Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2022

8 8 Famed for their diverse cultural heritage, varied cuisine, friendly locals, natural beauty and the impressive colours of their autumnal foliage, the destinations along Canada’s St. Lawrence River have been popular with cruise guests for many decades. However, the region has been prohibited from receiving calls from international cruise ships by the Government of Canada since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ban was lifted on 1 November 2021 – three months earlier than originally stated – allowing cruise and travel industry stakeholders throughout the region to begin preparations in earnest for the start of the 2022 season. Cruise the Saint Lawrence (CSL), for example, is collaborating with its nine member ports – Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, SeptÎles, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Gaspé and Les Îles de la Madeleine – to operationalise the health and safety plans they have developed. In addition, the ports have embarked on various public information and marketing campaigns to encourage cruise lines and their guests to return to the St. Lawrence River’s shores. “We are delighted with this announcement which enables us to send a clear message to all partners and international cruise lines: Canada awaits them,” says Tony Boemi, president of CSL. Collectively, CSL’s nine member ports are already scheduled to receive around 250 cruise calls in the 2022 season. This will include visits from 36 ships sailing for 26 international cruise lines that have historically operated well-liked cruises in the St. Lawrence River region. Holland America Line, for example, is scheduled to return in May 2022 with Nieuw Statendam and Zaandam sailing itineraries that include calls at ports such as Baie-Comeau, Québec, Montréal and Saguenay. Meanwhile, Seabourn, Oceania Cruises and Princess Cruises intend to offer cruises during the ‘fall foliage’ season and visit ports including Saguenay, Québec, Montréal, Trois-Rivières, SeptIles and Havre-Saint-Pierre. REGIONAL SPOTL IGHT: ST L AWRENCE RI VER After months of inactivity due to a governmental ban on international cruise calls, destinations along the St. Lawrence River are eagerly preparing for the 2022 season. Rebecca Gibson reports Back open for business Montréal offers various shore excursion opportunities; hence it is a frequent port of call on cruises in the region