My Boston-Montreal cruise aboard Le Boréal: Highlights

I tried to be diligent about posting daily during my 10-day cruise from Boston to Montreal aboard Ponant’s Le Boréal, a sleek yacht-like vessel that carries about 200 passengers. But I was so busy having a good time during the last few days that I never mentioned the last two ports: Saguenay and Québec City – and those were two really excellent ports. There were so many choices during our time in Saguenay: a hike in the …

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Le Boréal Meets Beluga Whales and Black Bear at Tadoussac

Before Le Boréal even docks at Tadoussac, an announcement comes over the ship’s p.a. system: “Beluga whale swimming at 11 o’clock.” Everyone rushes to an open deck and aims cameras at the open sea. I can just about make out the whale – but the zoom on my camera is way too puny to get the shot. (I’m posting late — the ship’s Internet was out for more than 12 hours because of its position in relation …

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Le Boréal at Havre Saint-Pierre

Monolith Madame Niapiskau After cruising overnight, we arrive at Havre Saint-Pierre, a small town on the Quebec north shore of the Saint Lawrence River. As not many ships call here, the people here seem really glad we’re here, greeting us with friendly smiles and  hearty Bonjours and  Bienvenues. (Some even take our pictures – or perhaps it’s our beautiful ship that attracts them.) The town’s first inhabitants came from the Magdalen Islands (which we visited a couple …

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Le Boréal Goes to the Birds

Once again, a gorgeous sunny day as Le Boréal heads towards Percé. From my balcony I can just make out Bonaventure Island at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. This afternoon I’ll visit the national park on the island, and I can hardly wait. So far, my favorite photo subjects of all time have been the penguins on Antarctica, but today that may change, for the island is home to the world’s largest and most accessible gannet …

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Le Boreal Docks in the Magdalen Islands (Iles de la Madeleine)

It’s a glorious sunny fall day as we dock at Cap Aux Meules. We’ll be visiting several sites in this archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec. Our tour, we’re told, will give us a sense of the area’s maritime and Acadian history. Upon arrival we see the flags of Canada and Acadia; the latter resembles the tricolor …

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Le Boreal visits Louisbourg, North America’s largest historic reconstruction

It was chilly and dank as Le Boreal pulled into Louisbourg. The dock was about 25 feet shorter than the ship and configured in such a way that made it necessary to use tenders. We were greeted at the dock by a smiling lady in 18th century period costume. A short bus ride and we arrived at the Fortress of Louisbourg, a National Historic Site of Canada and North America’s largest historic reconstruction. The original settlement, called …

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Le Boreal in Halifax

Le Boreal was welcomed to Halifax by kilted musicians, a bagpiper and drummer. Crystal’s Symphony and Silversea’s Silver Whisper were already here, docked in the world’s second largest natural harbor (Sydney, Australia is the first). After clearing Canadian customs, the various tour groups disembarked. My 3 ½ hour city tour was led by Barb, a kilted local who told our group that there were probably more kilts here in Nova Scotia (New Scotland) than in Scotland. Cameras …

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Ponant’s Le Boreal Cruises from Boston to Montreal

So here I am, the first full day of my cruise from Boston to Montreal aboard Ponant’s Le Boreal. After listening to a lecture on the history of Acadia, starting from the 11th century, the passengers who were taking a tour boarded a tender that took us into Bar Harbor. This place is so picturesque, it could be a movie set. Our tour bus climbed into magnificent Acadia National Park,49,000 glorious acres, all donated by such wealthy Americans as …

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Le Boréal: Small ship cruising, French-style

When I board a small ship, I sometimes feel like Donald Trump (but with better hair). Though I don’t own a yacht, on a small ship I know I’m about to have a yachting-style experience: a sophisticated, service-oriented voyage, the intimacy of a single-seating dining room, the quiet of a vessel that carries few or no small children, the luxury of private spaces in which to relax, the ease of arriving in port with no crowds rushing …

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