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Canadian Maritimes: Fins and Fiddles

Canadian Arctic Cruise

  • Akademik Ioffe
  • Research Ship
  • 96 Capacity
  • 10 Days
  • 2016 View Departure>
    • 2016
    • Jul 16 Sat
  • Price from
  • $2,995

Summary : The islands of Canada’s Atlantic Maritime Provinces feature a rich and diverse culture, found in small fishing communities and remote out ports. The area is well known for its Celtic traditions and the music and cuisine of the region is celebrated the world over. Historically, this is one of the most fascinating places in North America. Your exploration of the Maritimes starts and ends in the historical town of Louisburg on Cape Breton Island. The region offers a staggering abundance of wildlife, including prolific birdlife, numerous seal and whale species and even the fabled ponies of Sable Island. Beaches and lagoons provide viewing opportunities for numerous shorebirds and as you cruise towards the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, hope to see the great baleen whales such as the humpback, minke and blue whale, as well as grey and harp seals. These rich feeding grounds act as a magnet for wildlife. A ship-based exploration allows you to visit places that are otherwise inaccessible or difficult to get to for land-based visitors and achieve this all in a manageable time frame. Daily shore excursions with expert guides, a range of wonderful activities and an inspired dining menu make this an ideal way to experience this enchanting region of Canada.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking


Prices from
$2,995 to $7,995

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Day 1
Louisburg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Your adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisburg, Nova Scotia, where you board your expedition vessel. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisburg was the third busiest seaport in North America. Board the ship in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of fresh local lobster as you sail out past the lighthouse into the North Atlantic, and onto the Grand Banks.

Day 2
Sable Island

Located on the edge of the Grand Banks, hundreds of kilometers from the coast, Sable Island has a storied history as a graveyard of ships, with more than 350 ships falling victim to the treacherous currents and sandbars. Sporadically inhabited by sealers, shipwreck survivors and salvagers, the island is now home to fewer than six year-round inhabitants, a herd of Sable Island ponies and one of the largest gray seal colonies in the world. It is an important stopover for numerous migratory bird species as they make their way to and from the High Arctic region. Sable Island is one of Canada’s newest national parks and the long sand beaches are best explored on foot.

Day 3
Bird Island

Returning into the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, commence exploration along the north-central coast of Cape Breton. The Bird Islands are home to a number of important species including the great cormorant, Atlantic puffin, Atlantic razorbill, and black-legged kittiwakes; the islands are known as an important feeding area for Cape Breton’s population of bald eagles. Cruise in Zodiacs and hike onshore during daily shore excursions, all in the company of expert guides.

Day 4
The Magdalen Islands (Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine)

Sculpted out of sandstone, the remote islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence are home to unique fishing communities with beautifully maintained waterfront houses and boats, flowing grassy plains and sandstone shorelines sculpted by the elements. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture found in the islands, encounter a wide diversity of bird life along the beaches and lagoons. Europeans first discovered the islands in the mid 15th century, though it’s thought indigenous Mi’kmaqs have been visiting for centuries to hunt walrus. Quebecois and Arcadian culture runs strongly through the towns and villages of the islands, through local cuisine, craft and language.

Day 5
Bonaventure Island and the Gaspe Peninsula

At Bonaventure Island, drop anchor near the town of Perce and visit the island by Zodiac. This location has a rich natural, historic, and geological heritage. Sculpted by time and the sea, the island is situated at the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. Its outstanding flora and fauna, including its famous colony of Northern Gannets, make it a must-see location. Almost 300 different species of birds have been recorded as visiting, migrating to, or living on Bonaventure Island.

Day 6
Anticosti Island

At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River where the river water mixes with Arctic waters from the Strait of Belle Isle and the more temperate Atlantic waters, Anticosti Island is rich in marine wildlife. Hike along the beaches near the eastern end of the island followed by a Zodiac cruise along the cliffs at East Point. Keep your eyes open for shorebirds and seabirds, as well as whales and seals which are frequent visitors to the island's waters.

Day 7
Gros Morne National Park

Sailing into majestic Bonne Bay, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, the cliffs soar up out of the water and are covered in a green blanket of tuckamore forest—windswept spruce sculpted by the ocean breeze. At Woody Point you are welcomed ashore by a delegation from the community before hiking up to the excellent interpretation center. From there, various guided walks take you into the World Heritage-listed Tablelands and to the lookout for a view over much of the park—a spectacular experience!

Day 8

The community of Francois (pronounced "Frans-way") in the south coast of Newfoundland was settled in the late 1700s. Small boat fishers harvested a variety of species during the summer fishing season. Francois’ rich fishing heritage also included operation of a whale factory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as an "out-port", and accessible only by boat or from the air by helicopter, Francois has a deep harbor which is navigable year-round. When entering Francois harbor, you are first greeted by one of the few remaining manned light stations anywhere on the coast of Newfoundland. Once past the light, be amazed by the narrow opening leading into the steep-walled rocky fjord. This is a spectacular location.

Day 9
St. Pierre et Miquelon

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are a small group of islands situated off the south coast of Newfoundland. They were first settled by the French in the early 17th century and today the islands represent the sole remaining vestige of France’s once vast North American empire. Walking down the street feels like taking a stroll through a provincial French town. As a part of France, the area has much in common with Europe, but also with its Canadian and American neighbors. There's an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, cruise in the Zodiacs to see these colorful birds. Tonight enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain to mark the end of your voyage through the beautiful Maritimes.

Day 10

Sail back to Cape Breton across the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, heading again for the historic port of Louisburg. Disembark in the morning and, while some will head to the airport, many will add a few extra days in Cape Breton to enjoy one of the gems of Canada’s East Coast.


Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Medical Documentation: Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar Regions, you will be required to complete a Medical Information Form. This form must be completed, signed and returned no later than 90 days prior to departure.

Sea Kayaking Option: Included
Pre-booked option. If you have experience sea kayaking and are interested in doing this activity during the expedition, you will need to book this option prior to departure from home. You cannot book this activity once onboard. There is a separate document for sea kayakers that you will need to review beforehand.

Mandatory Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance which must cover accidents, injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation (including helicopter) and personal liability. It must cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if requested by expedition staff. The expedition team reserves the right to cancel or suspend your participation on a trip or in certain activities that comprise part of a trip, at any time, including after the commencement of your tour, with no right of refund, if you are unable to provide proof of insurance when requested.

Accommodations onboard; meals; complimentary tea and coffee 24 hours per day; shore excursions; services of guides and naturalist staff; access to multimedia room and download stations; use of onboard expedition rubber boots; use of wet weather gear; transfers as applicable, kayaking option.

Not Included:
Airfare; pre- and post-cruise hotel nights; passport and visa fees; excess baggage charges; airport taxes; travel insurance; all gratuities; extra meals; items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks; medical expenses; optional activities and trips.

PHOTOS: © Chantal Briand; © Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism; © Boris Wise; © Daisy Gilardini