Canada’s East Coast – Fins and Fiddles
Explore Atlantic Canada on a small expedition cruise ship and visit Sable Island and the coastline of Nova Scotia on this Canadian Signature Experience. See the famous wild horses of Sable Island, try sea kayaking, stand up paddling and cycling excursions.
- View abundant wildlife – whales, grey seals, Atlantic razorbill, great cormorant, black-legged kittiwakes, eagles and Atlantic puffin
- On-board live musical entertainment and photography seminars
- Dine on fresh lobster delivered by local fishermen and enjoy dining experiences on quiet beaches
- Visit the tablelands of Gros Morne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as Sable Island — one of Canada’s newest National Parks
- Experience the picturesque French territory of St. Pierre et Miquelon while enjoying French wine and cheese
- Admission on embarkation day to the must-visit Fortress of Louisbourg, a National Historical Site of Canada
July: 04, 14
US$3,395 – Triple Share
US$4,395 – Twin Semi-Private Facilities
US$5,695 – Twin Private
US$6,395 – Superior
US$7,795 – Shackleton Suite
US$9,395 – One Ocean Suite
Kayaking – US$695 per person (complimentary on these Fins and Fiddle departures)
Taxes: 5% GST
Prices are shown in US$ and are per person based on three people sharing a triple cabin or two people sharing regular cabins or suites. Single cabins are available for 1.5X the per person twin occupancy price for regular cabins or 2X for suites. Single rates are not available in the triple cabin.
Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where we board our expedition vessel, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. We enjoy a dinner of fresh, local lobster as we sail out past the lighthouse into the North Atlantic.
Located on the edge of the Grand Banks, hundreds of kilometers from the coast, Sable Island has a storied history as a graveyard of ships, with more than 350 ships falling victim to the treacherous currents and sandbars. Sporadically inhabited by sealers, shipwreck survivors and salvagers, the island is now home to fewer than six year-round inhabitants, a herd of wild horses and one of the largest gray seal colonies in the world. It is an important stopover for numerous migratory bird species as they make their way to and from the High Arctic regions.
We return to Cape Breton and continue our exploration of this beautiful island by stopping in Englishtown. We have a few options in this area. We encounter Atlantic puffins and razorbills on Bird Island where we explore by zodiac. The seaside community of Englishtown is also a fascinating location featuring numerous points of interest. The Gaelic College in Cape Breton is a short bus ride away from the beach where we disembark, and provides an interesting diversion. There are opportunities to launch the sea kayaks, enjoy a stand-up paddle board excursion in the placid waters, or a cruise in the zodiacs. On shore hiking and gentle cycle touring are other activities to enjoy.
In September of 1864, representatives from the British Colonies in North America met in Charlottetown to discuss Confederation. On July 1st, 1867, the Dominion of Canada came into being. This is a very historic location and a fitting place to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Today, we anchor off Prince Edward Island near the town of North Rustico. From here we can split off in several directions. A tour into Charlottetown for those interested in a day in town is an option, or perhaps a visit to Green Gables, or spend a few hours at the island’s famous Cavendish beach with a mandatory sampling of Cows Ice Cream. Other enticing options could be a leisurely bicycle ride along the Confederation Trail or the Coastal Drive, a round of golf on one of the islands celebrated golf courses, or a kayak paddle in Rustico Bay.
Sculpted out of sandstone, these islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are home to unique fishing communities with beautifully maintained waterfront houses and boats, flowing grassy meadows and sandstone shorelines sculpted by the elements. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture found in the islands, we encounter a wide diversity of bird and sea life. Europeans first discovered the islands in the mid 15th century, though it’s thought indigenous Miíkmaqs had been visiting for centuries to hunt walrus. Quebecois and Acadian culture features strongly in the local cuisine, craft and language. The island’s gentle terrain is a cyclist’s paradise, while the sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding through sea arches and into sandstone sea caves are superb. Otherwise you might enjoy a whale-watching cruise in the zodiacs or head to the beach to soak up some sun or build sand castles!
At Bonaventure Island we drop the anchor near the town of Percé and explore the island by zodiac. This location has a rich natural, historic, and geological heritage. Sculpted over time by the sea, the island is situated at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. The outstanding flora and fauna, including its famous colony of Northern Gannets, make this location a highlight. Almost 300 different species of birds have been recorded as visiting, migrating to, or living on Bonaventure Island. An afternoon visit to the community of Percé will provide a window into the rich fishing culture of French-Canada. Zodiac cruising, sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are all activities that can be undertaken here, weather permitting.
