Mighty Saint Lawrence
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One of National Geographic Traveller’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime, Mighty Saint Lawrence incorporates the stunning coastal regions of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, including the Gaspé, the Magdalen Islands, Cape Breton, and Saint-Pierre.
- Visit one of the oldest European settlements in North America, Québec City
- Saguenay Fjord, an ideal habitat for fin, minke, blue, and the famous (endangered) Saguenay beluga population
- Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé on the Gaspe Peninsula
- Pay a visit to Canada's "Cradle of Confederation", Prince Edward Island
- Dramatic red sandstone cliffs are among the most striking features of the Magdalen Islands (les Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
- End your cruise in Europe - the small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are officially a part of the French Republic
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One of the oldest European settlements in North America, Québec takes its name from the Algonquin word meaning ‘where the river narrows.’ The city that Champlain founded in 1608 was the capital of New France, and later, of British North America. Today, the proud capital of the province of the same name boasts the old-world charms of Vieux Québec, the world-famous Chateau Frontenac Hotel, and the only remaining intact citadel walls in North America. Cultural riches, superb cuisine, and an incredible view over the river make Québec City the perfect place to begin our voyage. A city tour is available for those who are interested in the morning.
Travel by coach to the charming community of Tadoussac, France’s first trading post on the mainland of New France, located at the confluence of the Saguenay and the Saint Lawrence rivers. Originally established as an Innu settlement, it had become an important trading post by the seventeenth century, and was the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in Canada. Today, it is celebrated for its vibrant local culture, dramatic scenery, and incredible whale-watching opportunities. Our group will meet mid-morning in Québec City for a briefing before embarking on a coach tour along the beautiful north coast of the Saint Lawrence en route to Tadoussac to embark the Ocean Endeavour.
This voyage incorporates the stunning coastal regions of Quebec’s North Shore, the Gaspe, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Magdalen Islands, and Saint Pierre. Marine mammals should be plentiful – some of the best whale watching in Canada is concentrated between the high cliffs of Saguenay Fiord. Anticosti Island, Mingan Islands National Park, Forillon National Park and Île-Bonaventure Provincial Park all offer wildlife opportunities including numerous migrating seabirds. The Magdalen Islands mix of Acadian and English influences—and a history of more than 400 shipwrecks—are among the islands’ unique features. It’s also home to endangered bird species including the Piping Plover and Roseate Tern. We bring our voyage to a close at Saint Pierre, the last remaining outpost of New France, where fine wine, good cheese and French fashion are to be found just off the coast of Newfoundland.
Home to Aboriginal cultures for thousands of years, the Saguenay Fjord’s first European visitor was Jacques Cartier in 1532. The Saguenay drains fresh water from Lac St. Jean, but the greater part of its volume is salt tidal water from the St. Lawrence Estuary. The result is ideal habitat for marine mammals including four species of whales – fin, minke, blue, and the famous (endangered) Saguenay beluga population. Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park and Saguenay Fjord National Park both protect the region’s vast natural riches.
Today we will explore the Saint Lawrence River, famed for its incredible whale-watching opportunities, its rich history, and its vibrant culture. Sailing the river that gave rise to Canada’s European history is a thrilling experience, and we will set off through its heart for a true expedition day. Any stops is weather-dependent; ideally we will have favourable Zodiac conditions for an excursion.
The Gaspé Peninsula (Gaspésie), separates the mouth of the Saint Lawrence from Baie de Chaleur. Here the remnants of the Appalachian Mountain chain form high cliffs, jutting above the treeline. Views of neighbouring seascapes are outstanding.
Forillon is an important bird and marine mammal habitat, with excellent hiking, including a walk to Canada’s tallest lighthouse. Grand-Grave National Heritage Site tells the story of the fishing families who once made their homes here.
Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is the formal name of the park at the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. But most Canadians are more familiar with its best-known feature, the awe-inspiring Percé Rock. Less well known perhaps is the area’s superb Northern Gannet colony, extolled as the largest and most accessible in the world. Named by Samuel de Champlain, the rock itself is world-renowned, containing a huge natural arch within a mass of reddish limestone and sandstone. A second arch once pierced the rock but collapsed in 1845, leaving a massive column at one end. Perce Rock has revealed 150 species of fossils, and more than 200 species of birds are found nearby. Fin, minke, humpback and blue whales ply the nearby waters of this magnificent coastal outpost.
