Eastern Canada and New England are fascinating destinations in terms of North America’s past. From waterways and fortresses of strategic maritime importance for the French and British crowns, to colonial towns that were the stomping grounds of the Founding Fathers, there’s much to enthrall an armchair historian. Yet for those who aren’t history buffs, there’s so much more. National parks, picturesque coastal towns, fresh seafood, Bohemian neighborhoods and francophone culture are just a few of the aspects to delight you during a Seven-Day Canada and New England cruise on Holland American Line.
Depart from Boston, Massachusetts, a city where the neighborhoods are as unique as a fingerprint and the American Revolution is a cherished heirloom among locals. Boston also prides itself on its beautiful waterfront, hearty cuisine and green space, as noted in The Emerald Necklace — the 1,100-acre chain of nine linked parks, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Sail along the coast to Bar Harbor, Maine, a classic New England town that’ll charm you with its boutiques and restaurants. Eating lobster in New England is as much a revelation as enjoying a fresh baguette in Paris, unless of course you’re a vegetarian, then you should try the vegan clam chowder at Finback Alehouse. Oh, and save room for the town’s homemade ice cream, where each scoop is an experience. Beyond the town is the pristine Acadia National Park, where you’ll find forests, granite cliffs, bike trails and Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States.
Upon your arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the provincial capital, you’ll appreciate how the ocean can inspire people. Visit nautical-themed museums, fortresses along the harbor or Peggy’s Cove, where a picturesque lighthouse on a stone outcropping stands as a testament from a time before radar. Walk through the 269-year-old town’s neighborhoods, with architecture financed by merchants and traders. Appreciate local jewels such as Lunenburg’s Old Town district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And when hunger arrives, enjoy a meal at one of the city’s culinary hot spots for savory seafood.
Sailing around Cape Breton Island, you’ll arrive at Sydney, Nova Scotia — a city with local character on a land mass of natural wonders. Some of the houses and churches date back to the 1700s and 1800s. The restaurants provide live music (of the fiddle and sea shanties variety), and fresh seafood. For those hankering for a scenic hike, look no further than Cape Breton Highlands National Park — for panoramic sights of rolling hills, the sea and sky.
From Nova Scotia, you’ll sail to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province. Do you like Victorian houses? Do you like historical birthplaces? Do you like plucky literary protagonists? Not only does Charlottetown have quaint Victorian homes, but also it has the house and farm that inspired the beloved Anne of Green Gables series, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Visit the 1800s home that inspired the novels, restored to its original state. As for birthplaces, Charlottetown is the location of the 1864 conference that led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada — the birthplace of Confederation, where the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick became one Federation.
After cruising along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, you’ll enter Québec City, Québec. This French-speaking city existed before Jamestown and the arrival of the Pilgrims. In fact, its historic district is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with still-functioning religious orders and hospitals dating back to the 17th century; there’s definitely an Old European vibe pulsing throughout the town. Though 95 percent of the city’s residents speak French as their first language, you can still navigate through the city with its bilingual signs and local population. Québec City is within proximity of natural beauty as well. You can bike to the majestic Montmorency Falls, to watch roaring waves drop 270 feet into the St. Lawrence River. Or experience one of Canada’s First Nation communities among the Huron-Wendake people. Visit the Onhoüa Cheteke Huron site to experience the lifestyle, art and culture of these indigenous Canadians.
With the final leg of the cruise down the St. Lawrence River, you’ll arrive in Montreal, Québec. In addition to its Old-World French influences, Montreal is a cosmopolitan city with a large immigrant population. This multiculturalism is manifested in the city’s art museums, international film and music festivals, and restaurants. While there, you must try an authentic Canadian poutine: cheese curds and gravy smothered on French fries.
One masterpiece worth seeing while in town is the Notre-Dame Basilica, built between 1824 and 1829, its architecture inspired by the Gothic Revival period. With its paintings, sculptures and stained-glass windows, the Basilica’s beauty is both solemn and awesome, creating memories to cherish well after your trip’s conclusion.
Are you captivated by the regional history, beauty and flavors that New England and Canada has to offer? Give one of our travel agents a call to learn more. Their years of experience with industry-leading cruise lines, such as Holland America Line, provide you with exclusive perks and amenities for your adventure in the coastal quaintness of Yankeeland and the Great White North.