(10 a.m. EDT) -- The popular Canadian embarkation port of Quebec City is set to host its first Cruise Month -- a period of festivities and special events around the city -- from September 16 through October 16.
An all-time high of 200,000 cruise passengers are expected this season, which is a 30 percent increase over last year. These numbers are grown, in part, by five cruise ships making maiden calls to Quebec City during Cruise Month: Ponant Soleil, Viking Sky, Silver Muse, Viking Sea and Norwegian Jade.
Quebec is planning a number of cultural activities and promotional offers for its visitors this fall:
- Now through October 15, pop-up public art installations called Passages Insolites will be displayed throughout the Old Port, Petit Champlain and Place Royale districts.
- The annual international film festival Festival de Cinema de la Ville de Quebec will run from September 13 through the 23rd.
- Cuisinez St-Roch is an outdoor food festival hosted by local shopkeepers in one of the city's up-and-coming neighborhoods, from September 15 to 17.
- On September 16, lucky visitors will experience The Night of the Gallery, an art walk spanning 35 galleries in the tourist haven of Quartier Petit Champlain. Participants can stroll the cobblestone streets with a glass of wine, browsing artisanal shops and 29 of the area's top restaurants, which will stay open late.
- Families will enjoy Limoilou en Famille -- traditional and circus-themed performances, workshops and demos with a family focus -- held on September 17.
- September 29 through October 1, top museums, attractions and nearly 10,000 artists and organizations will offer complimentary entrance and activities for Journees de la Culture.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) holds a similar event each year, annually declaring October to be National Plan a Cruise Month, and offering travel agents incentives for potential bookers.
Recently, Quebec City won Cruise Critic's Cruisers' Choice award for top destination in the U.S. and Canada.
--By Brittany Chrusciel, Associate Editor