The Port of Quebec has marked Holland America Line’s 150th anniversary as the Zuiderdam called into the port.
As the first cruise line to make Quebec City a key homeport in recent memory Holland America links New York and Boston with Quebec City and starts its Canada/New England season as early as May, according to the port.
This year, more than 30,000 passengers will dock in Quebec City on Holland America Line ships, making it one of the Port of Québec’s most important partners.
Holland America Line has also paved the way for other major cruise lines to include this destination in their itineraries.
“We are delighted to welcome today passengers from the Zuiderdam cruise ship and Captain Bart Vaartjes. This is a unique moment for Holland America Line as it celebrates its 150th anniversary, quite a historical event! This is a unique opportunity to highlight the strong bond between Quebec City and the company, built up over more than 100 years. We would like to thank Holland America Line for placing its trust in Quebec City and the St. Lawrence River. We look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come,” said Mario Girard, President and CEO of the Port of Québec.
The relationship between Quebec City and Holland America Line goes back to the early 1900s.
The Zaandijk visited Quebec City for the first time on May 14, 1910. The company’s first cruise ship, the Veendam, docked in Quebec City on August 11, 1937. At that time, Quebec City was one of the main gateways for immigration to Canada, and the company played an important role in bringing hundreds of people to the country. The first ship from Holland America to carry immigrants was the Volendam, which arrived in Quebec City on June 21, 1948.
“As we celebrate our 150th anniversary and the 113th year visiting Quebec City, we are pleased to be able to mark the occasion with our friends and partners of the Port of Québec, Destination Québec cite, and other local stakeholders,” said Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line.
“Since our first port of call, the Port of Quebec has played a role in Holland America Line’s success, serving as the gateway to Canada and beyond for many travellers. Quebec City is in fact the most popular port for Holland America Line customers around the world. We look forward to continue visiting it in the coming years.”
Quebec City is the most important cruise port on the St. Lawrence River, predicting a season with 140,000 passengers in 2023 and being the only city where every cruise ship makes a port of call on the entire St. Lawrence River.
The Port of Quebec has been limiting the number of passengers and cruise ships visiting Quebec City since 2014. Each day, a maximum of 15,000 passengers can dock at the port, and no more than four ships can be berthed at the same time.
“Cruises play an important role in Quebec City, connecting its rich and diverse history to the rest of the world. By marking 150 years of Holland America Line, we are celebrating much more than just sailing: we are honouring an unbreakable bond between this iconic city and travellers from all over the world. Cruises are symbols of exchange and discovery and have shaped the Quebec City region into a must-see destination, bringing together the past and the future along the St. Lawrence River,” added Robert Mercure, General Manager of Destination Québec cité.
“The Port of Quebec is committed to constantly improving its practices and will continue to position itself as a leader in the international cruise sector. It is through partnerships such as the one with Holland America Line that we will succeed in developing with partners committed to the development of cruises in Quebec City within an increasingly sustainable and viable industry that is perfectly in line with our 2035 vision,” noted Mario Girard, President and CEO of the Port of Quebec.
Photo: The captain of the Zuiderdam, Bart Vaartjes and Mr. Mario Girard, president and CEO of the Port de Québec.