A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Explore unique cultures rooted in Old Europe as you follow the Saint Lawrence River through Québec and continue along the Canadian Maritimes, experiencing world-class cities and stunning islands illuminated by fall foliage.

Starting at: $13,160 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Evening cityscape of Toronto
 Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal. Credit: Dale Youngkin
 Quebec City with Chateau Hotel Frontenac
 Montmorency Falls, Quebec
 Town of Tadoussac, Quebec
 Whale watching off the Canadian coast
 Percé Rock, Gaspésie Peninsula
 East Point, Prince Edward Island. Credit: PEI Tourism / Sander Meurs
 Anne of Green Gables house, Prince Edward Island. Credit: PEI Tourism / John Sylvester
 Victoria Row, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Credit: PEI Tourism / Emily O'Brien
 Traditional lobster meal. Credit: PEI Tourism / Paul Baglole
 Coastal Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
 View from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park
 View from Blue Hill Overlook, Acadia National Park
 Wharf at Bar Harbor, Maine
 Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Acadia National Park

Symphony on the St. Lawrence: From Québec to the Canadian Maritimes

Featuring Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart

15 days from $13,160

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Explore unique cultures rooted in Old Europe as you follow the Saint Lawrence River through Québec and continue along the Canadian Maritimes, experiencing world-class cities and stunning islands illuminated by fall foliage.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Experience the beauty of Québec and Canada’s Atlantic seaboard when autumn colors are at their finest as you sail the Saint Lawrence River to the Canadian Maritimes on a cruise featuring Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart. Immerse yourself in unique cultures that have evolved from strong European roots, and see evidence of the tug of war between the British and the French that led to the creation of Canada. Revel in the charms of Montréal and Québec City and explore stunning landscapes from serene Prince Edward Island to the red cliffs of the Îles de la Madeleine. Visit fortresses and centuries-old fishing towns on Nova Scotia before ending your voyage in the historic fishing town of Eastport, Maine. Along the way, delight in on board performances by Keith Lockhart and renowned classical musicians.  See a Q & A with Maestro Lockhart on his expert page

The Smithsonian Journeys / PONANT  Experience: Each  cruise will be accompanied by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts. An excursion or activity is included in each port of call. You may have a choice of excursions  in many ports, so that you can delve more deeply into subjects that interest you.

Highlights Include

  • A Sailing Symphony: Enjoy a program of on-board musical performances—a rare opportunity to attend intimate concerts curated by celebrated Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart and performed by six extraordinary musicians. 
  • Montréal and Québec City: Soak up the Old World ambiance in the culture hub of Montréal and the elegant cobbled streets of Québec City. Set out on guided walking tours of the historic city centers, and tailor your visits, choosing excursions that focus on history, art, or culinary traditions. 
  • Whale-watching: Go whale-watching in the rich waters off Tadoussac, which are known to draw more than a dozen species, including belugas, humpbacks, and blue whales. 
  • Canadian Maritimes: Trace the history of Canada—and the tale of Anne of Green Gables—amid the peaceful landscapes of Prince Edward Island, and get acquainted with French-derived Acadian culture while sampling cider at an orchard on the remote Îles de la Madeleine. 
  • Nova Scotia: Make three memorable stops on the islands of Nova Scotia: delve into the life and inventions of Alexander Graham Bell at his historic home in Baddeck; recall battles between the  French and the British at the Fortress of Louisbourg; and spend a day in lovely Lunenburg, a World Heritage site. 
  • Eastport, Maine: Delve into the unique culture of Maine’s easternmost coast on a visit to the Tides Institute and Museum of Art, a hub of regional art and community in the historic sardine-fishing town of Eastport. Alternatively, observe rich birdlife on a hike in Shackford Head State Park or embark on a whale-watching excursion.

2023 Itinerary

Map - Symphony on the St. Lawrence: From  Québec to the Canadian Maritimes

Day 1 —Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Arrive in Toronto, Canada’s largest city and a mecca of art and culture. Board the ship in the afternoon and set sail this evening. (D)

Day 2 — Sailing Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River

Spend a leisurely day on the water, enjoying the ship’s many amenities, attending lectures by your Smithsonian Journeys Experts, and taking in the scenery as you cross Lake Ontario and enter the Saint Lawrence River. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Montréal, Québec

Awaken in the island-city of Montréal, an effervescent hub of culture and cuisine with a distinctly French character. On a walking tour of Old Montréal, admire the ornate interior of the Notre-Dame Basilica or take in sweeping city views from Parc du Mont-Royal, the hill that gave the city its name. Alternatively, visit some of the city’s world-class museums, or set out on street art tour on Saint Laurent Boulevard, where the lively Mural Festival takes place every summer. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Québec City, Québec

