Autumn in New England & Canada: A Cultural and Historical Expedition - 2021

Montreal • 10-night expedition cruise with Québec , Gaspé/Percé, Îles de la Madeleine, Charlottetown, Pictou, Halifax, Lunenburg, Bar Harbor • Boston
  • $533
  • 15
  • 16
15 DAYS FROM $8,248
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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Pre-Trip)

3 DAYS FROM $1,249

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Post-Trip)

3 DAYS FROM $1,299

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Join the inaugural season of the Ocean Explorer and experience autumn in North America, just as the coastal forests of eastern Canada and New England burst with spectacular reds, yellows, and oranges. It is a splendid show of nature like no other. And you can witness the splendor in luxury during this thrilling expedition aboard Vantage's Deluxe, 5-star Ocean Explorer — a journey rich in natural beauty, to be sure, but also cultural and historic treasures.

You’ll trace the magnificent St. Lawrence River from French-flavored Montreal to old-world Québec City. In the renowned Canadian Maritimes, stop by Prince Edward Island’s Green Gables homestead and Nova Scotia’s iconic Peggy’s Cove. Explore the traditional fishing villages of the Magdalen Islands, where you’ll sample smoked herring at a smokehouse and stop by the studio of an artist who shapes beach sand into things of beauty. Get a taste of the British colony of Lunenburg, preserved in its original state . . . and a taste of the region’s lobster during special meals! And delve into the revolutionary past of Boston, Lexington, and Concord.

The majesty of the natural world is your stage for this magnificent expedition — there’s a new and astonishing surprise at every turn. Enormous whales and cavorting dolphins swimming through the waters of the St. Lawrence River as you cruise. The breathtaking monolithic Percé Rock lying offshore from its namesake diminutive village. Enormous bird colonies on Bonaventure Island. Red sandstone cliffs facing the beaches of Magdalen Islands and the pristine wilderness of Maine’s Acadia National Park.

And always, the luxurious amenities of the Ocean Explorer bring unrivaled comfort to your journey. Relax by the infinity pool. Indulge in a spa treatment. Watch the beauty unfold from the Observation Lounge or from the sun deck. All while enjoying the finest meals at sea and relying on our onboard Concierge to give your unforgettable expedition a more personal touch.

Montreal to Boston

Pre-Trip Extension

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Pre-Trip)

FROM: $1249 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $416 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Depart home for Montreal, Québec, Canada

Fly to Montreal, the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. Or depart earlier for a fascinating pre-trip extension to Ottawa, Canada’s sophisticated capital. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner. 

Included Meals:


DAY 2:

Experience the magic of Montreal

Set out to explore this remarkable city, situated on an island in the St. Lawrence River. This UNESCO City of Design (one of only a few in the world), is home to more than 50 national historic sites, and it boasts a lively downtown arts and cultural scene. View many of its gems, including historic Old Montreal’s stunning architecture, and the magnificent neo-Gothic Notre Dame Basilica, one of the crown jewels in Québec's rich religious heritage. Then, a scenic drive takes you from Montreal’s downtown district to the top of Mont Royal for commanding views of the city and the St. Lawrence River. Afterwards, visit Parc Jean-Drapeau, an artificial island that hosted Expo 67 World’s Fair and is today home of Montreal’s Grand Prix Formula One race track. This afternoon, you'll have time to explore this magnificent city on your own.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Explore Montreal as you please and embark the Ocean Explorer

Enjoy the morning and early afternoon at leisure, exploring Montreal’s rich and engaging culture on your own. Perhaps you’ll visit the Museum of Contemporary Arts in the Place des Arts. Browse the shops in the historic Bonsecours Market. Or enjoy a relaxing stroll along the riverfront of Vieux Montreal. For lunch, you might sample a decadent plate of Québécois poutine, French fries doused with pork gravy and cheese curds.

This afternoon, you embark the Ocean Explorer. There’ll be time to settle in and perhaps have a drink on deck and give the breathtaking cityscape one final glimpse before you depart on your expedition. In the dining room, savor a special Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4:

Uncovering Québec City’s French heritage

Often called the most French city outside of France, Québec City is considered a loyal sentry that guards the province’s unique culture. You’ll set out today to discover its Upper and Lower Towns. From the Dufferin Terrace, in the shadow of the palatial Château Frontenac, enjoy sweeping views of the St. Lawrence and the surrounding Laurentian Mountains. You’ll also admire the 17th- and 18th-century stone architecture of the Place Royale in the Old Town, home to the oldest Catholic church in North America. See the Plains of Abraham, where the French surrendered to the British in 1759, and gaze upon more impressive vistas from Cap Diamant. Continue via the shop-lined Grande-Allée to Montmorency Falls, a roaring and scenic cascade that feeds the St. Lawrence, for a photo stop.

