Holland America Line’s cruises to Canada and New England feature some of the most beautiful scenery, diverse cultures and interesting history in North America. From stunning national parks to picturesque coastlines and plenty of colorful and interesting towns in between, there is plenty to see in this diverse region … and plenty of ways to see it!
In addition to the already-robust menu of available shore excursions, Holland America Line recently introduced 10 new tours that showcase the best of the area in a variety of ways. From hikes to earth’s mantle to a tasting tour that would delight any foodie, be sure to check out one of these new tours on your next Canada & New England cruise.
Explore Acadia National Park at Bar Harbor, Maine
1. The Intimate Look at Acadia National Park tour is the ultimate small-group excursion in Acadia National Park. Along with 13 other guests, you’ll get to observe the wonders of this majestic park. Drive along the ocean’s edge before stopping at Thunder Hole. Here, under ocean swells converge with a thunderous roar against the granite coastline. You’ll pause high above the 107 Otter Cliffs, then wind through lush pine and forests. Next you’ll continue up Cadillac Mountain, the Atlantic coast’s highest peak, passing scenic glacial lakes along the way. From the summit, enjoy a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the Cranberry Islands and Frenchman Bay, where the Holland America Line ship is anchored.
Learn About the History of Cap-aux-Meules, Îles de la Madeleine
2. Îles de la Madeleine is a stunning archipelago located in the heart of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and Cap-aux-Meules is its second-largest island. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to take the new Islands Shipwreck & History tour. You’ll start at Étang du Nord, home of the second-largest wooden church in North America, La Vernière. Then you’ll visit the beach where the Corfu Island cargo ship was shipwrecked in 1963, with your guide painting a vivid picture of what took place. Next, a stop at the Havre Aubert Islands will include the Historic Site at La Grave. You’ll also visit the Musée de la Mer, or the maritime museum, that features ship models, photographs, maritime objects and collections of minerals, shells and rocks from the archipelago.
Hike the Earth’s Mantle at Corner Brook, New Foundland
3. You can find adventure in New Foundland with the Gros Morne Park Tablelands Discovery Center & Hike tour. You’ll start with a short drive to Gros Morne Discover Center that overlooks Bonne Bay. Here you can get acquainted with the landscape through exhibits and a viewing deck. Next you’ll head to the starting point for your hike to the top of the bottom of the earth! You’ll discover orange rocks from earth’s middle layer, pushed into place as the continents collided almost half a billion years ago. After your hike you’ll enjoy a tasty lunch in the community of Bonne Bay.
History, Nature and Puzzles at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
4. The PEI Coast & Cellar tour is the perfect pick for someone looking to take a step back in time. You’ll travel along the island’s stunning coast and stop at a couple of lighthouses, including the Point Prim Lighthouse — the island’s oldest. You’ll also head to the Rossignol Estate Winery for an unlimited wine tasting paired with Prince Edward Island cheeses … the perfect combination! The winery has a 45,000 bottle capacity and produces a variety of premium fruit and table wines made with local produce.
5. The relatively new and incredibly unique Fun with Falcons tour offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — a chance to watch a Saker falcon in full flight, soaring, diving and catching air currents! These beautiful birds fly at speeds up to 200 mph! And with a handler’s glove, you’ll get to admire them up close as they sit on your hand. Saker falcons are endangered, but their population is growing again thanks to conservation breeding programs.
6. Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, and small enough to explore by foot. The Charlottetown – On Your Own tour is a self-guided walking tour that combines the technology of a hand-held GPS unit with the adventure of a scavenger hunt as you search for solutions to a customized crossword puzzle. Each location on the walk reveals interesting facts about Charlottetown and the island, showcasing some of the city’s most beautiful architecture and the stories behind its buildings. This outing is the perfect tour for history buffs and curious kids alike, and of course those who can’t resist a good puzzle!
Food and Fundy at Halifax, Nova Scotia
7. Set out to enjoy the best of Halifax’s food, beer and wine scene with the Taste of Halifax tour. You will travel around the city, visiting five local culinary hotspots and trying everything from traditional local seafood and fusion fish dishes to Annapolis Valley pulled pork and craft pizza! This tour is perfect for any foodie with a mix of gourmet food trucks, trendy restaurants and breweries. You’ll enjoy craft beers and Nova Scotia wine — the fastest growing wine district in North America. You’ll also get to take in some history with stops at Citadel Hill and the historic Hydrostone neighborhood.
8. If you’re looking for more of an adventure at Halifax, the Blomidon Hike & Grand Pre small group tour might be just what you wished for. Enjoy an unforgettable journey through the Annapolis Valley, located between two parallel mountain ranges along the shore of the Bay of Fundy. This bay is well known for its beautiful landscapes and of course for having the highest tidal swing in the world. You’ll take a scenic drive through the western part of the Nova Scotia peninsula and take in the view from the Blomidon Viewpoint atop the North Mountain. Then you will head to Blomidon Park and set out on a challenging hike — the Borden Brook Trail. Along the way you will observe the changing tides of the Minas Basin, appreciate high cliffs and learn of the abundant wildlife in the area. On your way back to the ship, you’ll take in the beauty of the Landscape of Grand Pre, Canada’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Scenery and Culture at Sydney, Nova Scotia
9. The Otherside of the Cabot Trail tour features some of the most beautiful scenery that Cape Breton has to offer. Sit back and enjoy it all as you drive through the historic North End and follow the Trans-Canada Highway to Boularderie Island. Then you will continue across the Seal Island Bridge to view the Bras d’Or Lakes before making your way to the Cabot Trail. You will pass Beaver Pond, Middle River and Lake O’Law. This tour is perfect for nature lovers, as you get to take in the stunning coastline and beautiful foliage.
10. The Cape Breton: A Cultural Exploration tour starts with a visit to Eskasoni, a vibrant region that features history and natural beauty. You’ll get a unique look at this multicultural area that reflects two different and distinct cultures: that of the Scots, who settled the land, and the Mi’kmaq people who were there before. You’ll take a walking tour at the largest Mi’kmaq reserve in the world, tasting traditional foods, dancing and playing traditional games. Next, you’ll hop aboard a boat for a ride on the Bras d’Or Lake, where you will learn of its fisheries and eco-system. Then you’ll head to the Highland Village that offers a mix of breathtaking scenery and Gaelic culture. You’ll even get to participate in a “milling frolic” — a hands-on filling of the cloth, singing Gaelic work songs while you drink tea and eat oatcakes!
How to get there:
In 2015, 39 Holland America Line cruises will sail throughout Canada and New England. Maasdam will head to the region first with a 15-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal departing May 1 and will sail seven-day cruises between Montreal and Boston until October.
From May 16 through October, ms Veendam will cruise seven-day itineraries between Quebec City and Boston. Back-to-back sailings on both Veendam and Maasdam can be combined for an extended 14-day roundtrip Collectors’ Voyage. Both ships’ itineraries include calls at Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney and Prince Edward Island.
In September and October, Eurodam will sail 10-day cruises between New York and Quebec City at the height of the stunning fall foliage season.
If you have any questions or would like assistance booking your shore excursions please contact our Shore Excursions Call Center at 1-888-425-9376 or 206-626-7320, Monday – Friday, 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
Remember, you can pre-book the tour of your choice to save time on your vacation!
Which new tour would you take on a Canada/New England Cruise? Do you like the history or go seeking the beautiful scenery? Tell us in the comments below!
December 2015 UPDATE: Take Advantage of View & Verandah
We want to make your dream cruise even dreamier with our new View & Verandah promotion. We’re offering stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016. Check out the offer to see if your dream cruise is included and book now!