People Around the Port: Kelly Anne Loughery, Cruise Tour Guide

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Picutured here: Kelly Anne Loughery, tour guide for Aquila Tours at the Port of Saint John

This is a continuation of a feature we started earlier this year about ‘People Around the Port’.

We wanted to highlight the many partner companies and stakeholders who contribute to a successful port in cruise and cargo.

It is easy to assume that everyone who works here is a Port Saint John employee – but that’s not true. A great number of the people who work on the water and on the wharves are employed by partner companies who provide essential services.

Today we’re featuring Kelly Anne Loughery, who is one of 55 tour guides working for Port Saint John partner company Aquila Tours.  In the past few years, Kelly Anne has been twice chosen as Hospitality Saint John ‘Tour Guide of the Year’ from ballots completed by cruise guests.  We asked her about the kind of work she does, and how she started working as a guide.

Q: WHAT IMPRESSION DO YOU MOST WANT TO LEAVE WITH CRUISE VISITORS? 

 A: I want to leave them thinking that Saint John and surrounding areas have it all; history, architecture, local products, unique culture, and nature which of course includes our fabulous Bay of Fundy.  I want them to go home and tell their friends, ‘we visited the most fantastic place in Canada; I can’t wait to go back!’

 Q: WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING QUESTIONS YOU’VE RECIEVED FROM CRUISE VISITORS? 

 A: People are really interested in the day to day living of the places they visit so I always like those kinds of questions and I try to address many of them before they are even asked.  Visitors from the southern US are always asking questions about our winters and everyone is fascinated by our Bay of Fundy tides.  I am a dual citizen so I get a lot of questions about the differences between Canada and US, especially our medical system.

 Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR JOB? 

 A: I absolutely LOVE being part of the Aquila team!  I am so proud to be a part of a local company that has been giving back to the community for well over 30 years now.  Melanie, Danielle, and the rest of the management team are so incredibly supportive of everyone and as a result it is a pleasure to be part of the Aquila family.  On a more basic level, I love wearing my Loyalist costume, sounds corny, but I do.  It helps me get in the proper frame of mind and the guests love the costumes, it adds to their local experience.  I can walk anywhere uptown and people know that I’m a tour guide.

 Q: WHAT WAS YOUR MOS T CHALLENGING DAY BEING A TOUR GUIDE? 

 A: Not one particular day stands out in my mind, but I would have to say the most challenging days are when I have a bus load of stone-faced people.  If my guests are interested and engaged then everything just comes naturally and the day just flies by, if not it can be a long, very tiring day.

 Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR AQUILA TOURS? 

 A: I started in 2010.  New Aquila guides spend the summer season training and preparing for the busy fall season, so I gave my first tour in September of 2010.

Q: WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO BECOME A TOUR GUIDE? 

 A: I was a history major and I love to do research so guiding is sort of an outlet for that side of me.  I love our history here in the Saint John area and I often found myself offering suggestions to tourists on the street who needed help, so after years of friends saying “you should really be a tour guide”… I took the plunge.

 Q:  WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS INTERESTED IN BEING A GUIDE? 

 A: Study, study, study, and keep good records.  I am constantly adjusting and enhancing information that I use.  Above all, I would say keep it real.  We have a wealth of great history and fascinating real stories, there is no reason to over embellish or tell fake stories.  If you have a passion for where you live and want to share it, that will come thru to your guests with very little effort.

 Q: WHAT KEEPS YOU BUSY OUTSIDE OF CRUISE SEASON? 

 A: I love the quiet solitude of winter; I call it the “guilt free season”.  I write and do research; read and watch a lot of films.  I do a lot of gardening spring & summer and I am passionate about photography year round.  For many years I was involved in lighthouse preservation and I still take an interest in them.  I usually take one major trip a year and I love short road trips (day trips or overnight) to explore our region.

To learn more about careers at Aquila Tours visit their website.  Not only do they have 55 tour guides but in season their entire cruise team numbers 70 people!


Editors’ Note:  As this busy fall unfolds, Kelly Anne is sure to be one of the many local guides sharing her love of Saint John and the Bay of Fundy with cruise guests.  Next time you see a motor coach driving by it just may be Kelly Anne on board.   Follow the cruise season as it unfolds on the Cruise Saint John Facebook page and Port Saint John Twitter account @PortSaintJohn.