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence is a diverse and complex marine and estuary ecosystem, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Made of up freshwater from the Canadian Shield, the Great Lakes basin, and the St. Lawrence River, the gulf’s waters also combine to cold Labrador Current from the Arctic and the warm Gulf Stream from the tropics. All these currents merge to create the perfect conditions for an incredible diversity of life.
People have relied on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence for thousands of years. Indigenous communities, and later European settlers, depended on it for food, transportation, commerce, and a source of cultural significance.
Canada’s smallest province in both size and population, Prince Edward Island is known by several other names, including “Garden of the Gulf” (for its lush agricultural lands) and the “Cradle of Confederation” (referring to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864). It is a realm of rolling hills, wooded glades, ocean coves, and famously red soil. The island’s landscape has a strong bearing on its inhabitants, and Prince Edward Island—often abbreviated as PEI—retains a slow-paced, old-world flavour in its small, rural settlements. The island was made famous by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (and its sequels)—and to this day the Cavendish farmhouse described in the book is a popular destination for visitors.
Dramatic red sandstone cliffs are among the most striking features of the Magdalen Islands. Though a part of Quebec, the Magdalens (les Îles-de-la-Madeleine) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are closer to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
When the British expelled the Acadians from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Magdalen Islanders remained. Acadian heritage is evident in the culture and cuisine of the islands. Look for handicrafts, seafood, and local wines and beers!
Newfoundland’s south coast offers stretches of almost-uninhabited wilderness. We’ll be watching for puffins and other seabirds, and of course, keeping a close eye out for whales.
We have numerous options here, depending on weather and sea conditions. Fjords, cliffs, and islands offer excellent Zodiac cruising territory—and hiking may be an option as well.
On a trip that traces the history and geography of New France, it’s appropriate that we wind up… in France. The small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon remain officially a part of the French Republic, albeit only a few dozen km off the shore of Newfoundland. In charming Saint Pierre (population 6,000) you’ll find fine wine and cheese, excellent coffee and pastries, even contemporary French fashion items in a post-card pretty town. European style dwellings stand shoulder to shoulder with typical East Coast architecture, and French license plates adorn the Renaults and Citroens on the winding old streets. Vive La France!
Following disembarkation you will have the opportunity to explore the charming, colourful town before transferring to the airport for the charter flight from St. Pierre to St. John’s.
Stay on the ship for the continuing journey, Atlantic Canada Explorer, and receive a back-to-back cruise discount. Full details are available on request.
- Eleven-day voyage in the cabin category of your choice
- All shipboard meals
- Team of resource specialists
- Educational program and pre-departure materials
- All Zodiac excursions
- Service charges and port fees
- Entry and park fees
- Pre-departure information package
- Commercial flights to/from St. John’s, NL
- Mandatory medical/evacuation insurance
- Personal expenses
- Additional expenses in the event of delays or Itinerary changes
- Discretionary gratuities to ship’s crew (approximately US$14/person/day recommended)
- Visas, or inoculations, if required
- Physician’s fees for confirmation of fitness to travel, if required
- Possible fuel surcharges
- Discovery Fund Fee
- Charter airfare Saint-Pierre, FR to St. John's, NL
Singles: Free single supplement! Singles get their own cabin in categories 3-7 aboard the Ocean Endeavour at no additional cost–subject to availability.
Multiple expedition savings: Book multiple expeditions with Adventure Canada in a single calendar year aboard the Ocean Endeavour and receive 10% off the total berth cost of Arctic itineraries and 20% off the total berth cost of east coast itineraries!
30 Under 30: Save 30% on the berth cost of travellers under thirty aboard Ocean Endeavour expeditions! Great option for family multi-generational travel!
Children & Infants: Children under two travel for free, and children between two and four pay for charter flights only!
Price Guarantee: If the price of the berth portion of your program decreases more than 120 days prior to departure, previously booked clients may claim the lower rate. So, no need to wait for sales to get the best price!
League of Adventurers Loyalty Program: Return travellers are eligible for savings and added benefits when booking on an Ocean Endeavour expedition voyage. Ask us for details.
To check availability for any of these special offers and applicable terms and condition, just give us a call!
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.