This afternoon is free to return to sites that interest you for further exploration. Cultural Discovery: Attend a lecture on board, learning about the rich history and culture of Québec Province.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

Cruising the St. Lawrence and looking for whales

Between May and October, a dozen species of cetaceans — whales and dolphins — make their way up the St. Lawrence Seaway, one of the world’s most exciting gathering of whales! Many of them come to feed on krill at Tadoussac, where the cold fresh water of the Saguenay and warmer, salty water of the St. Lawrence converge. Unforgettable Moment & Cultural Discovery: As we cruise down the ever-widening river, search for blue whales and humpbacks. We’ve included binoculars in your cabin so you can enjoy up-close views of these incredible creatures!

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

The magnificent coastal beauty of Gaspé and Percé Rock

Early this morning, you’ll round the Gaspé Peninsula as the St. Lawrence River opens up to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Arrive in Gaspé around breakfast time, where you have time to explore its charming streets. Unforgettable Moment: Venture out on a breathtakingly scenic coastal drive and small boat excursion to view the remarkable Rocher Percé, or Percé Rock, part of a UNESCO Global Geopark. This sheer hulk of limestone rock lies just off the shore of its namesake fishing village. One of the most astonishing natural sites in Québec, its massive size (1,421 feet long, 300 feet wide, and up to 289 feet tall) calls to mind a supertanker run aground. You’ll also cruise around Bonaventure Island, where more than 200 bird species reside, including puffins, razorbills, and one of the largest colonies of northern gannets in the world. There’ll also be time to explore the former fishing village of Percé, graced with art galleries and shops with regional crafts.

Cultural Discovery: As you sail on to your next destination after lunch on board, gain more insight during a lecture from one of our onboard experts.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Culture, heritage, and beauty in the Magdalen Islands

Arrive this morning in the Magdalen Islands, les Îles de la Madeleine, a pristine archipelago of red cliffs and dunes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Learn about their culture and heritage, passing through Havre aux Maisons, Cap aux Meules, and other charming villages to view traditional, brightly colored houses and barns of French, Acadian, and New England influence. Cultural Discovery: Stop by the Fumoir d’Antan, where you witness the enduring tradition of smoking herring. You can even have a sample if you wish. At the Dune du Sud, walk a scenic beach overlooked by dramatic red sandstone cliffs. Conclude your rewarding tour in La Grave, a picturesque fishing and yachting harbor. This haven for artists and craftspeople is dripping with maritime flavor. Cultural Discovery: You’ll stop by the Atelier Côtier, where local sand from the beaches is transformed into remarkable sculptures.

After lunch, take advantage of your shipboard amenities, perhaps relaxing by the infinity pool or enjoying a cocktail on deck. Cultural Discovery: Another onboard lecture today uncovers more of the region’s fascinating history and rich culture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Rustic charms of Charlottetown, capital of Prince Edward Island province

Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada's tiniest and most charming province, is famous for its green fields, red earth, and white-sand beaches. In historic Charlottetown, you’ll follow a trail through the same historic streets the delegates walked when they gathered in 1864 for the conference that led to the Confederation of Canada. Then, drive along the North Shore to the lovely coastal village of North Rustico. Continue to Prince Edward Island National Park, home to Cavendish Bay and the farmstead that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables. In Rustico Harbor, learn about the PEI fishery and savor a bountiful lobster lunch.

Cultural Discovery: Stimulate your mind and your curiosity during an onboard lecture this afternoon. This evening, enjoy another memorable meal prepared by your chef.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Delve into the past of Pictou, Nova Scotia

This morning, your small ship moors in the tiny village of Pictou, an old industry town founded by Scottish immigrants in 1773. A visit to the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry reveals the area’s rich past. Do some hands-on learning at the museum’s interactive exhibits in the rigging shop and carpentry shop. Stop by the Hector Heritage Quay Interpretive Center to view a replica of the Hector ship, which brought 189 Scottish immigrants to Pictou in 1773. After, there’ll be free time to explore on your own; the Hector is just a three-minute walk from our mooring.

