Saint John will become a home port for a cruise to Portland, starting in the summer of 2015, officials announced on Friday.
Blount Small Ship Adventures will offer a 10-day tour of the Bay of Fundy on a 98-passenger ship, with stops in Saint Andrews, Grand Manan and Campobello Island.
“The Blount line will be the first to offer cruises where passengers will start or end their experience right here in New Brunswick. This signals to other similar companies that we are also open for their business," Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Trevor Holder said in a statement.
The announcement comes on the heels of a report by Dillon Consulting Ltd., which concluded Port Saint John is well-suited to become a home port for expedition-class ships.
Last month, the provincial government committed $100,000 a year for the next three years to help Port Saint John establish a home port by erecting a special gangway and/or a floating platform to accommodate expedition-class ships.
Expedition-class ships are often high-end vessels, carrying 50 to 200 passengers plus crew, geared toward adventurers with specific interests, such as exploring nature.
As recognition of the Bay of Fundy "brand" and the region's "natural wonders" expands, the provincial government and port hope to expand the niche business line, officials said.
Cruise ship passengers who make a stop in Saint John spend an average of $60 to $80. Passengers who start their journey in Saint John are expected to spend up to twice that amount, likely spending at least one night at a hotel and eating out, officials said.
The 2014 cruise season is set to begin on July 5.