Tag Archives: River Cruises

St. Lawrence Cruise Lines

A new adventure into an old tradition

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A new adventure into an old tradition

River cruises have continued to grow in popularity over the past few years, but the tradition dates back to the 19th century. In many ways, it is like modern travelers have rediscovered the classic combination of relaxation, comfort, and intimacy that these journeys provide. In North America, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines has the distinction of being the most experienced river cruise operator in the magnificent St. Lawrence River region, and the company is proud to be celebrating its 40th season on the river in 2020. This experience comes with a tremendous knowledge and understanding of the geography of the region that allows St. Lawrence Cruise Lines to deliver cruises that are tremendously detailed and full of value.

A river without end

For many Canadians, the St. Lawrence River is part of our local geography. What makes the St. Lawrence so attractive to travelers?

  1. The St. Lawrence River is enormous. The river proper, at 774 miles in length, runs northeast from Lake Ontario towards the Atlantic, where it forms the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This magnificent river is still fairly young, having formed only about 10,000 years ago. It is at its most striking in September and October, when its shores become a kaleidoscope of fall colours.
  2. Settlers began constructing canals along parts of the river as early as 1783. In 1954, Canada and the United States agreed on the mutual construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power project, connecting Montreal to Lake Erie. The Seaway opened in 1959 and celebrated its 60-year anniversary in 2019.
  3. The 1000 Islands includes 1,865 islands and hundreds of miles of picturesque coastline. This region features both the beauty of nature and historic attractions that include museums, forts, fairy-tale castles, and national parks. The entire region is a giant playground with fantastic boating, swimming, hiking and bird watching.
  4. The St. Lawrence River connects English and French Canada, and traveling the river is a journey between two cultures. The old world charm of the Province of Quebec feature landscapes, ecosystems, architecture, food, and cities that are unlike anywhere in North America.
  5. The Ottawa River is the chief tributary of the St. Lawrence River, with the southeast part of the river acting as the Quebec–Ontario provincial border. Over 790 miles, the river forms innumerable lakes, and it became a chief route of explorers and fur traders, and lumberers in the early 19th century. The economic activity generated by these industries led to Ottawa becoming the national capital. The city is now famous for its numerous museums and galleries, as well as Canada’s parliament buildings.

Make the river your home

The Canadian Empress is a nostalgic replica steamboat with 64-passenger capacity, and a warm and friendly personality. This makes it the perfect way to experience calm-water cruising, and explore the unique beauty and rich history of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The size and design of the vessel serves to enhance the intimacy and authenticity of the river cruise experience. The interior of the vessel is full of charming brass furnishings and ornate metal ceilings, and this classic steamboat style has been combined with modern engineering and amenities to enhance comfort, security and relaxation.

This ship will carry you through the very heart of Canada’s most beautiful scenery, on routes specifically selected for their stunning gifts of history, natural beauty and modern vitality. This is a chance to see a side of Canada and the United States that can only be viewed from the shared waters of the St. Lawrence River, from the charming bays and inlets of the 1000 Islands, to the locks and canals of the International Seaway and beyond to the old world culture of Quebec.

Cruises run from May to October with departures from Kingston, Ottawa, and Quebec City. For more information about St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, visit stlawrencecruiselines.com or call 1.800.267.7868.


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Just-right cruising with Viking

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Just-right cruising with Viking

By Ann Metcalf

Large ocean liners can accommodate up to 7,000 people, and a new one is currently under construction that will accept 9,500 passengers – and that doesn’t include the crew. They’re like floating cities that off er everything from pools, spas, casinos, entertainment, restaurants and more. When you want to disembark at a desired location, it can be a very long process. And because of their size, these ocean liners often port in areas that are a fair distance from a city centre or tourist attraction.

Founded in 1997, Viking has grown from four ships to more than 60 river cruise vessels. The size of their fleet has afforded them the opportunity to negotiate prime docking rights in European cities. If you’ve never been on one of their river cruises, you owe it to yourself to book one. Unlike the huge ocean liners, you dock in major cities and have the freedom to walk off , and on, at your leisure. Most river cruise ships accommodate less than 200 passengers.

In 2015, Viking applied their award-winning philosophy, along with their exceptional attention to detail, with the christening of their first ocean ship – the Viking Star. The fleet now includes five ships, with a sixth launching next year, and four more scheduled to set sail by 2023.

These small ships accommodate just over 900 passengers, and all suites have a veranda. Add approximately 450 crew, and you’re getting first-rate service. And, because of their size, they can navigate rivers and oceans. While itineraries are available for the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia, Alaska, and North and South America, a Scandinavian journey reflects the company’s heritage.


This popular cruise departs from the UK in late June. From the Greenwich port, you make stops in Edinburgh, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and then travel to six ports in Norway. It’s the perfect time of year, and as you get nearer to the Arctic Circle, round the- clock sunshine lights up your experience.

Viking includes a tour in each port for on-board passengers. Optional tours are also offered for those with specific interests. On the ‘Into the Midnight Sun’ cruise, you may opt to go sea fishing in Lofoten, harvest king crabs on safari in Honningsvag, or break bread with a local family in Tromo. Sea kayaking, wildlife hikes, Husky treks, and visits to maritime museums, are just some of the available tours – all rated by activity level. Bergen, Norway


When you have a day at sea, or if you choose to stay put and enjoy the amenities on the ship, the relaxed luxury will have you rejuvenated in no time. Try a Swedish massage, followed by the spa circuit, which includes a hot tub, a steam room, a snow grotto, and a salt-water pool that provides a lounging area, with jets coming at you from all directions.


Because each state room includes a veranda, sometimes just staying put while you traverse through the fjords, marvel at the mountains, enjoy a glorious sunset (or the all-night sun), is simply perfect. You have a birds-eye view of some the most spectacular landscape you’ll ever see, so order in room service – it’s all included.

But don’t deny yourself a broader gastronomic experience at the four on-board restaurants, including Italian (try the ribeye), and The Chef’s Table, which alternates themed menus every two nights.

When it’s done right, you just know it – and Viking does it right.




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