ALMOST FRENCH

Crystal Serenity docked in Quebec with the city's distinctive skyline in the background.
Crystal Serenity in Quebec with the city’s distinctive skyline in the background.

WITH the arrival of warmer weather in the northern hemisphere, a cruise along North America’s New England coastline and on into Canada’s St Lawrence waterway offers a distinct French flavour.

In Canadian cities such as Montreal (known as the Paris of the North) and Quebec City – French is the official language – as well as in smaller ports with distinctive French names such as Iles de la Madeleine and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, there is time to revel in a Francophile culture.

As australiancruisingnews.com has found, it is not just small ships that cruise these scenic waterways  as many major lines have recently added the St Lawrence River to their expanding itineraries, on a  route collectively known as the Canada-New England corridor.

Many sailings are from New York/Boston ports to Quebec City and Montreal, taking in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Montreal is often a turn-around port for cruises that sail into the St Lawrence River with a 46% increase in passenger numbers last year. Holland America Line’s Maasdam (hollandamerica.com) is home ported there from now until  October, with the city’s large international airport an arrival and departure point for many cruise passengers, cruises.alamontreal.com

Quebec City is even busier with many international cruise ship passengers using that port as a gateway to explore Canada by land,, portquebec.ca

Prince Edward Island, seen as the mid-point of many regional voyages, is Canada’s smallest province and was recently named as one of the top islands on Travel+Leisure’s World Best list. Holland America’s Maasdam, Veendam, and Eurodam are regulars to Prince Edward Island’s port of  Charlottetown (historiccharlottetownseaport.comas are Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas (royalcaribbean.com.au), and Seabourn Sojourn (seabourn.com.auand Silver Whisper (silversea.com).

Scenic Nova Scotia’s port of Halifax had two visits last year by Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 (cunardline.com.au), as well as other international cruise lines, cruisehalifax.ca

As a bonus every ship cruising these rich marine waters is likely to serve luscious local lobster as a menu highlight in the on board restaurants.

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