Canada’s countryside has no equal. With rocky mountains, long sandy beaches, and an expanse of prairies and lush forests, holidays here are unlike any other. Canada has become a recent favourite amongst cruising enthusiasts as its ports have a diverse backdrop, and its cities vary from towering metropolises to quaint seaside harbours.
Usually Canadian cruises are grouped together with other American itineraries, allowing you to also explore its popular border-sharing neighbour. West coast cruises generally include an Alaskan port, while the east coast region of Canada commonly shares its cruise journey with New England. Whether you’re looking to shop alongside the rich and famous or just spot some of Canada’s fantastic wildlife, there’ll be a perfect Canada cruise itinerary waiting for you.
Victoria, Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island, not to be confused with the city of Vancouver, is an island off the west coast of British Columbia and home to the province’s capital city Victoria. Cruises porting in Victoria will be welcomed by thousands of blooming flowers planted all over the city, giving you a glimpse into the famous Victoria Botanical Gardens. As the capital of British Columbia, Victoria is also home to the province’s parliament buildings constructed in 1893. This grand building looks out towards the harbour and gives free tours daily.
The city of Victoria itself has a very laid back vibe – in the summertime you’re sure to see musicians playing on the streets and locals enjoying picnics outside Parliament and by the harbour. If you love Chinese food, Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in Canada and has endless options for places to grab a bite to eat. Princess Cruises is one liner that journeys to this charming locale with an itinerary starting from San Fransisco, making its way up to Alaska and then stopping in Victoria as it makes its way home.
The cosmopolitan city of Vancouver is a cruiser’s dream port. There is so much to explore in this vibrant city you might want to spend some extra days here and rejoin your ship at its next location. Vancouver has it all, with glorious beaches, stunning snow covered mountains and a fantastic city full of adventures to explore. You can walk across the 140-metre long suspension bridge that crosses the Capilano river or spend time cycling around Stanley Park – a 405-acre park almost completely surrounded by the ocean.
Any shopping enthusiasts can mingle with the stars as you walk down Robson Street and pop into the boutique and designer outlets. Vancouver has a large filming industry so don’t be surprised if you spot a famous figure amongst the crowds. If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie the restaurant scene in Vancouver is also beyond compare. You’ll find a whole range of spots to eat including Korean barbecue, Afghan cuisine, and Japanese sushi joints. This city is multicultural down to its roots, with locals having immigrated here from all over the world.
There are several Canada cruise deals to and from this world renowned city. Regent Seven Seas Cruisesstarts off in Vancouver and heads to Alaska, Victoria, Oregon and onto Miami. Similarly, Holland America Line is no stranger when it comes to top Canadian cruises. Their eight-day round trip leaves from Vancouver and goes north to Alaska’s Juneau and Skagway, before heading back to this city’s bright lights and glimmering shores.
Across the country on Canada’s eastern coastline are the Maritimes. These are composed of the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Royal Caribbean®’s Grandeur of the Seas® travels to both Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia on its journey up from New England. Saint John is home to the amazing Reversing Falls Rapids where twice a day the tides at the Bay of Fundy rise faster than the river can empty. The Bay of Fundy is also a hotspot for seeing some of the rarest whales in the world like the Right Whale, Finback Whale and Humpbacks.
Halifax in Nova Scotia has the second largest natural harbour and also boasts an extensive amount of walking trails, so you can experience this province’s natural beauty up close. Holland America Line’s MS Veendam will take you from Boston up towards the Maritimes, porting in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on its way. PEI is a charming Canadian island known for the fictional birth place of the famous Anne of Green Gables. Today’s Charlottetown is much different from Anne’s, with fantastic seafood restaurants and a vibrant urban centre with plenty of shops.
For a little taste of history and European influences, take a cruise to the French-speaking part of Canada, Quebec. Yet again Holland America Line has a monopoly on these top Canadian cruises and their ship the MS Maasdam starts in Montreal and travels to Quebec City on its way to Boston. Montreal and Quebec City are two of the oldest cities in Canada and here you’ll find cobblestone streets and European red brick buildings.
The Québécois are very proud of their culture, so as you’re touring the fantastic market places and tasting the popular quintessential Canadian cuisine poutine, make sure to test out your rusty high school French. For a little Canadian tour, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines heads from Liverpool to the east coast of Canada, stopping along the way at Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Montreal.
Visiting Canada will definitely be the highlight of your cruise itinerary this year, bringing everything to the table with unbeatable scenery and cosmopolitan vibrant cities.
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