On July 27, the Maasdam, a Holland America Lines cruise ship carrying 1,700 crew and passengers, will be visiting the Îles de la Madeleine. The ship will drop anchor in Plaisance Bay at 9 a.m. The first shuttles will be landing passengers on the dock at Cap-aux-Meules at approximately 10 a.m. The Maasdam will weigh anchor and depart at 6 p.m.
A number of activities have been organized for that day to show off the archipelago to the passengers who choose to land here. Some of the passengers will undoubtedly explore the port and the town of Cap-aux-Meules on their own. In future, the new Îles-de-la-Madeleine Development Corporation will be coordinating facilities for hosting cruise ships and providing free shuttle transportation for visitors to various services in Cap-aux-Meules and as far as La Côte in L'Étang-du-Nord.
"We hope that the Maasdam is only the first of a long series of cruise ships that will be stopping in the Islands" declares Joël Arseneau, president of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine Development Corporation, , "The cruise product will strengthen the tourist industry, which is the second most important driver of economic activity on the Islands. Our management of the Maasdam's visit on July 27 will be a good test for us and the industry, and we are counting on everyone's cooperation to make this experiment a resounding success." This exercise fits in with the objectives set out in the overall policy for tourist development as well as the priorities established under the ACCORD program (Action concertée de coopération régionale de développement).
To avoid traffic problems in the port at Cap-aux-Meules as well as on the water, the Development Corporation will be assisted by the Québec Provincial Police, the Coast Card and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The SQ (provincial police) will control traffic at peak periods at the intersection of Principal Street and the port access road, when buses are leaving and returning to the Cap-aux- Meules docks. To help limit traffic around the port during the day, people who want to get a good look at the ship are asked to do so from other excellent observation points such as the parc de L'Échouerie in Gros-Cap, the lookout at la Butte in Cap-aux-Meules, along the Cap-aux-Meules cycle path), from la Butte du Vent and the Butte du Marconi.
Pleasure boaters who would like to get close to the Maasdam are advised that they must remain outside a 150-foot radius from the ship. The Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial police will be on the water to keep an eye on boat traffic.
The Magdalen Archipelago is the ship's first stop after Boston. For more information about the Maasdam's itinerary or the cruise industry in general, we suggest you visit the Cruise the Saint Lawrence website at http://www.cruisesaintlawrence.com/en/index.aspx .
For more information, please contact : Joël Arseneau, Mayor and President of the Islands Development Corporation ( Corporation de développement des Îles-de-la-Madeleine).
(418) 986-3100, extension 222