Not to be mistaken with its United States neighbour, Canada is peppered with vibrant cities, spectacular scenery, rugged wilderness and unique wildlife. With its southern borders adjacent to the USA and its northern tips reaching for the Arctic Circle, the country is a place of incredible diversity. And what better way to explore its shores than by a luxury cruise ship that will ferry you from the breezy harbours of Halifax, the sophisticated streets of Quebec, the photogenic facades of Montreal, the colourful atmosphere of Charlottetown, the rugged beaches of Newfoundland, the remote isles of Labrador and beyond? To celebrate all things Canadian we’ve put together a guide to some of The Great White North’s most enchanting destinations.
Consistently voted as one of the most liveable cities on the planet, Vancouver is one seriously stunning metropolis. Bordered by towering mountains, glittering bays and distant islands it offers something for everyone. Head downtown and hit up Robson high street, venture further afield to ultra-chill Kitsilano Beach, spend the day at the world famous aquarium, stroll around the iconic seawall, explore Stanley Park, soak up the sunshine on Granville Island and even slog it up Grouse Mountain for the best view in the city! When you travel with Princess Cruises you’ll enjoy the opportunity to sign up for some fantastic shore excursions, including day trips to nearby Capilano Canyon Walk.
As the capital of Nova Scotia province Halifax is an intriguing blend of natural beauty and cosmopolitan chic. It’s nicknamed ‘The City of Trees’ in honour of its lush urban gardens and streets lined with Canadian maples. The handful of universities give the city a young, fun and dynamic vibe built around live music, summer festivals and artistic boutiques. Royal Caribbean offers some incredible opportunities to explore the heart of the city, with Halifax On Tap! – A Craft Beer Experience definitely one of our top picks. A Nature and Whale Watching tour is ideal for the whole family while the Historic Halifax Walking tour offers travellers an inside glimpse of the city’s hidden gems.
Thought the capital of BC was Vancouver? Think again! It’s actually a little seaside enclave called Victoria, located on the whimsical Vancouver Island. The pint sized city is famous for its museums, galleries, gardens and golf courses. Norwegian Cruise Line has some amazing experiences on offer, with the Enchanting Butchart Gardens Evening definitely one of our favourites. Marine lovers will jump at the chance to embark on Ocean Wildlife and Orca Exploration or Zipline Adventure tours while history buffs will be enamoured by the magnificent Craigdarroch Castle.
Sophisticated, lively and brimming with culture, Quebec has a unique culture all of its own. Spend the day admiring the colourful Victorian style buildings, dining at the charming bistros and hiking in the lush rolling hills. City walking tours are a wonderful way to get a feel for the city’s allure while adventurous cruisers can journey further afield into the picturesque Québec countryside. Visit the crashing Montmorency Falls, ancient Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, dramatic Sainte Anne Canyon and some of the region’s finest wineries.
Recently crowned as a UNESCO City of Design, Montreal is a mecca for cosmopolitan cruisers. Wander around the streets lined with 18th century buildings, enjoy a glass of wine in one of the city’s many candlelit bars and indulge in what’s celebrated as one of North America’s most exciting food scenes.
This lively town is the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, with historic sights, boutique shopping and gourmet fare in abundance. Princess Cruises offers a unique Anne of Green Gables Historic Site & Island Drive that showcases the inspiration behind Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famous novels.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Rugged and remote, this province is the stuff that Canadian nature fantasies are made of. Icebergs drift through windswept bays, orcas breech, kayakers cruise the shores and fishermen reel in daily catches that soon find their way to the plates of local restaurants. Set your watch to island time and enjoy the incredible natural beauty that the region is famous for. The sleepy seaside town of Corner Brook is a favourite with cruisers wanting to explore nearby Humber Valley and the plethora of adventure-sports on offer. UNESCO World Heritage listed site Red Bay is another popular port of call where passengers can day trip to Saddle Island, discover the ancient whale bones of Boney Shore Trail and even spot living giants of the ocean.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Alex Indigo, Gord McKenna, Jo Charman, John Skodak, Sean McReady