Cruises in the offing to winter wonderland Québec?

Bracing outdoor and vibrant urban winter possibilities in Québec City and Montréal Bracing outdoor and vibrant urban winter possibilities in Québec City and Montréal (Photos courtesy of Cruise the Saint Lawrence)

With interest in cold-weather cruising to such destinations as the Arctic and Antarctica on the upswing, Québec is about to show off its singular blend of bracing outdoor and vibrant urban winter possibilities to cruise line planners firsthand.

In the wake of demonstrated interest by international cruise lines in the wonders of winter at ports across Québec, Cruise the Saint Lawrence is spearheading an initiative to promote the development of winter explorer cruises for adventure travelers in search of authenticity and Nordic experiences.

In the coming days Cruise the Saint Lawrence will be marketing the merits of winter season cruising during a familiarization trip for a handful of cruise line planners.

Representatives of three international cruise lines, and Seatrade Cruise News, will be setting off to discover what winter has to offer in Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec and Saguenay. Program activities include urban discovery tours, ice skating, tobogganing, a taste of Carnaval de Québec and the city’s famed ice hotel, dog sledding, skidooing and ice fishing.

Other possibilities that won't be experienced on this trip but will be presented to participants include insight into Innu culture in winter, baby seal observation on the ice floes off Iles de la Madeleine and skiing in the Chic-Choc mountains of the Gaspé Peninsula.

Navigating the Saint Lawrence, Saguenay Fjord and Gulf of Saint Lawrence in winter can present challenges for cruise operators. As such, officials from Transport Canada, local port administrations, the Canadian Coast Guard, Laurentian Pilotage Authority and other relevant authorities will be leading a technical briefing for the cruise line planners to detail technical requirements and services available to ensure ship and passenger safety.

The upcoming familiarization trip represents a first, not only for Québec but also for the entire Canada/New England cruise region. During the tour, winter offerings will be highlighted in Québec, across Atlantic Canada, the coast of Maine, Boston and New York.

Participants will be outfitted by Chlorophylle, a Québec-based manufacturer of upmarket outdoor gear that sees the commercial potential in the prospect of a winter cruise season.

Cruise the Saint Lawrence groups nine ports along the Saint Lawrence River. The organization's mission is to grow cruising in Québec and across Destination Canada/New England by providing marketing and development services to members. Cruise the Saint Lawrence is supported by partners Tourism Québec, Québec Tourism Industry Alliance and Industry, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Posted 06 February 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review