 

A Day to Support Our Ports: United for the Future

April 5th marks Western Hemisphere Ports Day, a time to acknowledge our industry’s role in job creation and economic prosperity, and its commitment to education, training and environmental stewardship initiatives on behalf of the communities we serve across the Americas.

Led by the American Association of Port Authorities and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities – under the banner “United for the Future” – we’re proud to join hundreds of ports in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, to highlight and celebrate the value of ports.

Like ports worldwide, we have an ongoing commitment to remind our community and its leaders about the important role we play in New Brunswick and Canada as a vital link to the global economy.

According to IHS World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2014 totaled 3.48 billion metric tons in volume and $4.9 trillion (CAD) in value.  Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.68 billion metric tons of cargo valued at $2.1 trillion (CAD), while North American ports handled 1.79 billion metric tons of goods, valued at $3.7 trillion (CAD).    Finally, within the North American total, the 18 members of Canada’s national port system move 311.5 million metric tonnes of goods valued at over $400 billion (CAD).

reduced gdp for april 5However, the economic worth of all cargo in terms of jobs and business activity is much greater than its market value.  According to the Association of Canadian Port Authorities activity at its member ports play a pivotal role in driving Canada’s economy by contributing $25 billion (CAD) to the nation’s GDP, creating 250,000 direct and indirect jobs that pay higher-than-average wages, and handling nearly two-thirds of the country’s waterborne cargo.

Ports also play a critical role in providing goods that impact our everyday lives.  Millions of tons of food, clothing, medicine, fuel and building materials, as well as consumer electronics and toys, move through Western Hemisphere seaports every day.

And the volume of cargo shipped by water is expected to dramatically increase by 2020, as reduced jobs fro april 5
will the number of passengers traveling through our seaports. To meet these demands, we’re committed to keeping our ports navigable, secure and sustainable.

On Ports Day, port leaders from across the hemisphere are gathering in Washington for their Annual Spring Conference to discuss how we can best manage increasing freight volumes and remain successful in a dynamic global economy, among other challenges.  Most importantly, we will also continue collaboration on ways our industry can lead the way in terms of job creation and economic growth.

We’re proud to join hundreds of Western Hemisphere seaports in celebration of Ports Day.  On behalf of workers, farmers, employers, manufacturers and consumers everywhere, we are truly united for the future.

Peter Gaulton, Chair of the Board of Directors
Port Saint John

A proud Cunarder: Lulu’s story

Lulu on a Cunard ship

Above: Lulu Chisholm, touring the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth, when it was docked in New York harbour.

Editor’s note: when we spoke to Lulu for this story, she mentioned how much she still loves the music of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy – singers from the 1940s. If you’re so inclined, we recommend listening to one of their tunes while you read this blog post. Here’s a link to one of their greatest hits, Indian Love Call: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n_bUSywN94.

 

Last year, the Cunard Line celebrated 175 years in business. Its fabled vessels have plied international waters in high style, and played a role in nearly two centuries of history.

Lulu Chisholm, sharp as a tack at almost 94 years of age, took time to chat with us this Fall about her time working for the company.

“You can do almost anything on a ship,” says Lulu with faraway eyes. She remembers the times she traveled on her employer’s ships with amazing detail.

“There was always lots to do. On one trip we had a fancy hat parade, where you made hats out of whatever you had in your luggage. At night there was always the orchestra and dancing. You could even see a movie on board – but who would want to?”

Lulu Chisholm was born on the Magdalen Islands in 1921, where she lived until the age of 18. Her father was a Morse Code operator for the Canadian Marconi Company, and was stationed there in 1917.

In 1941 Lulu moved to Halifax, where she accepted a job as a stenographer. Two years later, she took a job at the Cunard Line’s busy Halifax offices.

“Oh there was a lot going on then – it was wartime, you know,” says Lulu. “I earned $93 a month, working in the freight department. I was a typist and I did shorthand. I loved every minute of it.”

At the time, the line’s two largest vessels – the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary – were repurposed to carry troops overseas. They were the fastest ships available, able to make the Atlantic crossing in four days.

“My first experience on one of the Cunard Line vessels was on the Queen Mary. It was in troop-carrying mode at the time. Our boss arranged for all the girls in the office to go on board for afternoon tea,” says Lulu. “We had a tour of the ship afterward, and saw where the men would sleep in rows of hammocks.”

