Where will I go on a Canada cruise?
Cruises that visit or depart from Canada are offered on both the east and west coasts of Canada. Cruises on the east coast of Canada are referred to as Canada and New England cruises and are primarily offered from April through October. These sailings typically range from four to 24 nights and depart from ports like Baltimore, Boston, Montreal, New York City and Quebec. Itineraries typically include quaint towns in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. You may also visit Canadian cities like Halifax, Charlottetown or Saint John. Cruises on the Pacific coast are considered a Canada cruise if they depart from Vancouver or visit Victoria. These sailings primarily cruise to Alaska and Hawaii and vary greatly in length. Repositioning cruises to Mexico, Tahiti and the Panama Canal are also offered.
When is the best time to take a Canada cruise?
Canada’s peak cruise season is from April through October when the weather is more pleasant, although temperatures in certain ports can still fall into the 40’s at night. If you’re interested in seeing the fall foliage, which is considered a main attraction in the fall, September and October are the best months to go.
Will I need a passport or visa?
Passports are required for all international visitors. However, U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port and travel to destinations in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda are able to re-enter the U.S. with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card. For more information, click here.
Is English spoken?
English and French are the native languages in Canada. In the province of Quebec, French is the official language, although the staff at most retails shops, restaurants and tourist attractions speak English, especially in Montreal. Smaller establishments outside of Montreal may not offer services in English but will do their best to accommodate travelers.
What is the time difference?
Canada is covered by many time zones; however, you may encounter three during your cruise – Eastern Time (Ontario, Quebec), Atlantic Time (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island) and Newfoundland Time (Newfoundland and Labrador).
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
The official currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar (CAD). Denominations include $5 (blue), $10 (purple), $20 (green), $50 (red) and $100 (brown) bills and $.01 (penny), $.05 (nickel), $.10 (dime) $.25 (quarter), $.50, $1 (loonie) and $2 (toonie) coins. Currency exchange stations are available at most local hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards. Most retailers in Canada will accept US currency.
Is tipping a common practice?
Tipping customs in Canada are similar to those in the U.S. For good service in a restaurant, tip 15% - 20%, hairdressers and taxi drivers receive 10%, and bellhops receive $1(CAD) per bag.
What should I wear?
On a Canada cruise you'll encounter a range of temperatures. From the cold temperatures on a whale watching tour to warm afternoons in quaint fishing villages along the coast, you'll definitely want to layer your clothing for comfort. During the day, you'll want to bring casual sportswear, such as windbreakers, pants and jogging suits, as well as comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles or hiking boots. At night, you'll appreciate having a sweater or light jacket to keep you warm. Remember that the weather can be unpredictable, so don't forget your ponchos or rain gear and fleece jackets. We always recommend that you carry a light pair of gloves, a hat, and sunglasses, and don't forget your camera and binoculars!
Although the days are casual in Canada, most cruise lines observe at least one formal night on 4- or 5-night cruise and two formal nights on a 7-night cruise. To participate in these special evenings, you'll want to bring formal attire with you. The rest of the evenings will be designated as resort casual or smart casual dress. For more information on dress codes, click here.
What should I pack?
Temperatures are mild during the summer months, when most tourists visit, and vary by port and city. Cool mornings can quickly warm up to very pleasant afternoons. Think about the kinds of activities you will want to try -- sightseeing in Halifax, hiking in Fundy National Park or whale watching off the coast of Bar Harbor for example – and pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers are advisable no matter when you travel. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
What can I do there?
From sightseeing tours of historic spots to hiking some of North America’s natural wonders and everything in between, Canada cruises offer a wide variety of activities for all travelers. Tour the farm that inspired Anne of Green Gables, explore the German village of Lunenbourg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or visit the picturesque Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse set atop glacier-formed outcroppings of granite. You’ll also have plenty of time to enjoy the maritime culture of small fishing villages, known for their delicious seafood and rich folk traditions. For more adventuresome types, consider a kayaking adventure or take a jet boat ride along the St John River and the famous tides of the Bay of Fundy.
When's the best time to see whales?
Whale watching is a favorite pastime for travelers visiting this region, and summer is the perfect time to see all kinds of wildlife, including Finback, Minke and Humpback whales. Whale watching excursions offered in a variety of Canadian ports. Be sure to bring binoculars, cameras and warm clothes -- even in the summer, it gets freezing cold on the water!
Do you have any photography tips for Canadian travelers?
There's plenty of natural beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter.