The St Lawrence cruise ship season opened on Tuesday May 12, with the arrival of Chicago-based Haimark Line’s 4,954-ton 210-berth Saint Laurent from Charleston, where she had just received a $3.5 million refit for her first season of Great Lakes and New England cruises.
The ship was built in 2001 as the now-defunct Delta Queen Coastal Voyages’ Cape May Light and although she has seen service in Haiti, Labrador and Chesapeake Bay waters, she has spent most of that time laid up at freshwater berths. Her present owners, Clipper Group of Copenhagen, also own sister ship Sea Discoverer, which is now in stationary use at Lerwick. Both ships are registered in the Bahamas.
Something over 71,000 domestic and international cruise passengers are forecast for Montreal this year, representing an increase of more than a quarter over 2014, when the port welcomed 56,466 passengers.
With calls by nineteen ships, Montreal expects a 2015 season that will also include five newcomers – Oceania’s 1,250-berth Marina and 684-berth Insignia, the 2,050-berth AidaDiva, 706-berth Saga Sapphire, and of course the Saint Laurent.
The largest carrier in the St Lawrence cruise trade at the moment is Holland America Line, whose 1,266-berth Maasdam trades from Montreal and 1,348-berth Veendam from Quebec.
The Saint Laurent is using Montreal as its home port for 2015 and became the first vessel of the year to take on passengers, departing on May 13 for a 9-night cruise to Clayton NY, Toronto, Port Weller (for Niagara Falls), Quebec and Trois-Rivieres. She will perform ten of these cruises for Paris-based operator Rivages du Monde.
The Saint Laurent will also offer 9-night Great Lakes itineraries between Montreal and Chicago and between Chicago and Toronto that will include all five Great Lakes by adding a brief lockage through the locks at Sault Ste Marie into Lake Superior. Port calls will be made at Chicago, Mackinac Island, Georgian Bay, Detroit/Windsor, the Welland Canal (for Niagara Falls) and either Toronto or Montreal.
In addition to the Great Lakes, the Saint Laurent will offer a number of 9-night Canada/New England cruises between Montreal and Portland, Maine. The May 30 departure from Montreal to Portland will feature as guest speaker renowned US television commentator Dan Rather, and calls will be made at Quebec, Gaspé, Halifax, Yarmouth, Saint John, Bar Harbor and Portland.
All Great Lakes and New England cruises have been scheduled for 9 nights. Outside cabins begin at $4,998 per person, including port charges, while inside cabins start at $4,598.
For a copy of the Great Lakes flyer click here: Cruise the Great Lakes and for further details and bookings please call The Cruise People Ltd in London, England, on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail email@example.com.