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Québec handles record cruise volume in a day

Anne Kalosh
Québec - hosted six cruise ships and more than 15,000 passengers on Oct. 3
The Port of Québec reached a new record for traffic Friday. More than 15,000 passengers and 5,000 crew from six cruise ships visited. 

Two ships were turning around: Legend of the Seas at Wharf 30 and Norwegian Dawn at Wharf 22. Transit calls included Ruby Princess, at Wharf 103, Seven Seas Navigator, Europa at Wharf 104 and Maasdam at Wharf 21.

'Receiving six cruise ships at once with 20,000 passengers and crew means that we are fully booked for the first time in our history,' said Mario Girard, president and ceo of the Québec Port Authority.

He said this required several hundred workers pulling together to bring visitors a 'positive experience in our magnificent city.'

Some 90 security guards, 60 dock laborers, 20 lines men, 25 customer service agents, 18 tourist information agents, 28 parking attendants and 100 tour guides were on duty.

Girard commended the city, tour operators, taxis, public transportation and emergency services.

Québec's cruise business has grown from 35,000 passengers to 164,000 passengers over the past decade—a growth rate the port said it would like to maintain.

A number of strategic committees were established to follow up on industry issues after an international cruise forum held last February. The operational planning committee facilitated advance planning and is focusing on high-traffic days to ensure smooth operations.

Also, a special events coordination center was set up with representatives of the city's transportation department to bring together key players in traffic and emergency management on busy days like Friday. The structure has been in place since the start of the season.

Last year Québec handled 103 cruise calls. Turnaround operations have grown by an average of about 20% per year. Cruise activities generate $23m in economic impact annually and put an international spotlight on the destination, the port authority said.