Maritime News

Revamped passenger terminal


The great hall of Iberville Passenger Terminal is brighter than ever this fall to accommodate cruise ship passengers disembarking in Montreal.

The freshly painted, light-coloured walls have new, highly visible indication signs that make it very easy for people to find their way around. Quayside, the outer walls have a new light gray facade. On the parking side, the outside wall boasts the same blue as the port, overlaid with a very elegant, stylized white ship. Everything is set to welcome company.


“This revamping puts our interest in developing the cruise market on full display,” stated Tony Boemi, Vice-President, Growth and Development, Montreal Port Authority. A project is on the drawing board to push the terminal’s modernizations efforts further to make it even more beautiful and functional. The Montreal Cruise Committee, headed by Tourism Montreal and the MPA, and backed by Tourism Quebec, is convinced that the cruise industry has great potential in Montreal and works at developing it. Its efforts are bearing fruit: in 2012, the city welcomed close to 70,000 passengers and crew members, a 47% upswing. 



The station conductor

On this morning of September 21, Iberville Passenger Terminal is humming like a beehive, invaded by about a thousand cruise passengers from the MS Maasdam. Smiling, always on the go, Jean-Charles Côté is everywhere: near the gangway to greet visitors, in the baggage area to make sure things are rolling along, at the exit to check whether there is a shortage of taxis. The new Customer Service and Cruise Coordinator at the Port of Montreal makes his way through this crowd like a fish in water.

Jean-Charles Côté, Coordinator, Cruise et Guest Services.
His number one goal : make a great first impression with passengers.


He was the first to be surprised to find himself here. Only ten months ago, he began a well-deserved retirement, enjoying painting classes and being a grandfather. But he answered “Here I am!” to the call from the Port of Montreal, which offered to make him responsible for the quality of customer service to cruise passengers arriving in Montreal. “I was really happy to retire, but I missed the people contact. That’s what I did all my life,” he stated.

In his new position, he coordinates between all the partners involved in organizing cruises. “They call me the orchestra conductor!” he stated, not without pride. His number one goal: make a great first impression with passengers when they disembark in Montreal, or he likes to put it: “The first impression is the lasting impression.”

Jean-Charles Côté began his career in the industry at age 18, as a travel agent. “But I had already travelled for a long time… reading Tintin books. My head was full of adventures,” he said. He worked at Air Canada for 25 years, where he did everything, he said, “except pilot a plane.” He was also in charge of sales for a consortium of five hotel chains and cruise lines serving all of North America. Over the last five years, he worked with MSC Cruises. In short, Jean-Charles Côté knows the travel industry inside and out. Iberville Passenger Terminal is in good hands with him.

His job is seasonal, from May to November. What does he do the rest of the time? Go on cruises!