“What’s the perfect Canada/New England experience? It doesn’t get any more Canada/New England than Boston on one hand and Quebec on the other,” said Michael Vanderbeek, deputy port director, sales and marketing for Massport.
With homeport operations from Holland America (sailing to the Saint. Lawrence) and Royal Caribbean (sailing to Atlantic Canada), Boston also has a strong seasonal Bermuda program from Norwegian; and will add Bermuda calls from Holland America in 2016.
The Massachusetts port marked the tenth anniversary of the Queen Mary 2 last September, and Boston was the first port for Cunard Line way back in 1840.
Calling Canada/New England a strong niche market and a growth opportunity, Vanderbeek hopes to extend a traditional fall foliage season back into the summer.
“There is a lot of potential there throughout the season,” he added.
A large drive-to market in New England can also support year-round cruise operations according to Vanderbeek, and the port hopes to be able to add southern winter itineraries.
“We’re engaged and exploring that potential,” he said. “Massachusetts residents know about cruising and like to cruise.
“We’re trying to get the word out on Boston. You don’t have to fly to Florida, you can cruise out of Boston, and the ability to cruise out of your backyard is very attractive.”
With cruises supporting 2,000 jobs and generating $56 million in economic impact, the port recently completed a $3.5 million renovation of its second terminal, which is primarily used for transit calls.
2014 marked 320,000 passengers and eight maiden calls in Boston, with a similar strong forecast this year.