Cultural Discoveries: You'll be enthralled during an onboard lecture today. Then, get into the rhythm during an evening of local entertainment.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Visit historic Halifax and enjoy lunch in the iconic Peggy’s Cove

Our illuminating tour of Halifax begins with a visit to Peggy’s Cove, the beloved fishing village on St. Margaret’s Bay. Admire its pretty lighthouse set upon the rocky coast. Cultural Discovery: Then, enjoy a lobster demonstration with a local fisherman.

After time to browse the shops and galleries, savor a lobster roll for lunch with lovely views of the cove. Later, visit the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where you’ll hear the compelling tale of how 121 of the RMS Titanic victims were recovered and buried here. Return to Halifax to tour its picturesque Citadel, a star-shaped fortress constructed in 1856 to defend the city from invading forces. The unique building's current residents are the 87th Highlander Regiment, which regularly performs reenactments inside the square. We’ll also pay a visit to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Outside, admire the fine Italianate façade; inside, peruse a rich collection of regional, national, and international art. You'll have the afternoon free to explore the town’s colorful homes, eclectic waterfront district, and iconic lighthouse.

Cultural Discoveries: This afternoon, enjoy another fascinating lecture on board.

Please note: Due to sailing schedule, travelers on the northbound Boston-Montreal departure will not visit the Halifax Citadel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Explore the preserved British colony of Lunenburg

A historic gem of Nova Scotia, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg’s historic district boasts the layout and appearance of its original British colonial settlement. Today’s excursion begins in Mahone Bay, a charming waterfront town of shops and galleries known for the iconic Three Churches, whose images reflect in the bay. Then, return to Lunenburg for a walking tour, beginning with a stroll on the campus of Lunenburg Academy. In the Old Town, soak in its unique architectural character; 40 buildings here are on Canada’s Register of Historic Places, including St. John’s Anglican Church, a stunning example of Carpenter Gothic. Then, learn about the history of the cod industry at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

Cultural Discovery: As you enter U.S. waters, our onboard lecturer continues to astonish you and our chefs will continue to amaze you with their culinary expertise.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Behold the breathtaking beauty of Acadia National Park

Call on Bar Harbor this morning, situated on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. Long a seaside haven for the elite — from the Astors to Martha Stewart — it is more widely known as the gateway to the stunning Acadia National Park. After a drive past Bar Harbor’s Victorian mansions, you’ll follow Acadia’s 27-mile park loop, one of the most scenic routes in the eastern United States. Spectacular coastal, mountain, and forest views appear at every turn. As you pass stunning sights like Sand Beach, Otter Cliffs, and the Highseas Estate mansion, built in 1912, keep watch for some of the park’s 50 species of mammals, including moose and white-tailed deer. Pause to admire Jordan Pond and the pair of distant rocky summits known as “The Bubbles.” This land was donated to the parks system by John D. Rockefeller and is still graced by romantic stone-cut bridges and lovely carriage trails built by his family. If weather permits, you’ll marvel at sweeping views from atop Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard.

Cultural Discovery: After your Acadia explorations, make more discoveries during an onboard lecture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 13:

Disembark the Ocean Explorer and discover Boston

Birthplace of a nation, Boston is steeped in American history. You’ll bid your ship farewell this morning and head out to see its major sites — Back Bay with its lovely Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library; the Public Gardens and Boston Common; and the historic brick-lined lanes of Beacon Hill. After time to browse the Italian North End and its renowned Old North Church from where Paul Revere hung the tell-tale lanterns, cross the Charles River to Cambridge for a stroll through Harvard Yard. At tour’s end, check into your hotel at the heart of the Back Bay neighborhood and enjoy the city at your leisure, perhaps browsing the many shops along Newbury Street.

Included Meals:


DAY 14:

Visit historic Lexington and Concord

Follow the trail of the nation’s first patriots during a morning tour to Lexington and Concord and learn how these former farming communities played a pivotal role in the early days of the American Revolution. Visit Lexington Green, where Paul Revere made his midnight ride to warn the minutemen that the British were coming and where the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired. Stop at the Old North Bridge, and then get a glimpse of the region’s literary past when you see the homes of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Your afternoon back in Boston is free to make some final discoveries.

Tonight, enjoy a festive Farewell Dinner at your hotel to celebrate your expedition.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 15:

Return home

Transfer to Logan International Airport today for your flight home. Or stay on in Boston to explore more and experience the rich fishing traditions and history of Cape Ann on a fascinating post-trip extension.

Included Meals:


Post-Trip Extension

Cape Ann, Salem, & Boston, MA (Post-Trip)

FROM: $1299 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $433 PER DAY

Please note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew.

Important: Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.

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Autumn in New England & Canada: A Cultural and Historical Expedition - 2021

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