At the end of the war, ordinary civilians began travelling overseas again.

Lulu describes trainloads of people arriving in Halifax to travel to England on the Cunard ship Aquitania.

“The girls in the office would do check-in, taking a portion of the ticket as they boarded the vessel. And then we’d be invited on board for dinner,” she says. “It was wonderful.”

In 1949 Lulu accepted a transfer to Cunard’s Toronto office, where she could live closer to her brother.

“I took a job in the freight department there – but instead of being the only girl there, I was now one of three,” says Lulu.

Shortly after moving to Toronto, Lulu was offered the position of assistant to the Office Manager – someone she had a great deal of respect for.

“He was a marvelous man. He always dressed immaculately,” she says. “I was really pleased about this new job, I had my own office and everything.”

At the time Lulu was working for Cunard, employees needed to put in 15 years before they were allotted three weeks of vacation time per year.

When Lulu earned her third week, her good friend May Blakely said: “we’re going overseas whether you get seasick or not.”

Lulu on QE

Above: Lulu aboard the Queen Elizabeth.  The ship was docked in New York harbour, and Lulu was on vacation with her friend May. “I was so proud of that suit,” she says. “I made it myself.”

“May and I did two trips together. The first was in 1963 on the Queen Elizabeth, to southern England.”

Here’s what Lulu had to say about the voyage over:

On that first trip, they would change the clocks forward an hour a day each day at midnight, so when you arrived in England you were all adjusted. One morning we overslept and missed breakfast. The waitress asked if she could make us coffee, but we said no, that was all right. It was a beautiful day, and we were walking on the deck. Near the swimming pool was a bar, and on it there was a huge tray of sandwiches. I asked May – do you want a sandwich? She said to me: I’ll have a sandwich if you have a pint! So we had a breakfast of beer and sandwiches!

On the way home, Lulu and May traveled on the Franconia – a much smaller vessel – during a hurricane.

“That was quite an experience! During the storm they handed out little blue pills for seasickness, and we ate only chicken sandwiches and apples for an entire day. No extra fluids.”

Lulu’s next trip with May was on the Queen Mary in 1965.

Captain Warwick entertained us before meals in the dining room. On one cloudy day with rough seas, I said: ‘it looks rough out there, but I don’t feel any motion – why is that?’ The captain said: ‘my dear, I have the wind behind the ship.’”

We had terrific table companions on that trip. The eight of us had a great time.

 The orchestra leader took requests – and when we arrived in the dining room, they would start to play our music. Back then I loved listening to Nelson Eddie and Jeanette McDonald.

In 2006 the Queen Mary came to Saint John, and the captain on board was the son of Captain Warwick.

Lulu 2006

Above: Lulu, quayside to see the Queen Mary 2 in 2006.

Lulu remembers May – her traveling companion on these adventures – fondly. May has since passed away, but Lulu says her spirit stays with her.

“She’s right here on my shoulder.”

Lulu concluded her career with Cunard in 1968.

“I was proud to be a Cunarder. I am still proud to be one,” she says – emotion in her voice. “I love to talk about those times.”

In 1976 Lulu married the love of her life, a man she met on the Magdalen Islands when she was 17.

Don Chisholm came to the islands as a tutor for the English children in the community of Grindstone. Classes were held in Lulu’s parents’ home, and he lived there with them for approximately two years. He went overseas to fight in 1940, met and married his first wife Winnifred in 1942, and was in Holland when the war ended. Don and his wife had two children, and in the early 1960s the family relocated to Saint John, where he took a job at Veteran’s Affairs. Winnifred passed away in 1974.

In August 1975 Lulu was visiting family on the East Coast, and she decided she should visit Don.

“I knew he wasn’t well at the time, and had recently lost his wife,” she says. “When I saw him I gave him a peck on the cheek. His arms flew around me and he said: ‘we can do better than that.’ And that was it!”

In January 1976, Don visited Lulu in Toronto, and in April she came to Saint John for his 60th birthday. On the 29th of May they were married, and Lulu moved into Don’s home in Erb’s Cove on the Belleisle Bay.

“Everywhere I’ve lived, I make sure I can see the water,” says Lulu. “I’m proud to have been a part of the Cunard story. All the people I worked with there were very good to me.”

