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Canada’s capital, stunning Ottawa, is one of the nation’s most prosperous and educated cities, a showcase of fine architecture, beautiful outdoor spaces, and a cultural hub that boasts seven national museums and a plethora of shops, restaurants, universities, theaters, and so much more. Located at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau, and Rideau rivers, its setting is as gracious as its welcoming, easygoing vibe. The city invites outdoor exploration with its lovely parks and gardens, including the central Rideau Canal, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique design and cultural significance. Along the way to Ottawa, you’ll visit the wildlife-rich Parc Omega and enjoy a delicious taste of Canada when you lunch at Fairmont Le Château Montebello for a true Quebecois feast.
Depart home for Boston, Massachusetts
Fly to Boston, New England’s sophisticated center of culture. Or depart earlier for a fascinating pre-trip extension in Boston, featuring the rich fishing traditions and history of Cape Ann. Upon arrival, 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. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner.
Uncover layers of history in Boston
Birthplace of its nation, Boston is steeped in American history. You’ll head out to see its major sites — Back Bay with the lovely Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library; the Public Garden 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 Charles River to Cambridge for a stroll through Harvard Yard. Your afternoon is free to explore on your own.
Visit historic Lexington and Concord and embark the Ocean Explorer
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.
This afternoon, you embark the Ocean Explorer. There’ll be time to settle in and perhaps have a drink on deck. As you cruise out of Boston Harbor, you’ll pass the Harbor Islands, preserved nature retreats where many city dwellers go to unplug. In the dining room, savor a special Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
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 Astor’s to Martha Stewart — the town 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 High Seas 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.
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.
Visit historic Halifax and 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. Then, enjoy a lobster demonstration with a local fisherman and 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.
This afternoon, enjoy lunch and another fascinating lecture on board.
Delve into the Scottish 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 the 18th century. 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.
You'll be enthralled during an onboard lecture today. Then, get into the rhythm during an evening of local entertainment.
Witness Charlottetown’s rustic charms
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.
Stimulate your mind and your curiosity during an onboard lecture this afternoon. This evening, enjoy another memorable meal prepared by your chef.
Discover culture and heritage 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. 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. 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. Another onboard lecture today uncovers more of the region’s fascinating history and rich culture.
Encounter the coastal beauty of Gaspé and Percé Rock
You’ll arrive in Gaspé around breakfast time, where you have time to explore its charming streets. 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.
As you sail on to your next destination after lunch on board, gain more insight during a lecture from one of our onboard experts.
Cruise the St. Lawrence and stop in Baie-Comeau
As we cruise, we’ll make a stop in Baie-Comeau, where our tour will give you an overview of its history, the grand nature of its landscape, and the living experience of lumberjacks! Your tour begins with a photo stop at the magnificent Havre St. Pancrace lookout (a fjord 600 meters high!) before continuing to a typical lumberjack village known as Village Forestier d’Antan. Your discoveries continue with a tour of Baie-Comeau’s heritage area and its beautiful natural setting. Starting with Place La Salle, discover this quaint commercial artery, host to site of historical and social interest for the past 78 years. In this cultural hub, you’ll find souvenir stores, art galleries, fine restaurants, and a microbrewery. Admire the magnificent scenery and Champlain Street where the former Premier of Canada, Brian Mulroney, spent his childhood.
Later, an onboard lecture provides further insight to the whales of the Tadoussac area and marine conservation of the Saint Lawrence.
Uncover 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 Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, enjoy sweeping views of the Saint 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 Saint Lawrence — for a photo stop.
This afternoon is free to return to sites that interest you for further exploration. This evening, join your fellow travelers for an informative lecture on board.
Disembark the Ocean Explorer and experience the magic of Montréal
Bid farewell to your ship this morning in Montréal, then set out to explore this remarkable city situated on an island in the Saint 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 Montréal’s stunning architecture at the magnificent neo-Gothic Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal, one of the crown jewels in Québec's rich religious heritage. Then, a scenic drive takes you from Montréal’s downtown district to the top of Mont Royal for commanding views of the city and the Saint Lawrence River. Afterward, visit Parc Jean-Drapeau, an artificial island that hosted Expo 67 World Fair and is today home of Montréal’s Grand Prix Formula One racetrack.You’ll have a special lunch at Montréal’s sugar shack, where the dishes typically feature one of Canada’s biggest exports: maple syrup. After, check into your hotel. The balance of the day is free for you to relax, explore, and dine as you wish.
Explore Montréal as you please
Enjoy the morning and early afternoon at leisure, exploring Montréal’s rich and engaging culture on your own, or take an optional downtown walking tour. 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 Montréal. For lunch, you might sample a decadent plate of Québécois poutine, French fries doused with pork gravy and cheese curds.
Tonight, enjoy a festive Farewell Dinner at your hotel to celebrate the discoveries you’ve made during your adventure.
Transfer to the Montréal airport for your flight home, or continue on with our optional post-trip extension to Ottawa, Canada’s sophisticated capital.
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.