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gemduncan

Help - St Lawrence Canada River Cruise?

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I’m struggling to find a river cruise (8 days or less) in June or July 2020 for St Lawrence River in Canada. I’m wanting to go to Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Fjords in Canada, and if possible the Bay of Fundy in St John.

 

Any recos for cruiselines that I should look into? So far the only cruise line that comes somewhat close to my ports is Holland America.

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https://www.cruisecanadanewengland.com/Calendar/Index

https://www.cruisecanadanewengland.com/Itineraries/Index

 

If these links are blocked because Cruise Critic considers the site a travel agent (in spite of the fact that the website tells you to contact your own travel agent), then you will have to google for yourself, looking for St. Lawrence River cruises  port calendar. This information site includes a month by month calendar of which ships are in which ports and it includes a list of 20 cruise line that sail the St. Lawrence.

 

Googling just St. Lawrence River cruises comes up with the names of Victory Cruise line, Pearl Seas  and St. Lawrence Cruises in the first few hits in addition to the cruise lines listed in the links above. This is only what turned up on the first page.  (Note, these are not recommendations for any of these cruise lines, these are just names that turn up in searches. )

 

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3 hours ago, gemduncan said:

I’m struggling to find a river cruise (8 days or less) in June or July 2020 for St Lawrence River in Canada. I’m wanting to go to Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Fjords in Canada, and if possible the Bay of Fundy in St John.

 

Any recos for cruiselines that I should look into? So far the only cruise line that comes somewhat close to my ports is Holland America.

I don't think that you are looking for a St. Lawrence river cruise, you are looking for an ocean cruise of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But even with that, you can't touch all these places in 8 days or less. Newfoundland by itself is an entire cruise, because there are many different things to see in different parts of the Island. Saint John, New Brunswick (note that it is never shortened to St. John, perhaps to distinguish it from St. John's Newfoundland) is not on the Gulf, as you note it is on the Bay of Fundy, but to get there from the Gulf you have to go all the way around Nova Scotia. There are fjords along the Gulf coast of Newfoundland in Gros Morne National Park.

 

Try googling "cruising gulf of St. Lawrence". There was one article that popped up but I think it is a TA site so I can't link to it.

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5 hours ago, gemduncan said:

I’m struggling to find a river cruise (8 days or less) in June or July 2020 for St Lawrence River in Canada. I’m wanting to go to Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Fjords in Canada, and if possible the Bay of Fundy in St John.

 

Any recos for cruiselines that I should look into? So far the only cruise line that comes somewhat close to my ports is Holland America.

 

The problem is that you're looking at the wrong time of the year. The majority of Canada/New England cruises that include the St. Lawrence are in the fall, timed to coincide with fall foliage season. HAL is the only mainstream North American line I know that does cruises throughout the summer - this year there's also Aida, but they are a German line I believe. You will get the odd cruise from other lines during the summer months, but the season doesn't get into full swing until September.

 

And a bit about geography: as gnome12 pointed out, all the ports you mentioned actually are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, although any cruise that goes into the Gulf is virtually guaranteed to include the St. Lawrence River ports (Saguenay, Quebec City and, if the ship is small enough, Montreal). And because of the distances involved, you're looking at a 1-way cruise, and if you want to include all the ports you list, probably 10 days at least.

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7 hours ago, Twickenham said:

 

The problem is that you're looking at the wrong time of the year. The majority of Canada/New England cruises that include the St. Lawrence are in the fall, timed to coincide with fall foliage season. HAL is the only mainstream North American line I know that does cruises throughout the summer - this year there's also Aida, but they are a German line I believe. You will get the odd cruise from other lines during the summer months, but the season doesn't get into full swing until September.

 

And a bit about geography: as gnome12 pointed out, all the ports you mentioned actually are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, although any cruise that goes into the Gulf is virtually guaranteed to include the St. Lawrence River ports (Saguenay, Quebec City and, if the ship is small enough, Montreal). And because of the distances involved, you're looking at a 1-way cruise, and if you want to include all the ports you list, probably 10 days at least.

 

Oh! This explains why I keep seeing cruises mainly in September and October. I was wondering why people would cruise during those months when it’s cold. 

 

Thank you you for the geography lesson. I really do appreciate it! My dad just mentioned he wanted to visit all these places and I had no clue how to get to all of them. My daughter will be starting 5th grade in mid-August so I can’t pull her out of school in September or October for a week or longer cruise. This is why I’m looking for summer time.

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11 hours ago, Twickenham said:

And a bit about geography: as gnome12 pointed out, all the ports you mentioned actually are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,...

