Quebec City, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s located at the confluence of the St. Charles and St. Lawrence rivers and whose history stretches back 400 years, is a fairy tale port city, complete with a stunning castle sitting atop a hill. In fact, Caroline Tetu, director for Quebec Tourisme, mentioned that the creators of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen visited Quebec City when looking for inspiration prior to working on the now-famous children’s movie. The similarities can be seen everywhere, with the castle atop the hill—the historic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac—the cannons lining the path to the city below, and the surrounding waters. Here, the people are friendly, the ambiance is lively, and the views are captivating.
This year, for the first time ever, the Port of Quebec will be welcoming Disney Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises, with Disney Magic and Star Pride calling at the port next month. And this year’s cruise season will see record delpoyment from Holland America, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, including new overnights, allowing passengers to fully immerse themselves in the city. Welcoming all those passengers is an array of new amenities, including the Place Des Canotiers, a public square that opened this past June filled with green spaces, benches, an art installation and a bike path (bike rentals are available for travelers and locals to enjoy on the promenade or to cruise through town). When we visited the new park, Holland America’s MS Maasdam was docked at port, and visitors and locals alike were biking through the park enjoying the sunny afternoon.
Another fun area is at the Backyard Festibial (Backyard Festival) bar, located in front of docks 21 and 22. There’s a water area here with beach chairs submerged in the water for guests to enjoy; guests won’t need a bathing suit as the water is about ankle deep. It’s a cool place to sit back, have a beer, and enjoy the city vibe.
Just a short distance away is an outdoor arena where guests can find many free events during the summer and fall months such as circus performances, concerts, music festivals and more. The summer music festival, Festival d’ete de Quebec, which takes place up the road in the Plains of Abraham, was mentioned as a not-to-miss event (next year’s festival is scheduled for July 4-14, 2019).
Strolling the City
To start the day, suggest breakfast at Buffet de Antiquaire, a vintage spot near the port that’s located on a street filled with antique shops. If you reach the Patron Saint of Food and Agriculture statue, make a right and you won’t miss it.
When strolling through the city, recommend clients head to Rue de Petit Champlain, which Tetu says is the number one commercial street in Canada. It’s a picturesque street that features a public art piece composed of umbrellas seemingly floating above pedestrians—a perfect social media photo-op. The boutique shops lining the street are great for a little indulgence, too (definitely stop to buy some fudge).
A Day Trip Excursion
Suggest your clients take a day trip to Ile d’Orleans, just a 20-minute car ride away.
The setting here is almost a complete contrast from cosmopolitan Quebec, offering a more laid-back country ambiance. “The island is not a place you rush [through],” says Tetu. “You need to take your time.” We can attest to that. Life seems slower here, and travelers will want to slow down and take in the views and the delicious food, too. Lunch at Cassis Monna et Filles is a must-do; this blackberry producer and vineyard incorporates the fruit in its cocktails (blackberry mojito must be ordered), its salad dressing, its ice cream (delish!), and its wines. There’s a wine room where guests can take part in wine tastings, and fluffy cushions and benches around the property invite guests to relax hillside and enjoy the views.
Tiguidou, a local jam producer, is another highlight while visiting Ile d’Orleans. Here, visitors can purchase homemade jams or locally made tea, and stop for a coffee
Another fun activity is a visit to Parc de la Chute Montmorency, where guests can take a zipline over the Montmorency Falls, or just take the cable car up for some stunning photo-ops or to go on the hiking trail.
As you can see, this cruise destination doesn’t lack in experiences it offers its visitors: from fine dining to adventure, luxury and Old World-style charm.
Port of Quebec: portquebec.ca
Quebec City: quebecregion.com/en