Canada at its best: cruising from the Ontario rivers to the Northwest Passage, the Arctic North to the Maritimes’ coast

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Canada offers beautifully diverse cruising opportunities. Along the Maritime Provinces northwards to Prince Edward Island and Labrador and the west coast from Vancouver and the historical cities of Montreal and Quebec on the St Lawrence Seaway and down to Toronto to explore The Great Lakes.

The Northwest passage stretching from Baffin Island adjacent to Greenland to the Pacific lets you explore the Canadian Arctic in the wake of the early explorers whilst many cruises now offer not only incredible wildlife excursions but rail trips deep into the interior.

With so many wonderful options on offer, it pays to talk to the Silver Travel Advisor team, who can share personal insight, cruise line availability and of course the best prices. Call us on 0800 412 5678 to discuss all you holiday needs.

Iconic Alaska

Sailing from Vancouver, the only cruise port that offers both one-way and roundtrip Alaska cruises, meaning you can choose to sail from Vancouver and fly back from Alaska. Consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to live, Vancouver is also a great place to take an excursion to see the formidable Orcas.

Cruising the majestic Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage lets you embrace your inner adventurer. Choose one of the luxury cruise lines where excursions are included, and you’ll find it’s possible to explore the roaring white-water rapids of the Yukon River or head out whale watching in Juneau. During time in Skagway, you can enjoy a scenic ride on the narrow-gauge train route used during the Klondike Gold Rush. Whilst in Ketchikan, why not take the breathtakingly beautiful excursion sailing to a lodge on Grant Island where you can witness some of the most picturesque scenery in North America.

For something extra special, why not add on the iconic Rocky Mountaineer train taking in the glorious Canadian Rockies. A more spectacular train ride you’ll be hard pushed to find.

Expedition Cruising

How about something different, and breathtakingly unique? The St. Lawrence River is not accessible to traditional ships in winter, however, Ponant offer an exclusive cruise on their luxury ice strengthened vessel which lifts the veil on unique great open spaces. Sailing in January 2025, the voyages offer an abundance of winter activities such as hiking or snowshoeing, dog sledding or ice fishing. You may be lucky enough to see typical animals like caribou and elk and even catch the Northern Lights.

Visit Quebec, North America’s only walled city, where you can visit the world’s largest winter carnival, with ice decorations, sculptures and lights form a magical spectacle with the famous Quebecois French Canadian hospitality.

Ponant offers the 12 night “The St. Lawrence River in the Heart of the Boreal Winter”. Sailing from St Piere Island on January 17th 2025, to Sydney, Miquelon, Magdelan Islands, Gaspé, Sept Isles, La Baie and Quebec.

Trans-Atlantic at Fall

If you believe that anticipation is half the pleasure, then there’s a cruise which crosses the Atlantic before arriving at St John’s the capital city of Newfoundland offering an old-world charm combined with colourful houses and a thriving cultural scene. In contrast Halifax is a vibrant city which represents modern Canada. Its harbour doesn’t freeze over and the pubs in the city have a craft beer culture offering many new drinks to sample.

Founded in 1634 and located on the north shore of the St Lawrence River, Trois-Rivières is your introduction to French Canadian culture and has a fascinating historic district with a wealth of 17 and 18thth century buildings. Although it is much smaller than Montreal and Quebec City’s old town, the old city is a must for any visitor. Then there’s Saguenay Fjord, home to four species of whale and surrounded by towering cliffs and dense forests that produce stunning carpets of autumn colour.

Fred. Olsen offers the 25 night “Canada in the Fall” cruise, sailing from Southampton on October 3rd 2024, visiting St John’s, Halifax, Corner Brook, Gaspé, Port Saguaney, Quebec, Trois-Rivières, Montreal, Southampton.