Actually gnome12 corrected pointed out that Saint John, NB and the Bay of Fundy are NOT in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

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Princess offers a cruise on August 9th from Quebec city with an overnight there...to Saguenay, Quebec,Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Portland , Maine , Boston and ends in NYC.....not exactly what you are seeking but does the St Lawrence Riverway and a lovely itinerary.

Hope this helps.

eclue

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1 hour ago, eclue said:

Princess offers a cruise on August 9th from Quebec city with an overnight there...to Saguenay, Quebec,Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Portland , Maine , Boston and ends in NYC.....not exactly what you are seeking but does the St Lawrence Riverway and a lovely itinerary.

Hope this helps.

eclue

 

Thank you so much for the Princess suggestion. Unfortunately my daughter starts school on Aug 14.

 

Would it be better to do a short river cruise on the Gulf of St Lawrence and then go by land to visit Bay of Fundy area? If so, any suggestions regarding how to do both water and land tour in late July 2020?

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I think realistically if you need to do this vacation in June or July you'll have to do it independently - and if you want to see Newfoundland and the Bay of Fundy then flying between most of the places will be required to stay within the 8 days you mentioned. The HAL Zaandam only does 7 day trips, back & forth between Montreal and Boston, during these months - and most of the stops are not the ones you flagged in either of your initial posts. You could do a short cruise out of Montreal or Quebec to see Saguenay - but if it's just any Canadian fjords you want, then the coast of Newfoundland might suffice for that aspect.

 

Flying into Saint John, NB gets you New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy (plenty whalewatch type day trips, especially from St Andrews about an hour's drive from Saint John - a car rental would be the simplest way to get there as well as letting you drive to Hopewell Rocks or St Martins to do the 'walk on the seafloor/in seacaves' thing). Flying to St Johns NF would be enormusly quicker than a long drive and a ferry - but you could make a road trip out of it and manage to do it all in 8 days. Price to take a car over on the ferry, gas, rental costs etc. will perhaps totally offset price of flights so unless there are also things en route that you alsoi want to see, I'd keep it simple and fly. In Newfoundland you'll want a car again. I'd say that a couple of days in Saint John, day-tripping around, then at least three days in Newfoundland (not exactly great highways and lots of distance to cover, so more time needed to get between sites) should address all the requirements you state. That leaves another 2 or 3 days for flexibility - personally I'd add Quebec City, which is one of the most unique places on the continent and also somewhere you should be able to take a short cruise on St Lawrence from.

 

If you want to take any mainstream cruise, you're going to have to change your dates or the places you want to visit or both. If you can go during a fall school vacation, or just take your dad but not your daughter, you'll have a ton more options - but generally that brings in 8-10 day itineraries that go one-way between Quebec City or Montreal and Boston or NYC. The longer ones of these often do include Saint John, almost all include Nova Scotia, a day of scenic cruising around Saguenay is also common - but they also waste their time in US ports (not that it's not worth visiting New England, but you didn't mention any US ports at all on your hit list!) and Newfoundland is a much-less-often-visited area. Short of a northern Trans-Atlantic route - which would mean you have to start or end in Europe and probably take a much longer cruise - I can't imagine you getting close to hitting all your desired stops on one cruise, and even a TA might not check off all of them.

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The Canada/New England cruise on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, out of Baltimore, might partially fulfil your wishes.  It goes to Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John, Portland, and Halifax.  It is 9 nights, and there is a sailing on June 11, 2020.

I believe HAL has cruises from Boston which might go further, and NCL from NY might have some options.

As others have said, you would need more than 8 nights to get to all the places you are interested in.  You could look at an online travel agency and specify Canada/New England as a starting point.

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25 minutes ago, shipgeeks said:

The Canada/New England cruise on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, out of Baltimore, might partially fulfil your wishes.  It goes to Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John, Portland, and Halifax.  It is 9 nights, and there is a sailing on June 11, 2020.

I believe HAL has cruises from Boston which might go further, and NCL from NY might have some options.

As others have said, you would need more than 8 nights to get to all the places you are interested in.  You could look at an online travel agency and specify Canada/New England as a starting point.

I note that this cruise doesn't even touch the Gulf of St. Lawrence, let alone the St. Lawrence river. The only item that the OP mentioned that is on this itinerary is Saint John (note the spelling; it is never shortened).

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We did Pearl..I would not recommend them at all...they didn't even do the Bay of Fundy...the entire trip was poorly managed, but good staff. Cabins and ship pretty plain, cheap wine ...that is just the beginning of the problems we encountered.

