Montreal's renovated Old Port welcomes 1st cruise ship

While thousands of tourists are in the city for Grand Prix festivities this weekend, Montreal welcomed its first cruise ship since the Old Port got a facelift.

Construction still underway for $78M facelift of pier, passenger terminal

The Maasdam arrived in Montreal early Saturday morning from Boston. (Sébastien Desrosiers/Radio-Canada)

While thousands of tourists are in the city for Grand Prix festivities this weekend, Montreal welcomed its first cruise ship since the Old Port got a $78-million update.

The Maasdam arrived from Boston with 1,700 passengers and cruise ship employees early Saturday morning at the newly renovated Alexandra Pier.

The upgrade project, announced last summer, is supposed to bring new life to the aging pier and a complete overhaul of the Iberville passenger terminal. The goal was to bring a more pleasant experience to cruise ship passengers as they disembark near Old Montreal.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the renovations are an important step in boosting the city's tourism industry. He expects that cruise ships alone will bring the city $30 million in tourism-related revenue during the 375th anniversary celebrations.

"You know that Montreal is transforming, that Montreal is beautifying," said Coderre. "We're giving back the river to the people and we're receiving visitors."

The city expects 110,000 cruise ship passengers to visit the city this summer.

The number of cruise passengers and crew members stopping in the city has doubled since 2011, bring the number to 91,000 in 2015, according to figures from the port authority.

While the upgrades are still ongoing, the project is expected to be completed by the end of this summer.