 

Saint John to enjoy boost in cruise ship passenger numbers in 2016

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Triple cruise ship day in 2015

May 9th will see the first cruise ship of the season dock in Saint John harbour, and it will be the beginning of a busy season of calls.

By the time the last ship casts off its lines on October 28th, 64 ships will have visited, bringing with them approximately144,000 passengers and 57,700 crew.

“Our passenger numbers for 2016 represent an increase of 20% over last year,” says Jim Quinn, President & CEO of Port Saint John. “That is great news for Southern New Brunswick, and for its many tourism-related businesses.”

This year’s cruise ship schedule includes six inaugural calls from ships that have not visited our city before. These include Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Sunshine, Holland America’s Rotterdam, Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas, Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2, Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest, and Phoenix Reisen’s Amadea.

Azamara Club Cruises is a new line for Port Saint John. Described as a mid-sized boutique luxury line, their vessel Azamara Quest will dock on October 1st, carrying close to 700 passengers.

Blount Small Ship Adventures will also return this year, staying dockside for five days.

Disney Cruise Line also returns to the port city with Disney Magic on October 4th, after a four-year hiatus.

“This season we will have 8 double-ship days and 4 triple-ship days,” says Quinn. “Our busiest cruise day will be October 19, when we will welcome 8,900 passengers and 3,500 crew for a total of 12,400 visitors to the city. We look forward to an active cruise season for the many operators both large and small in Southern New Brunswick who depend on this industry.”

Cruise activity via Port Saint John represents a $25 million annual boost to New Brunswick’s economy.

 

Waterside weddings at Port Saint John

February is wedding month, so we’re celebrating with our very own “real weddings” story.

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Liz & Nick at their wedding reception in the Fundy Room, Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal. September 2015   (Photography by Judith & Jordan)

Meet Liz and Nick.

Liz, who works in not-for-profit, and her husband Nick, a lawyer, both grew up in the Greater Saint John area. Both spent time away from the city for school and work, but recently moved back to the Port City, engaged and ready to set down roots.

They planned their September 25th wedding to be an uptown affair.

The ceremony was held at the Stone Church, and they wanted a reception venue that would be handy for their 140 guests.

Liz says she pictured a wedding reception that wasn’t too trendy or old fashioned – she envisioned something in-between, which would look great in photos for years to come.

They chose the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal at Port Saint John as their venue.

“I graduated from Saint John high in 2004, and Uptown was pretty different then,” says Liz. “But since then, there has been a transformation in this city, and the Port has been a big part of that. They have changed the skyline here, in a wonderful way. They have made Water Street a real destination.”

She explains that venues like the cruise terminals didn’t exist before, and are unique in the city as having the best views.

“Many uptown venues just can’t offer the views the port does. It was great to be on the water, and that rooftop patio is terrific.”

“Our guests appreciated all the free parking, too,” says Nick. “It wasn’t a deal breaker for us, but it really mattered to our guests.”

Liz found that having the reception at the Port gave her the freedom to make her vision come to life.

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Fundy Room in Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal, set for Liz & Nick’s wedding (Photography by Judith & Jordan)

“One of the great things about the port is that you aren’t forced to use just one supplier. You have four caterers to choose from, and you can choose any decorator or DJ you like – so you can really put your own stamp on your event,” she says.

“The port staff were so supportive. They were there for us whenever we had a question or needed something in the days leading up to the event,” says Liz. “I can’t recommend the cruise terminals as venues enough. They are the best uptown venues available.”

To learn more about Port Saint John venues visit:  www.sjport.com/venues

 

The Marco Polo Cruise Terminal gets a sophisticated new look!

Above: the ABC’s of Judith Mackin’s colour scheme for the Marco Polo terminal. A:  Existing ceiling colour. The new palate had to play nice with this shade, since it wasn’t changing. B:  All columns, the wall area above the wood in the main foyer, and all window/door trim in that area too. C:  The wall area in the back entrance, washroom hallway areas. D:  Wall area and trim above wood in the main terminal area.

Above: the ABC’s of Judith Mackin’s colour scheme for the Marco Polo terminal.
A: Existing ceiling colour. The new palate had to play nice with this shade, since it wasn’t changing.
B: All columns, the wall area above the wood in the main foyer, and all window/door trim in that area too.
C: The wall area in the back entrance, washroom hallway areas.
D: Wall area and trim above wood in the main terminal area.