At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, where the river water mixes with Arctic waters and the more temperate Atlantic waters, lies Anticosti Island. We plan to hike along the beaches near the eastern end of the island followed by a zodiac cruise along the cliffs at East Point. We hope to observe several species of shorebirds and seabirds as well as whales and seals, which are frequent visitors to the island’s waters. Bald eagles soaring along the shoreline, deer in the woods and whales just offshore are all common sights in this location.
Sailing into majestic Bonne Bay, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, the cliffs soar up out of the water and are covered in a green blanket of tuckamore forest – windswept spruce sculpted by the ocean breeze. At Woody Point we are welcomed ashore by a delegation from the community before hiking up to the excellent interpretation centre. From there, various guided walks take us into the World Heritage-listed Tablelands and to the lookout for a view over much of the park! A boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, white-throated sparrows and perhaps even a moose could all be encountered as we explore the park. The twisting mountain road to Trout River makes for a challenging bike ride with our guides or a paddle along the shores of Bonne Bay is another great option.
The community of Francois (pronounced Fransway) on the south coast of Newfoundland was settled in the late 1700s. Francois’s rich fishing heritage also included operation of a whale factory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as an ‘out-port’, and accessible only by boat or from the air by helicopter, Francois has a deep harbour which is navigable year-round. When entering Francois harbour, we are first greeted by one of the few remaining manned light stations on the coast of Newfoundland. Once past the light, the narrow opening leading into the steep-walled rocky fjord amazes us. This is a spectacular location and for many, a highlight of the trip.
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon are a small group of islands situated off the south coast of Newfoundland. They were first settled by the French in the early 17th century and today, the islands are the sole remaining vestige of France’s once vast North American empire. Walking down the streets feels like taking a stroll through a provincial French town. There’s an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, we cruise in the zodiacs to see these colourful birds. Tonight we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain to mark the end of our voyage through Canada’s spectacular Atlantic provinces.
We sail back to Cape Breton across the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, heading again for the historic port of Louisbourg. We will disembark in the morning and, while some of us will head to the airport, many will add a few extra days in Cape Breton to enjoy one of the gems of Canada’s East Coast.
- Voyage as outlined on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov or the Akademik Ioffe
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities, as applicable
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- Comprehensive pre-departure material
- Transportation to/from Louisbourg
- Charter flights
- Taxes and fees
- Travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature
- Fuel surcharges if imposed
This expedition cruise takes travellers to islands and remote parts of Canada’s Atlantic coast. Eastern Canada is famous for a rich and diverse culture, found in small fishing communities and remote ports. The region also offers a staggering abundance of wildlife, including prolific birdlife, numerous seal and whale species and we even encounter the fabled wild horses of Sable Island. Beaches and lagoons provide viewing opportunities for numerous shorebirds. On the cruise we hope to see the great baleen whales such as the humpback, minke and blue whale, as well as grey and harp seals.
Immerse yourself in everyday 18th century life within a French fortress in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, then set sail into the North Atlantic on a small, ice–strengthened expedition cruise ship while savouring a fresh local lobster supper. Wake up to the mystique of remote Sable Island where wild horses run free on grassy dunes while grey seals bark from sandy shores at waters littered with 350 shipwrecks. Comical, colourful puffins flap through the salty air and countless gannets crowd a thriving colony. Scan the horizon for humpback, minke and blue whales. Explore Canadian history in genteel Charlottetown, PEI where Canada was born in 1867. Kayak or stand–up paddle board across glassy waters, cruise on a guided zodiac tour, or head ashore to hike or cycle. In Newfoundland and Labrador, sail alongside soaring fjord walls streaming with waterfalls in Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Drop in for wine and cheese at a petit outpost of France off Canada’s coast. Then along the coastlines of Iles-de-la-Madeleine and Anticosti Island in Quebec, explore some salty fishing villages with quaint homes painted in rainbow colours — who knows, you might even find yourself dancing a jig with locals to fiery fiddle music at a kitchen party!
Find out more about the daily excursions of this expedition cruise to Atlantic Canada’s most breathtaking areas. Whale watching, exciting activities such as cycling, hiking, stand up paddling, sea kayaking and zodiac excursions take you into this enchanted world of wildlife and cultural diversity.
Daily shore excursions with expert guides, a range of wonderful activities and an inspired dining menu make this an ideal way to experience this enchanting region of Canada.
Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.