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I had to go through this process over the last few months, also. I have a list of the 16 cruises on this route (NE Canada/US) from end to beg of summer vacation! martincath has some very good suggestions on how to create your itinerary if you want to get creative.

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4 hours ago, GirlsClub4 said:

I had to go through this process over the last few months, also. I have a list of the 16 cruises on this route (NE Canada/US) from end to beg of summer vacation! martincath has some very good suggestions on how to create your itinerary if you want to get creative.

 

Would you mind sharing your list that you compiled? My husband, who will be traveling with us, does not want to drive and would prefer a cruise under 8 days. 

 

Is there such a cruise that is only Canada (not Canada & New England) in summer months?

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I just did a screen shot of my notes - sorry if the bold/underline make it confusing. All the HAL cruises are the same itinerary. There MAY be a Princess cruise also, but for some reason it didn't make my list. Most cruises ONLY include one Canada port. The HAL cruises include the most Canada ports. They are all one way. It won't get you as far north as Newfoundland. The ports will be Nova Scotia and not quite New Brunswick. There will be a few days in the St. Lawrence River. It's considered a 7-day.

On another note, play around with the Rome2Rio site for ideas about including some of your wish list. I've put together some pretty cool trips with our family that way - consider a very quick plane trip or train ride. Even the bus system is great. We are a family of six and my husband now is totally sold on taking alternate transportation instead of driving for these adventures!

 

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I just looked up Princess because now I'm curious. Looks like there's a 10-day on August 7 that is one way and would include most of the same stops and a 13-day on July 25 that is one way, but starts out in FL. << This explains why it isn't on my list! 🙂

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1 hour ago, gemduncan said:

Is there such a cruise that is only Canada (not Canada & New England) in summer months?

Short answer - no, so you need to alter your requirements or timing or how you plan to travel.

 

Long answer - most of the (very few!) lines that sail the St Lawrence in summer focus on the wrong part of the river and connected waters for your wants; ships run around the Great Lakes, and from Chicago/Cleveland/Toronto down to Montreal or vice versa, stopping at places like Kingston (the Thousand Islands is a gorgeous part of the world). Most of these are still 10 days or more too. The parts further from Quebec downriver are passed by some CMT Vacancier cruises - which go out to the Magdalen Islands but don't stop in Newfie or NB, and due to the time taken to get to the Isles also have only a couple of stops each way. A 7 day cruise simply does not have time to get between all the places you want to see - even 14 day cruises are pretty much never going to enable you to see all your desired stops, so unless you compromise heavily on where in Canada you want to see, cruising simply is not the best option even in Fall when there are far more ships.

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3 hours ago, gemduncan said:

Is there such a cruise that is only Canada (not Canada & New England) in summer months?

Any cruise that is restricted to Canadian ports only would have to be on a Canadian flag ship.  Canada's Coasting Trade Act is almost identical to the US's PVSA with regards to cabotage restrictions on coastwise passenger vessels.

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There is a 12 Day Seabourn cruise, in September, that covers some of what you want.  It includes a stop in St Pierre which may be why Seabourn is able to do this almost total Canadian itinerary (but that's a guess on my part).  https://www.seabourn.com/en_US/find-a-cruise/N9N12A/6944.html

 

It's basically Newfoundland and Quebec, with the stop in St Pierre but it does cover the St Lawrence Seaway, and goes to some places not ordinarily visited, like the Magdalen Islands, Havre Saint Pierre or Trois Rivieres.  Of course, it's not the time of year nor the cruise length that you want, and it doesn't cover some of the places that you do want.  

 

I agree with martincath that you either need to adjust your timing/places to see or do a land trip to see what you want to see.  Any chance you can leave your child at home with a responsible adult and go in the fall?  It really depends on what's most important to you.  Cruising with a parent is easier on all of you than a land trip would be, IMO.  What about just you and your father going on the cruise?

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Yes, a call at the Miquelon Islands (little known French territory off Newfoundland) would allow a foreign flag cruise ship to do a nearly all Canadian itinerary.

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Thank you everyone for the feedback and advice.  Unfortunately, I cannot change my date (July 2020) and I cannot leave my daughter and husband behind.  We all want to go on this cruise together. I guess I will need to convince my dad to do the Holland cruise in July 2020 that only goes to a couple of the places he wants to visit.  If he wants to visit his entire list of places, then he will need to cruise on his own in the Fall.  We also do not want to drive because it will be too long a trip.

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Vacations by Rail.

Boston to Montreal.

Mostly HAL cruise line, then in Canada VIA railroad.

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