Monday January 19 saw the scissor-lift go up and the drop cloths go down in the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal. In what will be a month-long project, the building will bid adieu to its dusty rose walls and get a fresh coat of paint that will neutralize and modernize its look.

Emily Teed, Venues Coordinator at Port Saint John, says the change was based largely on feedback from venue rental clients.

“This is our third year of renting the space for weddings and other events, and our clients have told us that the existing colour is hard to work with. We wanted to act on that feedback, and give them a more neutral space – but we also wanted to blend in with the surroundings of our neighbourhood in an historic but also contemporary way,” she says.

That was the direction the Port gave to Judith Mackin of PUNCH Inside – when they asked her develop a new colour scheme for the space.

“I was really pleased to be brought in on the conversation,” says Mackin. “I felt there was a lot we could do to enhance the visitor and user experience with some simple cosmetic changes.”

Mackin’s vision for the new colour scheme, which embraces the wood paneling, polished concrete floor and blue ceiling already in place, conjures up visions of bright and airy Scandinavian airport terminals that mix white with natural textures of wood, concrete and glass.

“It’s no secret that I am an ambassador of white in design,” says Mackin.  “But it really is a great fit for this project. In large spaces like Marco Polo terminal, colour needs to be downplayed. When the building is in use, it’s full of visitors and guests. The focus should be on what’s happening in the room, or on the beautiful views of our harbour and cityscape – not on the walls.”

Above: the team from Tim Desmond Painting, hard at work. (Credit: Judith Mackin)

Above: the team from Tim Desmond Painting, hard at work. (Credit: Judith Mackin)

Bids from three painting companies were solicited, and Tim Desmond Painting was awarded the month-long contract.

“As a rental space for hundreds of events a year, the new colour scheme will be a minimalist backdrop which will accommodate a wide variety of event décor styles, and result in better on-site photography,” says Mackin. “It will also create a soothing, modern environment for cruise passenger reception. Travel can be a stressful time, and a space with minimal visual distractions will complement the visitor experience.”

The project will be complete before the end of February.

“We are really looking forward to the finished product,” says Jim Quinn, CEO of Port Saint John. “We think it will have a tremendous positive impact on the space, raising the bar for the Port as one of the city’s most important venues.”

To book a site tour for your upcoming event, send an email to Emily Teed at: eteed@sjport.com

When a lobster waves at you on your way to lunch – that’s how you know it’s cruise season.

Walking down Water Street, the Steamers lobster isn’t the only thing moving and shaking. Passengers are leaving the cruise terminal, sporting cameras and sneakers, eager to explore the city. Tour operators are taking people to experience the region. Businesses are opening their doors, offering local treats.

The cruise season officially kicked off on August 2, with the arrival of the Carnival Splendor. Holland America Line’s Veendam arrived on August 18.

This season, after last year’s quarter-century celebration, is not without its milestones.

In September, we mark our 1000th ship call. As well, there is a record number of double-ship days, 2 triple-ship days and seven inaugural calls.

“My office window looks right onto these ships when they arrive. Some of them even tower past the terminal, filled with passengers waiting to experience our community. Saint John has a lot to offer and I’m proud to live in a place where newcomers get such a warm welcome,” Jim Quinn, president and CEO of Port Saint John, said.

Here are some fast facts for this cruise season:

  • 19 different vessels from cruise lines all over the world.
  • 11 double-ship days
  • 2 triple-ship days
  • 7 inaugural calls
  • The Royal Princess, christened by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, will be calling for the first time

“We may not be doing a season’s worth of anniversary celebrations, but every cruise day is like a party here. Our talented tour operators, greater community and cruise stakeholders offer passengers an experience they just can’t get elsewhere – genuine hospitality, remarkable scenery and centuries of history,” Betty MacMillan, Manager of Cruise Development added.

Cruise season ends on October 27, with the Regent Seven Seas Navigator. Next year, Port Saint John will get our first experience as a homeport, with the arrival of Blount Small Ship Adventures. For more on that, visit us at Port Saint John and Blount Small Ship Adventures here.

For continual news about cruise in Saint John follow on Facebook by liking the Cruise Saint John page and to check when ships are arriving visit the cruise schedule.