue our sales efforts and build on our exceptional destination and its unique appeal," added Mr. Gaudreault.

The new international cruise season will once again be filled with new developments. Inaugural visits by the Queen Victoria, the Norwegian Spirit, the Princess Danae, and the Clelia II are on the schedule. In addition, European cruise line Costa Cruises will make its maiden voyage on the St. Lawrence with the Costa Atlantica. A total of nearly 124,000 passengers and crew members are anticipated in Québec City this season over the course of 76 visits. The QPA also expects the number of destination passengers to reach 35,000-twice as many as last year.

This year Québec City will be the destination or departure city for 16 itineraries with four different vessels: the Eurodam, the Crown Princess, the Norwegian Spirit, and the Costa Atlantica. Three of these four cruise ships will be visiting the region for the first time. "The year will be especially busy, with twice as many passengers whose destination is Québec City compared to last year. We are, however, confident we can accommodate them thanks to the expertise we have developed over the years and our good business relations with all our partners in the region," mentioned the CEO.

Québec's international cruise industry generates direct economic spinoffs of nearly $80 million, with each passenger spending an average of $118 per port of call. Québec City is not only the leading port of call for cruise ships plying the waters of the St. Lawrence, it is also a destination port for a number of very large ships.


Patrick Robitaille
Vice President
Marketing and Development
Québec Port Authority
Telephone: (418) 648-4956

The Maasdam kicks off the international cruise season in style [51 Kb]

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