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Québec City Announces Its Official Cruise Month



Québec City, Canada has announced its first ever Cruise Month, which will kick off September 16 and run through October 16.  Each fall, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and the cruising community come together to celebrate cruising with Cruise Month events around the world.

Québec’s will celebrate a booming cruise industry in the region.  The Port of Québec is poised to have a record-breaking year with a large increase in passengers.  The port forecasts a nearly 30 percent increase over the 2016 season, which could bring the port to an all-time high of 200,000 visitors.  A variety of events are planned to showcase local businesses, arts, and culture of the history and dynamic city.  During this time, five ships will be making maiden calls to Québec: Ponant Soleil, Viking Sky, Silver Muse, Viking Sea, and Norwegian Jade.

The celebration will allow cruise visitors the chance to discover new experiences in the city.  The districts will provide a variety of cultural activities, including:

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  • Passages Insolites – June 29 to October 15 – Pop-up public art installations are displayed throughout the Old Port district, Quartier Petit Champlain, and Place Royale.
  • Festival de Cinema de la Ville de Québec – September 13 to 23 – This annual event offers premieres and screenings of films from all over the world at various places throughout the city.
  • The Night of the Gallery – September 16 – Attendees can walk through the streets of Quartier Petit Champlain with a glass of wine in hand.  During the evening, 35 art galleries and artisan’s shops will stay open late, and 29 top restaurants will provide exceptional cuisine.
  • Limoilou en Famille – September 17 – Family-focused performances of traditional and humorous songs along with circus activities, cheerleading demonstrations, Zumba workshops, and more.

For more information about the port and this year’s cruising season there, click here.

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Port Saint John Seeing More Cruise Passengers



The 2017 season at Port Saint John, Canada provided a 3 percent increase in cruise passengers over the same 2016 time frame, with 208,818 visitors. The port also received one extra port of call from a cruise ship this year; 64 compared to 63 last year.

Highlights of 2017 for the port included:

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  • 12 double cruise ship days and 5 triple cruise ship days in September and October
  • 2 inaugural calls: Vision of the Seas and TUI’s Mein Schiff 6
  • Introduction of German-based TUI Cruises to Port Saint John
  • 2 calls by Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic
  • Anthem of the Seas, the largest cruise ship to call in Port Saint John to date, stopped there 4 times

Earlier this year, the port released updated economic impact figures from the cruise sector in New Brunswick. Total annual impact from the cruise industry in New Brunswick has risen from $41.5 million per year to $49.9 million per year, an increase of 20 percent. The total impact included direct spending by cruise lines, guests, and crew in New Brunswick, 298 direct jobs in the Province, and $12.5 million in personal income.

Port Saint John is Canada’s third largest port by tonnage, the country’s fourth busiest cruise port, and has a diverse cargo base.

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Québec City Has Record-Breaking Cruise Year



Regularly considered a favorite travel destination, Québec City, Canada is emerging as one of North America’s top ports and is consistently breaking records. With infrastructure and port developments underway, the port is poised to be a year-round destination for the world’s top cruise lines. Located where the St. Charles and St. Lawrence Rivers meet, Québec is known as the most European city in North America, and is a highlight of Canada/New England cruises.

The total cruise passengers calling in Québec City this year has exceeded projections and reached an all-time high of 201,000, an increase of over 30 percent from 2016. The port welcomed a total of 132 ships from all the major cruise lines, which made 118 port calls and 14 turn arounds. Five maiden calls were made there as well, from Ponant, Norwegian, Silversea, and Viking.

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A ship docked in Québec City – photo: Flickr/Visavis

This season, Place des Canotiers, a $39 million signature park at Pier 22 was inaugurated. Other developments include additional berthing options with the agreement to operate the Quai Paquet fountain, which is a short ferry ride away on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence River and boasts spectacular views of the iconic Chateau Frontenac.

2017 has been a banner year for the port, with accolades from Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Award, Cruise Critic‘s Top Cruise Destination in the US & Canada, and Québec was also nominated for Top Cruise Destination of the Year in the Seatrade Cruise Awards. The Port also hosted its first-ever Cruise Month with CLIA, which was a collaboration of the city government, tourism, and port officials.

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7 Things To Expect When Sailing to New England



Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is an excursion option on a Canada/New England Cruise.

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse is an excursion option on a Canada/New England Cruise.

When most people think about taking a cruise, they probably envision themselves sailing to an island for some fun in the sun. However, it’s also right around this time of year that many cruisers consider heading north instead of south, some taking their very first voyage to such ports as Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax and others. So we thought it might be worth offering a few pointers as to what might be different about a trip to Canada and New England… and we’re not just talking about the direction in which you’re headed!

1. More Walking

When we visit ports such as Bermuda or Nassau, our ambling quite often involves little more than catching a cab or bus to a great beach. But most ports on a New England sailing will involve a bit more activity. For example, during a recent visit to Halifax, we strolled for several hours along the waterfront sampling great local food, doing a little shopping, and taking in the sites. And while many cruisers will simply grab a cab or take an excursion to Boston’s Quincy market, if the weather holds up, it’s possible to walk there, poke around for a few hours, and still be back on the ship with plenty of time!

2. A Time Change

Oh, the confusion that can ensue if you forget to make sure you know the difference between “ship time” and “local time.” After all, at the end of the day, most vessels plan their sail-away around ship time, and modern devices such as an iPhone will automatically adjust themselves to local time! One thing you do not want to be is that person running down the pier, watching your ship sail into the distance as you realize too late that you didn’t account for the time change!

3. A Different Approach to Packing

Because the word “unpredictable” was created to describe weather in New England, a bit more thought has to go into what you’re going to pack. You’re going to want a rain poncho and a heavy sweater, just in case. But you’re also going to want shorts and sandals! While we’re generally ones to advocate a “less is more” approach to packing, on itineraries heading north this time of year, we can’t help but change that to “be prepared!”

4. Less Pool Time

Along those same lines, fall itineraries to New England can often mean less time spent soaking up the sun on the pool deck. Don’t get us wrong… you’ll almost always find sun worshippers tilting their faces toward the heavens, no matter how cloudy the day! But odds are there will be a day or two where you’ll be checking the ship’s guide to find out what other activities are taking place. Remember, the one that’s never officially listed but always one of our favorites: napping!

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5. Seafood Galore

carnival sunshine seafood lobster

Lobster rolls and chowders and whole-belly clams, oh my! Head to any message board or Facebook group and ask for seafood recommendations in Portland, and you’ll be inundated with suggestions. (A local pointed us toward the Portland Lobster Company, where we had an incredible seafood feast!) But do a little research and, if necessary, consider venturing off the tourist-trod path. Often, fortune really does favor the bold!

6. Lengthy Excursions

Sure, you can get off the ship in nearly any port and find something to do within easy walking distance. But often, the things you really want to see – and which will raise the bar on your vacation experience – involve a bit of transportation. For example, it takes about 45 minutes to get from the port in Halifax to the gorgeous fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Which means you’re likely to need at least three hours to visit, two of which will involve transport. Figuring out what you want to see – and how much is actually possible – will require a bit more research than does, say, a visit to a private island in the Caribbean.

7) An Older Demographic

While we have definitely met people of all ages during our trips to various New England ports, it’s also safe to say that these itineraries (along with those to Alaska) aren’t exactly catnip to younger cruisers. Of course, all that means is more room on the dance floor when it comes time to shake your groove thing!

Have you done a cruise that took you to the ports of New England? What would you tell people they should expect?

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