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Around 17 million people took a cruise holiday last year, about a tenth of whom were British. It’s one of the fastest growing forms of tourism at the moment, indicated by the size of some of the newer cruise ships coming out of the yards in recent years – two built in the last five years can each carry over 6000 passengers on one voyage!
People cruise for a variety of reasons, the opportunity to see several destinations during a single holiday being just one of them. Cruise ships offer fine dining, luxurious spas, on-board entertainment galore, and pretty good value for money, all things considered. Whether they are always a force for good in the places they stop is debatable, but some things aren’t – people keep travelling on them, companies keep building them, and places keep developing new ports for them to stop.
Canada is a case in point – such is the draw of the Canadian landscape and culture that over the last decade several new terminals have been built to accommodate larger cruise ships. Here are some of the most popular ports for cruise holidays in Canada:
French-speaking Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America, founded in 1608. The St Lawrence River runs through it, on which can be found the large port. Climate-wise, it’s much the same as Britain, making it easy for cruisers to adapt. There’s a lot to see here if the ship stays in port for a while – delightful French colonial architecture, art galleries and boutiques, and the gushing Montmorency Falls, higher than Niagara.
Taste of the Danforth FestivalThe largest city in Canada, Toronto is the capital of Ontario province. Its cosmopolitan attitude makes it one of the most favoured destinations for immigrants – over 49% of the population was born outside the country! That diversity carries over into the culture of course – performing arts and festivals are major draws for tourists, especially during August, when the Taste of the Danforth festival, which celebrates Greek food and drink, is held. Massive crowds attend the country’s largest street festival every year.
Vancouver is reckoned to be one of the most liveable places in the world, explaining why its population is so ethnically diverse. However long your cruise ship is stopping for, a few hours to a week, there will be enough here to interest you, maybe even want to stay! Of particular note is the city’s large amount of green spaces, making outdoor recreation extremely popular. There are many parks, lakes, and beaches within walking distance, or a short cab ride, from the cruise terminal, and if you’re so inclined, the mountains are not far away either.
Just off the coast of New Brunswick province, Charlottetown is the largest city on Prince Edward Island. A new cruise ship terminal was opened five years ago, giving people on Canada holidays access to the scenic architecture and pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. The main draw of Charlottetown is historical – it played a significant part in the Wars for Succession, and there are many sites of interest in the city.
Only a day’s sailing from New York, the Halifax region of Nova Scotia has also played important roles in Canadian history, involved in the Napoleonic Wars, the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Crimean and both World Wars. Nowadays tourists arrive in their droves, whether they are interested in whale-watching, exploring the world’s longest harbour-front boardwalk, or dipping into the many boutiques, restaurants, pubs and galleries that line the bohemian area around the cruise terminal.
Rob is a big lover of all things Canadian and can’t wait for his next trip to Vancouver where he fully intends to watch whales on a 24/7 basis.