May 1, 2012
Saguenay: Land of the Giants
Québec’s Saguenay/Lac Saint-Jean region is renowned for its grandiose natural backdrop, most notably the majesty of the Saguenay Fjord and immensity of Lac Saint-Jean. The result of glacial action during the last Ice Age, the impressive cliffs which tower high above the Saguenay River are awe-inspiring. Indeed, it is thought that these cliffs, which now rise some 300 metres above the water, once stood as high as the Himalayas! The only navigable fjord in North America, the Saguenay Fjord—increasingly popular with cruise line operators—extends over a distance of 105 kilometres, averages 1600 metres in width and boasts depths of up to 3200 metres.
The majesty and immensity of Lac Saint-Jean lends the impression of an inland sea. Stretching over an expanse of 1100 km2, this great lake is about double the size of the Island of Montréal and ever popular with excursionists.
Indeed, ever since the inception of new cruise ship port infrastructure in 2008, the number of cruise ships calling in at Saguenay has continued to rise. In 2012, five new companies will be docking at Agesilas Lepage Quay at La Baie. Passengers will delight in the new cruise sector facilities and amenities which include the development of a portside village replete with shops.
More good news! Both the Balmoral operated by Fred Olsen Cruise Line and Artania operated by Phoenix Reisen will be spending more than one day in port. Essentially concentrated in the period from mid-September to late October, the 2012 season at our Saguenay port of call is set to be rather intense with 25 ships scheduled to visit during this relatively short space in time. The season is, however, gradually increasing in length and, in 2012, one ship is expected to call into port in the month of May. Talks are also currently ongoing with a cruise line operator to welcome one particular ship on several different occasions throughout the summer.
When in port at Saguenay, cruiseshippers will revel in the broad selection of excursions on offer. These include city tours, trips to Saguenay Park, and Aventures d’un Flo, an entertainment pageant relating the history of the Kingdom of Saguenay/Lac-Saint-Jean from 1603 to the present day. One thing is for certain: local organizers consistently do everything in their power to ensure an unforgettable onshore experience for passengers one and all.
For cruiseshippers interested in setting off and exploring the region of their own, there is the new tourist bus, an initiative introduced to respond to visitor ground transport needs. Indeed, the all new Saguenay tourist bus transports visitors to sites and attractions across the city. Two interpretive routes operate in a continuous loop, enabling visitors to discover the many treasures of Chicoutimi and La Baie. Visitors can travel about at leisure from one attraction to the next based on individual interests.
For those with a passion for nature, there is the marine mammal observation excursion which features close-up encounters with some of the most magnificent creatures on earth, in this case whales! One enchanting, three-hour tour transports cruiseshippers to the heart of the Saguenay/Saint Lawrence Marine Park. For the more adventurous at heart, we recommend opting for an excursion aboard a zodiac. Breathtaking experience guaranteed!
The possibilities are varied and abundant in this region where the grandiose scenery leaves you with the impression of having been transported to a real-life land of the giants! Come experience the wonder for yourself!