Day 1: Quebec City
Québec takes its name from the Algonquin word meaning ‘where the river narrows.’ The city that Champlain founded in 1608 is one of the oldest in North America. The former capital of New France is now the capital of Canada’s largest province. Quebec still retains strong European influence in architecture, cuisine and culture.
We travel by coach to the charming community of Tadoussac where we will meet the Ocean Endeavour. This pleasantly walkable community is ours to explore. With over four hundred years of history to discover and hospitable hosts to help, we set sail from the St. Lawrence River’s first seaport.
Day 2: Saguenay Fjord
At the mouth of Saguenay Fjord, salt water meets freshwater. Fin, minke, blue, and beluga whales are all found in the uniquely rich waters. We’ll be on the lookout for marine mammals and birds as we cruise Saguenay Fjord National Park!
Day 3: Saint Lawrence River
Today we will explore the Saint Lawrence River, famed for its incredible whale-watching opportunities, its rich history, and its vibrant culture. Sailing the river that gave rise to Canada’s European history is a thrilling experience, and we will set off through its heart for a true expedition day. Any stop is weather-dependent; ideally we will have favourable Zodiac conditions for an excursion.
Day 4: Forillon National Park / Gaspé
The Gaspé Peninsula (Gaspésie), separates the mouth of the Saint Lawrence from Baie de Chaleur. Here the remnants of the Appalachian Mountain chain form high cliffs, jutting above the treeline. Views of neighbouring seascapes are outstanding.
Forillon is an important bird and marine mammal habitat, with excellent hiking, including a walk to Canada’s tallest lighthouse. Grand-Grave National Heritage Site tells the story of the fishing families who once made their homes here.
Day 5: Île Bonaventure National Park / Percé
Awe-inspiring Percé Rock is the most famous feature in Parc National de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé.
Named by Samuel de Champlain, Percé Rock is a huge natural arch within a mass of reddish limestone and sandstone. A second arch collapsed in 1845, leaving a massive column at one end.
Fin, minke, humpback, and blue whales, seals and seabirds are among the species we’ll be watching for here. Bonaventure Island is home to 50,000 nesting pairs of Northern Gannets!
Day 6-7: Gulf of Saint Lawrence
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence is a diverse and complex marine and estuary ecosystem, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Made of up freshwater from the Canadian Shield, the Great Lakes basin, and the St. Lawrence River, the gulf’s waters also combine to cold Labrador Current from the Arctic and the warm Gulf Stream from the tropics. All these currents merge to create the perfect conditions for an incredible diversity of life.
People have relied on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence for thousands of years. Indigenous communities, and later European settlers, depended on it for food, transportation, commerce, and a source of cultural significance.
Day 8: Prince Edward Island
Canada’s smallest province in both size and population, Prince Edward Island is known by several other names, including “Garden of the Gulf” (for its lush agricultural lands) and the “Cradle of Confederation” (referring to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864). It is a realm of rolling hills, wooded glades, ocean coves, and famously red soil. The island’s landscape has a strong bearing on its inhabitants, and Prince Edward Island—often abbreviated as PEI—retains a slow-paced, old-world flavour in its small, rural settlements. The island was made famous by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (and its sequels)—and to this day the Cavendish farmhouse described in the book is a popular destination for visitors.
Day 9: Magdalen Islands
Dramatic red sandstone cliffs are among the most striking features of the Magdalen Islands. Though a part of Quebec, the Magdalens (les Îles-de-la-Madeleine) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are closer to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
When the British expelled the Acadians from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Magdalen Islanders remained. Acadian heritage is evident in the culture and cuisine of the islands. Look for handicrafts, seafood, and local wines and beers!
Day 10: The South Coast
Newfoundland’s south coast offers stretches of almost-uninhabited wilderness. We’ll be watching for puffins and other seabirds, and of course, keeping a close eye out for whales.
We have numerous options here, depending on weather and sea conditions. Fjords, cliffs, and islands offer excellent Zodiac cruising territory—and hiking may be an option as well.
Day 11: Saint-Pierre, FR
Just off the shores of Newfoundland lie the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon—an official territory of the French Republic. Having traced Canada’s French history and culture, it’s appropriate that we wind up in France!
You will have an opportunity to explore the charming, colourful town of Saint Pierre. French food, wine and shopping await! There you will end your trip by joining our charter flight to St. John’s, NL.