Become a Cruise Insider
Tips, deals and more in your inbox.
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Canadian Empress Review

Canadian Empress
70% of cruisers loved it
10 reviews | Write a Review
  • Riverboat experience offering Victorian-era vibe
  • Tours included in fare on destination-focused cruises
  • Prompt, courteous and efficient services

Canadian Empress Overview

Editor Rating
2.5
Canadian Empress is a riverboat that, while built in 1981, attempts to replicate a Victorian era atmosphere. And it works, not just in decor but in onboard ambiance, ultimately offering a cruise experience that for most of us -- particularly big ship ocean-cruising aficionados -- could seem somewhat precious and quaint.

But wait. You may be in for a very pleasant surprise. True, Canadian Empress, which hails from the one-ship (and family-owned and -operated) St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, isn't fancy. Cabins have no balconies, marble bathrooms with fancy amenities (bring your own shampoo) or in-cabin televisions. In fact, you have to book pretty early just to get a cabin with a double bed (aside from a handful that are so equipped, otherwise, all cabins have single beds). Meals are a communal -- though casual -- affair; dining is at set hours and you order off a set menu (with at most two entree choices) though you can choose your tablemates. And entertainment is provided -- not by casino or elaborate lounge acts -- but, as befits the ship's laidback atmosphere -- by a series of performers, ranging from a musicians to a comedian/songster that hold forth for two hours each night in the grand salon (dining room-reading room-show lounge-bar).

On Canadian Empress, the real focus was on our destinations -- on our trip the ship sailed the venerable St. Lawrence Seaway, which straddles Ontario and Quebec, Canada, and New York State. There was much emphasis on educational touring. Beyond that, crew worked very hard -- and it must be said succeeded mightily! -- in creating a wonderful onboard camaraderie for people who genuinely want to mix-n-mingle. So while a trip on Canadian Empress might not be a great choice for solitude seekers or honeymooners (or young kids), it's a marvelous experience for those who really want to learn something from the cruise they take -- and make some lifelong friends in the bargain.

Canadian Empress sails two- to six-night itineraries between May - October along the St. Laurence Seaway cruise. Starting ports include Kingston, Montreal and Quebec City.

Canadian Empress Fellow Passengers

Passengers by and large hailed from Canada or the U.S. (with a few Germans and Britons in the mix). Most were well traveled and, age-wise, well past retirement. Interestingly, many of them were devoted river cruisers who'd never even considered travel on a contemporary ocean-going cruise ship.

Canadian Empress Dress Code

There's really no dress code - casual wear is the watchword. There are no formal nights though people did dress a bit more spiffy (business casual) on the cruise's last evening.

Canadian Empress Gratuity

A gratuity of $10 per person, per day is recommended and passengers settle up via tip envelopes on the voyage's last day. You can also charge tips to a credit card.
Next: Canadian Empress Cabins
Print the entire ship review

Canadian Empress Member Reviews

Perfectly Planned Vstallin109
07/15
Smooth sailing!! We were so fortunate to have 24 people on board (capacity is 60 people per the cruise line literature). So easy to communicate with the staff and other passengers. St Lawrence Cruise Lines included all excursion costs and ... Read more
Disappointing Lizbicknell
06/15
The cruise of the St. Lawrence River with the St. Lawrence Cruise Lines aboard the Canadian Empress was very disappointing. This is not an inexpensive cruise and one would expect first class service. However the opposite was true. The ship is ... Read more
06/15
We did a six night cruise on the Canadian Empress from Quebec City to Kingston. While there were a few positive aspects, notably very good food and evening entertainment, overall this cruise did not come anywhere close to meeting our expectations. ... Read more
1 - 3 of 10 Reviews

Canadian Empress Ratings

Editor Rating 2.5 Member Rating
Category
Editor
Member
Dining
3.0
4.3
Public Rooms
4.1
Cabins
3.2
Entertainment
2.0
4.1
Spa & Fitness
2.2
Family & Children
1.0
Shore Excursions
4.4
Enrichment
3.8
Service
4.6
Value-for-Money
3.4

Explore This Ship

Ship Stats
Crew:
14
Launched:
September 1981
Decks:
4
Tonnage:
321
Passengers:
66
Registry:
Canada
CDC Score:
Not Yet Inspected

Community

Join the Forums Get answers from real cruisers on the forums

St. Lawrence Ships

Canadian Empress

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.