The best bienvenue: Saint Lawrence River, Canada

Cruise guests can visit nine unique ports and experience the culture of Québec

The best bienvenue: Saint Lawrence River, Canada

Gaspesie Roche Perce 

Guests visiting Gaspésie can see Rocher Percé (pierced rock), a geographically and historically rich natural icon in Québec

By Rebecca Gibson |

Cruise brands want to offer their guests the travel experience of a lifetime. Whether these guests are first-time visitors or seasoned travellers, there is always something new for them to discover in the destinations along the Saint Lawrence River in Canada.  

“Art lovers, history buffs, festival goers, thrill-seekers, outdoor enthusiasts and foodies can have memorable adventures on one of the largest rivers in the world,” says René Trépanier, executive director at Cruise Saint Lawrence. “While there are nine fascinating ports of call to visit along the way, the river is a wonder in its own right too. Each bend reveals a new mesmerising sight – from a colossal gulf and one of the longest fjords in the world, to never-ending beaches, ragged shorelines, beautiful islands and wild forests. And passengers can see all of that before they have even stepped off the boat.”  

Taking a cruise on the Saint Lawrence River also provides an opportunity for cruise guests to discover the myriad of attractions on offer in the many cities and ports in the Québec Province. For example, guests alighting in Montréal will be able to enjoy the city’s “cool urban vibe”, European atmosphere, impressive architecture and international cuisine. Meanwhile, in Québec City, they will be able to explore historical fortifications and cobbled streets dating back to the era of French colonisation. The city is also home to the world’s most photographed hotel, Château Frontenac, which overlooks the river.  

Guests travelling the length of the Saint Lawrence River will also be able to discover more about the industries that have shaped the province and created such a diverse nation. Some of the highlights include fur trapping posts in Sept-Îles, lumberjack villages in Baie-Comeau, and the pulp and paper mills of Trois-Rivières, all of which have their own interesting stories. In addition, cruise visitors can head to the Côte-Nord Region to see Manic-5, a project that marks the history of electricity in North America. The hydroelectric installation, which has 13 arches and 14 buttresses still harnesses the power of the Manicouagan River today.  

However, man-made structures are not the only noteworthy points of interest that make the Saint Lawrence an unforgettable travel destination. The region also has multiple natural attractions too. Guests stopping in Gaspésie can see Rocher Percé, an expansive limestone formation named by explorer Samuel de Champlain. Havre-Saint-Pierre also has a lot to offer – it is on the doorstep of the Mingan Archipelago, which has thousands of islands and islets, as well as limestone monoliths.  

Sailing along the Saint Lawrence River, or walking along the region’s nature trails, also affords guests multiple opportunities to see local wildlife, such as the thousands of gannets on Bonaventure Island, puffins, whales and hundreds of other species of animals.  

“Holidays should also be about relaxing, and the rich food scene, sandy beaches, local microbrewery beers and great entertainment found everywhere along the Saint Lawrence River will certainly help cruise passengers do just that,” says Trépanier. “Cruise brands can offer their guests an experience like no other and provide them with a travel itinerary that will tick every single one of their boxes.  

“The Saint Lawrence and the people of Québec extend their best bienvenue.”  

Read about the sustainability best practices implemented by cruise lines and Saint Lawrence ports on the Cruise the Saint Lawrence website

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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