The Northwest Passage

The legendary and elusive route that has challenged explorers for centuries. Seeing the Canadian Arctic Wilderness normally the realm of Polar Bears, Narwals and Inuit Communities is one of life’s greatest experiences. It’s also a wild place where the elements rule and you will need to be prepared for the ice and wind to enforce changes on your itinerary. Starting in Iceland, you visit Greenland before crossing the Labrador Sea into The Davis Strait. Onboard lectures on topics such as the wildlife of Northern Labrador, Inuit culture and the history of Arctic exploration take place and why not take part in projects, helping photograph and track whales, or observe the clouds to help scientists study the climate? 

HX Hurtigruten Expeditions offers the 26 night ‘In the Wake of The Great Explorers Northwest Passage” cruise, sailing on 8th August 2024 from Reykjavik, Nuuk, Dundas Harbour, Smoking Hills, Nome, Vancouver.

Viking days

The 1,000-year-old Norse settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows (Meadows Cove) on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland is the first and only authenticated Viking site in the Americas. Add on to that the huge vertical cliffs of Archean rocks, reputedly the oldest stones in Canada, on Lady Franklin Island and you can see this cruise is all about stepping back in time. Sailing through the iceberg capital of the world to Disko Bay, the Ilulissat Icefjord is one of the cruise highlights and offers views of the largest glacier outside of Antarctica. The Inuit people are an integral part of this cruise with visits to communities on both sides of the international border. Indeed, Torngat Mountains National Park takes its name from “place of spirits.” is manned entirely by them.  You have a rare chance to follow in the footsteps of Inuit as they share their stories of spirits and traditions of their homeland.

Swan Hellenic offer the 15 night ‘Greenland to Nova Scotia – Exploring the Canadian Arctic.” cruise, sailing from Nuuq, Kangerlussuaq, Sissimut, Ilulissat, Iqaluit, Lady Franklin Island, Torngate Mountain, Hebron, L’Anse Aux Meadows, Halifax.

USA and Canada Combo

If you really want to combine Canada with the USA, then New York is the place to do it, followed by Newport Rhode Island with its incredible mansions of the wealthy that also boasts the largest collection of original colonial-period homes in the country. Boston is a pure delight for any visitor. Why not trace the past 200 years of American history by walking the ‘Freedom Trail”? Whilst once in Canada, you can explore the historic properties around Halifax harbour that now host a thriving neighbourhood of restaurants bars, galleries and shops.

In stark contrast to the “Big Apple”, Charlottetown Prince Edward Island is a city firmly dedicated to nostalgia with 11 National Historic Sights of Canada found here. Passing into the French-Canadian sphere of life the cruise takes you to the delights of Quebec, Trois-Rivières and Montreal which today is the world’s second largest French-speaking city, after Paris.

Seabourn offers the ”12-Day Canada & New England Fall Foliage” cruise, sailing August 7th2024, from New York, Newport, Boston, Halifax, Charlotte Town, Saguenay, Quebec, Montreal.

Puffins of Baffin

Taking an expedition cruise along the entire length of Baffin Island’s east shore with its barren rocks rising from the depths of the ocean and the opportunity to be surrounded by multiple species of wildlife in ultra luxury has got to be the way to explore the eastern Canadian Arctic. This cruise starts in Greenland and calls at the rarely visited UpaNavik where you can kayak amongst the island villages or take a zodiac ride up to the top of the Icefiord. On Baffin Island, at the mouth of the famous Northwest Passage lies the small Inuit settlement of Pond Inlet surrounded by spectacular snow-capped mountains, fjords and glaciers where you can search for puffins or Musk Oxen. The wildlife is abundant here with Isabella Bay being Canada’s first National Marine Wildlife Area and has become an important region for Bowhead Whales, with over 100 individuals recorded at one time.

Scenic offers the 18 Day “The Land That Never Melts” cruise sailing September 17th 2024, from Kangerlussuaq, Sismiut, Ilulissat, Upanavik, Pond inlet, Isabella Bay, Battle Harbour, Louiseberg, Halifax.

Next steps

These are just some of the incredible holidays on offer to Canada, a perennial favourite with British holidaymakers. Here at Silver Travel Advisor, we can book all your holiday needs. Call us on 0800 412 5678 to speak to one of our travel experts.


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Steve Newman

Eco Adventure Cruising writer & photographer

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