June 3, 2014
Interview with a passionate cruise aficionado
Continuing our series on passionate cruise aficionados, we are pleased to present Ean Patriquin, Operations Manager with Ramsey Greig & Company Ltd.
As we begin, could you tell readers a little about your company?
Founded in 1934, Ramsey Greig & Company Ltd this year celebrates 80 years in the provision of port agency services. It all began in an office in Old Québec set up by George Burton Ramsay and Robert Douglas Greig, two individuals with a passion for ships and shipping. From the outset, they provided marine agency services to cruise and cargo companies. Today, the company operates offices and facilities in several Canadian cities, including Québec, Sorel and Saguenay in Québec, and Thunder Bay in Ontario. Ramsey Greig offers an extensive range of services to shipping companies such as the management of administrative formalities, coordination of passenger embarkation/disembarkation, baggage handling operations, and requests for medical services to name but several. As a marine agency, we naturally assist cruise lines in selecting ports of call based on criteria specific to each ship. Ramsey Greig provides services to all Saint Lawrence, Great Lakes, Maritimes and Northern Québec ports of call, including the French port of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.
Tell us about the position you hold within the company and what led you to where you are today.
Since 2001, I have served in the capacity of marine agent, senior marine agent and Operations Manager for the agency. A trained radio operator, I worked for six years as a marine traffic controller in Brazil, and then in marine construction projects such as drilling platforms. Little by little, I gathered experience with shipping companies and tour operators, experience that I much enjoyed. Upon my return to Québec, I joined the team at Ramsey Greig and Company Ltd.
What is it about your job that you especially enjoy?
What I enjoy the most is the variety of activities that are included in what I do. In addition, I have the privilege of meeting people from around the world, office workers and mariners alike. I also consider myself extremely fortunate to have assisted in the setup of new ports of call along the Saint Lawrence and, in a manner of speaking, to have helped these new ports flourish. I like to attend and coordinate challenging port calls such as major embarkation/disembarkation operations, or important occasions such as the maiden visit of the Queen Mary to Québec in 2004. Each day, I am faced with managing any number of challenges based on ship size, structure and navigational clearance... and I love it! Our destination remains young and I am extremely proud to play a part in development efforts. I very much enjoyed working closely with Roger Soublière, my former boss, now deceased, and Ross Gaudreault. Each was a visionary in his own right. Without them, development as we know it along the Saint Lawrence would never have come to pass. It was always a pleasure to rub shoulders with them.
In your opinion, what are the key attributes of Destination Saint Lawrence and Québec for both cruiseshippers and cruise line operators?
Passengers enjoy a diversity of attractions in each port of call, as well as an opportunity to enjoy breathtaking land- and seascapes where nature and wildlife reign supreme. The warm, welcoming ways of Québecers strike a touching chord with visitors time and again. Then there is the charm of the French language which creates a singular ambience highly prized by passengers. Also, docking facilities are more often than not located nearby port of call attractions which is hugely beneficial, as is our proximity to markets along the eastern seaboard of the United States, which simplifies pre- and post-cruise travel for scores of passengers.
As for the cruise companies, they enjoy modern docking installations and close cooperation with onsite partners who are known to be friendly, service-oriented and passionate about what they do. Ports of call along the Saint Lawrence work hand-in-hand with one another to provide cruise lines with a comprehensive offering of port services.
Is your company planning any development projects of interest to cruiseshippers?
New itineraries are taking shape for the both the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes regions. Beginning this summer, the Pearl Mist will be testing a new inland route and I am convinced beyond a doubt that we will see more and more itineraries of the like developed by other cruise lines.
What volume of cruiseshippers in transit use the services of your company?
Either directly or through agreements with industry partners, we are active in all Eastern Canada and Great Lakes ports of call, including Labrador and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon. We attend to embarkation/disembarkation operations in Québec, Montréal, Toronto and the Canadian Arctic.
What personal activity favourites would you recommend to cruiseshippers?
There are a wealth of activities and attractions to be discovered in Québec. Something I particularly enjoy is viewing port facilities from the air, either via helicopter or float plane. I have done this at both Saguenay and Québec. It's really impressive to view the city and one's ship from above, or to watch as a ship makes it way along the navigation channel. It is also important for passengers to sample local Québec products such as micro-brewery products, maple syrup, wine and cheese. We are truly spoiled given the variety of excellent products available and on offer.
What do you wish for the upcoming cruise season?
I wish ports of call and stakeholders record-breaking numbers across the board, as well as new discoveries and exciting new projects. And I urge all stakeholders in their respective ports of call to sustain their passion, their professionalism, their enthusiasm and their smile. In short, I wish everyone the best season ever!