June 3, 2014
Excursion favourites in ports of call across Québec
Destination Canada/New England, the Québec component in particular, each year conquers the hearts of growing numbers of cruiseshippers. Each of our nine, uniquely authentic Saint Lawrence ports of call features a diversity of countryscapes and activities of ever increasing popularity with cruise ship passengers. Whatever the nature of individual passenger profiles, an extensive range of activities are available in ports of call across the region. To whet your appetite, we present a hand-picked selection of favourites.
Did you know that it was possible to appreciate the scenic beauty of the Saint Maurice River valley from the air? A 5-hour package has been developed in cooperation with Hôtel Sacacomie located at Saint-Alexis-des-Monts. The excursion includes ground transfer (1.25 hours) to Hôtel Sacacomie, an initial 30-minute airborne tour by float plane, a 3-course meal at this luxury hotel establishment, and a second 30-minute tour by air before returning to the ship. The package may be booked for a minimum of two passengers.
Here, the immensity of the Manic 2 hydroelectric dam and complex is certain to impress. This masterpiece of hydroelectric engineering is accessible to cruise ship passengers as part of a 3 hour excursion. Manic 2 is a short, 30-minute drive from Baie-Comeau. For those with a decided penchant for adventure, there is nothing quite like a tour of Daniel Johnson Dam, part of the Manic 5 complex. Architecturally unique, this marvel of Québec engineering is located some 200 kilometres from Baie-Comeau and is better reached by air. The oversized dimensions of each complex impresses time and again!
Sept-Îles offers a singular insight into two distinct but united cultures. As the Innu community makes up a sizeable share of the local population, this stopover is ideal for learning more about the culture and traditions of local First Nations peoples. Just a few kilometres from the Port of Sept-Îles, on the banks of the Moisie River, lies an Innu camp accessible via school bus. On site, live demonstrations introduce visitors to Innu life, with traditional song and dance providing added sources of inspiration and meditation. Total duration of this excursion: 3 hours.
Let the immensity of the Saguenay Fjord unfold before your eyes as you gaze out the window of a float plane or helicopter. Accommodating up to 8 passengers, the float plane enables visitors to overfly the region, appreciate the vastness of the fjord and view the route travelled by the ship. Helicopter rides can accommodate up to 6 passengers keen on 10- or 20-minute flights featuring the best of breathtaking Saguenay scenery. A memorable experience second to none!
The adventurous at heart will want to sign up for a day-long wildlife excursion to Anticosti Island. Only a short, 20-minute flight from Havre Saint-Pierre, Anticosti Island is actually home to more deer than humans! Formerly the preserve of French chocolatier Henri Menier, the island is fantastic for observing deer -- which number about 120 000 -- and some 200 species of birds. Anticosti’s fabulous countryscapes comprise a mix of deep canyons and impressive waterfalls. A visit to the island will leave you with indelible memories aplenty.
One excellent way to appreciate the natural beauty of the region is to hop aboard the all new train, dubbed the Amiral, which hugs the Gaspesian coastline for 100 kilometres between Gaspé and Percé. Rugged cliffs and majestic headlands dazzle and pass in succession as you sit back in the comfort of your seat. This new train accommodates 225 passengers in three cars.
Food aficionados one and all will want to indulge in a gourmet spree in the Magdalen Islands. Breathe in the salty air and revel in the singular flavours of regional agricultural produce. Whether yours is a penchant for seafood such as smoked herring, cheese from Fromagerie Pied de-Vent or taste-testing beer from À l’abri de la tempête microbrewery, your taste buds are in for a treat. This coach excursion lasts about 3.5 hours.
For a more active outing in Québec’s capital region, indulge yourself in 25-kilometre cycling excursion. In a single afternoon, you will have ample time to discover the area in and around Montmorency Falls in the company of a professional guide. En route, you will visit magnificent gardens and admire the rolling farmland of offshore Île d’Orléans. No need to be a professional cyclist to take part in this excursion. Decent physical shape, a little cycling experience and ample motivation are all you need for a magical afternoon you will long remember.
Savour the flavours of Montréal with your choice of walking or city bus tours of various city neighbourhoods. As you make your way through the narrow streets, you will be invited to step inside and sample local culinary creations. En route, your professional guide will provide a wealth of information on the city's history and Montréalers' love affair with all things food, while introducing you to the many influences which shape the city’s culinary scene. A visit to one of Montréal’s open air public markets will delight gourmets one and all.
The Saint Lawrence ports of call... each a world of discovery unto its own!