Further along the Saint Lawrence River lies elegant Québec City, a walled city founded in the 16th century where French is the primary language. Stroll cobbled lanes steeped in Old World charm on a guided tour of the historic center. Explore Battlefields Park, where the British defeated the French during the Battle of Québec 1759, changing the course of history. Alternatively, see the impressive Montmorency Falls and then to travel to Ile d’Orleans for a scenic drive through the picturesque villages of Quebec. Stop to sample local delicacies made from the fresh fruit of the region. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Tadoussac, Québec

The town of Tadoussac, considered one of the first European settlements in Canada, is perched at the junction of the Saint Lawrence River and the Saguenay fjord. The salty, rich waters here draw 13 cetacean species that come to feed from May to October, including minkes, belugas, humpbacks, and blue whales. Visit the Marine Mammal Interpretation Center for a closer look at the marine life of the North Shore of the Saint Lawrence River. Then set out in Zodiacs to spot some of these impressive creatures on a whale-watching excursion. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — At Sea

As you cruise toward the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, enjoy a relaxing day on the water. Read a book in the library or indulge in a spa treatment. Watch for marine and birdlife on deck, and join your experts for engaging presentations and informal discussions. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Percé, Québec

Follow the coast of the Gaspésie Peninsula, where thick pine forests end in sheer coastal cliffs and rocky shores. Go ashore in Percé and take a walking tour of the town. Admire views of the stunning natural arch known as Percé Rock just off shore, or hike the trails of the Percé Global Geopark, learning about the area’s flora and fauna as you go. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Savor the bucolic beauty of Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province. See the Confederation Centre of the Arts, a national memorial to the Fathers of the Confederation, who drafted Canada’s first consititution here in 1864. The center is also a hub of Canadian performing and visual arts. Later, tour the Green Gables Heritage Place, which inspired the setting for L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables stories. Learn about the author’s life—and that of her heroine, Anne Shirley—on a tour of the original house and a walk on the property’s trails. Then sit down to a lobster lunch. (B,L,D)

Day 9 —Îles de la Madeleine, Québec

Return to Québec for a day on the Îles de la Madeleine, an archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence linked by sandy spits and edged by vermillion sandstone cliffs. Visit a family-owned apple orchard and farm for a cider tasting, discover the islands’ Acadian roots at the Musée de la Mer, and take in extraordinary views of the jagged red coast from Cap Hérissé Lighthouse. Or experience the beauty of the islands during a guided hike. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Arrive on Cape Breton Island, the northernmost region of Nova Scotia, largely settled by Scottish Highlanders. Dock at the town of Baddeck, where Alexander Graham Bell built a summer home that is now a National Historic Site. Visit the home and browse fascinating displays of Bell’s many inventions, from the telephone to the metal detector. Or drive along the Cabot Trail, enjoying a panorama of fall colors, and ride a gondola to the summit of Cape Smokey for views of the ocean and the surrounding Cape Breton Highlands National Park. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island

On the island’s eastern coast, step back in time at the Fortress of Louisburg, now a living museum where people in period clothing carry on daily activities much as they would have in the 18th century. Built by the French, the fortress and its town traded hands between the British and the French several times before being burned to rubble in 1760. Delve into this dramatic history on a guided tour of the original ruins and the reconstructed portion of the fortress. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Spend today in the delightful fishing village of Lunenburg, where 18th-century wooden houses and original British urban planning have earned the Old Town a World Heritage designation. Meander through the quaint lanes on a walking tour, admiring the architecture and the timeless scenes of maritime life. At the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, set within a historic waterfront mansion and on several boats, get a closer look at local fishing and shipbuillding traditions. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — At Sea

Leave Canada behind and cross the Bay of Fundy to Maine during a day at sea. Enjoy time with new friends and hear a last lecture from your experts. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Eastport, Maine, U.S.

Your first port of call in the United States is historic Eastport on Maine’s Moose Island, located just across the border from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Campobello Island retreat. Get acquainted with the unique culture of far-eastern Maine and the islands of Passamaquoddy Bay on a visit to the Tides Institute and Museum of Art, which showcases artists from the region and serves as an important hub of community exchange. Or venture to Shackford Head State Park for a hike along coastal trails and woods where numerous bird species can be spotted. Alternatively, embark on a whale-watching excursion and watch as lobster pots are hauled in on the return to port. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner on board as the ship turns south toward Massachusetts. (B,L,D)

Day 15 — Boston, Massachusetts

After breakfast, disembark in Boston and transfer to Boston’s Logan airport.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

Related Tours