Tomorrow is the first day of autumn and that can only mean one thing — it is time for Holland America Line’s famous Fall Foliage cruises!
Speaking as one of Canada’s most popular figures, L.M. Montgomery wrote, “I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers,” and a Fall Foliage cruise is the best way to discover what the Anne of Green Gables writer meant. The leaves have begun to turn in the northeast, their vibrant red, orange, brown and yellow hues contrast beautifully with the blue waters of the coast. And a dip in temperatures makes exploring the region even more pleasant.
Holland America Line groups many of their shore excursions into Collections to help guide guests to the perfect personal choice. One of the most popular collections is the Medallion Collection, featuring a series of exclusive experiences designed for the most discerning guests. Guests on a Fall Foliage cruise looking for a particularly immersive and small-group experience will be delighted by these Medallion Collection tour options.
Historic Lunenburg: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, claims to be the prettiest town in Canada, and after seeing it on the Historic Lunenburg: A UNESCO World Heritage Site tour, you just might agree! An hour drive from Halifax first takes you to Mahone Bay, famous for its picturesque scene of three waterfront churches and coastal charm. From there it’s only a 15 minute drive to Lunenburg, a town whose distinctive architecture and extraordinary scenic beauty is a colorful reminder of Canada’s maritime heritage. Settled in the mid-1750s by Germans and Swiss, this town was once the busiest shipbuilding town in the world. You’ll enjoy free time to explore the boardwalk, visit shops and dine where you please.
Sailing on the Bras D’Or Lakes
You can get a breathtaking look of Cape Breton Island during a call at Sydney, Nova Scotia, with the Sailing on the Bras D’Or Lakes experience. Alexander Graham Bell said:
“I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps, and the highlands of Scotland. But for simple beauty Cape Breton outrivals them all.”
You’ll understand what he meant during a panoramic drive to Baddeck, a quaint but vibrant town at the center of Cape Breton. Here you will board the Schooner Amoeba for a sailing adventure along the shore and among the islands of the Bras D’Or Lakes. You’ll enjoy the stunning scenery that Alexander Graham Bell loved so much and you may even spot some wildlife.
Island’s Finest: Anne, Lobster & Scenic Drive
See the best of Canada’s smallest province during a call at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, with the Island’s Finest: Anne, Lobster & Scenic Drive tour. On this tour you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see foliage with rolling farmlands surrounding your bus along the way. You’ll visit New Glasgow, the red cliffs of P.E.I.’s North Shore during a stop at Cavendish Beach and also the Anne of Green Gables Heritage museum to learn about one of Canada’s most popular fictional characters. Enjoy a delicious lobster lunch before heading back to the ship.
Fun with Falcons
The Fun with Falcons tour at Charlottetown is a once-in-a-lifetime experience where guests get to watch a falcon and hawk soar at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. The scenic drive to the site of your tour lets you take in farmlands and beautiful country scenery. When you arrive you’ll meet the handler and learn about the animals. The falcon, a mix between a gyrfalcon and a peregrine falcon, will have you in awe with its beautiful white feathers. The handler will set it loose to fly around as he waves a lure made of Seagull feathers in the air. The falcon will dive for the lure with incredible precision. If you blink you’ll miss it.
On this tour you’ll also have the opportunity to don a handler’s glove and have a hawk fly onto your arm. The well-trained Bella will even pause on your wrist for a short moment and pose for pictures. This is the only tour with falconry offered in the Holland America Line portfolio, so if your ship is calling at P.E.I., make sure not to miss it!
La Fabuleuse Cultural Show
During a call at Saguenay, Quebec, you can re-live the important events that have marked the history of the region, starting with its “discovery” by Jacques Cartier, with La Fabuleuse Cultural Show. You’ll witness the colonization, the Great Fire of 1870, the flood of 1996 and a myriad of other history-making events. The exhilarating, live stage show begins in 1603 and features over 200 actors, a host of animals and grand audiovisual techniques.
Ultimate Innu Experience
Enjoy an exclusive encounter with the Innu in their natural milieu while at Sept-Îles, Quebec. You’ll discover their rich culture and way of life with the Ultimate Innu Experience. The Innu are one of the most populous First Nations in Quebec. The Innu way of life is a seasonal cycle of activities based on harvesting resources as they become available — wild berries in the fall, caribou in the winter, and salmon and geese in the spring. Upon your arrival at the Innu Camp on the banks of the Moisie River, you’ll be immersed in the many aspects of traditional and contemporary Innu culture, history, beliefs and traditions.
Avid Cruiser’s Ralph Grizzle did this tour while at Sept-Îles:
It was an absolutely fascinating experience, where I got to hear Innu stories, see a drum demonstration and sample some of the food, such as smoked salmon (from the world-renowned Moise River) and bannick bread, baked in an earth oven.
You can read about the rest of Ralph’s experience here.
Stroll through Quebec City & Tea at Château Frontenac
Quebec City, Quebec, is filled with history at every turn, and Château Frontenac, perched in the upper town and overlooking the entire city, might be its most beautiful historic site. Countless personalities have been to Château Frontenac since the luxury hotel opened its doors in 1893, from Charles de Gaulle to Charles Lindberg. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Winston Churchill representing the U.S., Canada and U.K discussed important issues here during the Quebec Conferences of World War II. You’ll see much of the city during the Stroll through Quebec City & Tea at Château Frontenac tour. Then you’ll visit Château Frontenac to enjoy tea and sweet treats, but you don’t have to discuss such serious matters like F.D.R. and Churchill! You can just reflect on the lovely day you’ve had.
You can visit all of these ports and more during ms Maasdam’s 13-day Atlantic Coast cruise from Montreal, Canada, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The itinerary also includes scenic cruising along the St. Lawrence River, Saguenay Fjord and Gaspe Bay and calls at Bar Harbor, Maine, and New York, New York.
And remember that the shore excursions can be pre-booked so you’re sure to get the tour of your choice.
Have you been on a Holland America Line Fall Foliage cruise? Tell us which tours you enjoyed most in the comments below.