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Montréal season, to open with Maasdam, has three maiden calls

Montréal season, to open with Maasdam, has three maiden calls
Maasdam's arrival on Saturday wlll open Montréal's cruise season when three new ships are expected along with calls into November.

The Holland America Line ship is ending a charter cruise for Olivia Travel, an agency specializing in the lesbian market. Maasdam is due to visit Montréal a dozen times this year.

'Cruises are at the heart of our strategic planning for the coming years. We have ambitious objectives for this high-potential market, and we are working together with members of the Montréal Cruise Committee to attain them,' said Yves Lalumière, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.

Lalumière wants not only to attract cruisers to the city but to make Montrealers more aware of this way to tour and discover the St. Lawrence River.

The maiden calls are by Pearl Mist, Hamburg and Seabourn Quest. Europa will be back after one previous stopover in 2004.

The season stretches to November and will be in full swing in September and October, at the height of the fall colors.

Last year, the Port of Montréal hosted 47 cruise calls and a record 55,611 passengers, 70% of them international tourists. From 2012 to 2013, the number of cruisers shot up 47%, in part due to the work of the Montréal Cruise Committee, formed in 2011.

Port of Montréal president and CEO Sylvie Vachon commended the committee's work.

Supported by Tourisme Québec, the group comprises the Montréal Port Authority, Tourisme Montréal, Aéroports de Montréal (Montréal Airports), the Old Port of Montréal Corp., the Montréal Casino, the Old Montréal Business Development Corp., the Hotel Association of Greater Montréal and the city of Montréal.