Ending its second-best season ever, Sept-Îles port of call draws up an enthusiastic picture of its activities.
Despite the federal measures for right whale protection leading to the cancellation of 45% of the planned cruise passenger volume, Sept-Îles port of call finally welcomed 7,960 passengers and crew on board four different ships, three of which were visiting the port for the very first time.
The season opened mid-September with the return of the German cruise line Phoenix Reisen, six years after its first stopover in town. As the German market is constantly growing, the arrival of the MS Amadea was the perfect opportunity to set up a series of measures to improve the reception offered to this clientele, with an introductory training course in the German language for greeters and guides, through the creation of tools in four languages (French, Innu, English and German) as well as the complete translation of the port of call’s website.
Later in September, the P&O Cruises’ MS Arcadia maiden call and Cunard's RMS Queen Mary 2 second visit did not go unnoticed. Traffic was noticeable during stopovers and business was lucrative for artisans, merchants, as well as local main attractions. On September 18th only, the Old Post alone welcomed nearly 530 visitors in one day; a historical record. Shore excursions leading to the North Shore Regional Museum, the Shaputuan Museum, the traditional innu site on De Quen Avenue, as well as helicopter flights, photo tours, Alouette aluminium smelter tours and zodiac tours in the archipelago have also been highly appreciated by international cruise guests.
The season ended on October 6th with the maiden call of the Silver Wind from Silversea Cruises, faithfully visiting Sept-Îles since 2014.
An Involved Community
In 2018, Sept-Îles continued its initiatives to mobilize the environment and boost the quality of the welcome offered to cruise passengers. In synergy with its partners and collaborators, the "WOW Committee", made up of representatives from the City's Recreation Department, the Port of Sept-Îles, Tourisme Sept-Îles, Tourisme Côte-Nord, and the Société de développement économique de Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (SDEUM), has developed an animation plan combining local flavors and Innu culture.
Over the cruise season, guests were able to enjoy grilled marshmallows on campfire, local products tastings in collaboration with the Table bioalimentaire Côte-Nord, bannock, Labrador tea and jams in collaboration with the Innu Ishkueu Center of Mani-Utenam. They also enjoyed Innu tales and legends, dance performances and Innu singing with young dancers from Johnny Pilot School and Mr. Paul-Arthur McKenzie, famous native singer Claude Mckenzie, saxophonist Philippe-François Gallant, and a percussion show led by local musicians of Le son de l’arbre.
The recycled metal sculptures of Mr. Jean-Pier Synnott, acquired by the Port of Sept-Îles earlier this year, also nourished the imagination of visitors on the terminal. The return of Canadian sailor Mylène Paquette, marking the second call of RMS Queen Mary 2, remains one of the highlights of this season.
In addition, before the start of the season, DSIN organized a local familiarization trip for guides, greeters and merchants. They visited the twenty or so businesses and attractions that completed the "Bienvenue Cruise Passengers" training, offered online by Cruise the Saint Lawrence. This tour enabled teams deployed in the field during call days to better inform cruise passengers about the different attractions and services offered around town.
The efforts made the entire community allowed Destination Sept-Îles Nakauinanu to be nominated as a finalist for the Tourism Excellence Award in the "Partnership Initiative" category, in view of the gala organized by the Ministry of Tourism, which will be held on November 6th in Quebec City. The port of call was selected for the excellence of the unique and innovative partnership developed between its partners and collaborators, allowing the organization to increase its influence and to stand out in its sector of activities.
A Promising Future
DSIN is still working with its major partners to make Sept-Îles a "four seasons" destination and extend the tourism season by intensifying its canvassing and development efforts in line with the established growth plan.
These initiatives are already bearing fruit, as the calendar is filling up well for 2019 and 2020: new ships, new cruise lines and the return of well-known ships will allow the port of call to welcome yearly three times more visitors compared to its annual historical average.