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Cruises to Halifax

Halifax (Photo:Maurizio De Mattei/Shutterstock)
Halifax (Photo:Maurizio De Mattei/Shutterstock)

About Halifax

Halifax, Nova Scotia's capital city and the gateway to Atlantic Canada, has numerous identities. Home to the second-largest natural harbor in the world, it draws a major share of Canada's container trade and oodles of cruise ship visits in the late summer and early fall (although more recently, ships are beginning to visit in the early summer months). A few streets inland, there are many sights to take in, and while gorgeous coastal scenery begins just outside the city limits, especially during the spectacular autumn foliage displays, the waterfront is also a delight to explore.

Halifax also has a strong connection to the sinking of the Titanic since it played a key role during the aftermath of the tragedy. Three of the city's ships were sent out to recover bodies, and so it is the final resting place for many unclaimed victims. In fact, three cemeteries throughout Halifax feature rows of black granite headstones, each inscribed with the same date: April 15, 1912.

But beyond the scenery and history, Halifax is just plain fun. It's a youthful, energetic town, home to several colleges and universities, that boasts a downtown area chock-full of pubs, clubs and cafes, as well as a restored waterfront that once welcomed traders and privateers. Throughout the year, you can enjoy music festivals, outdoor concerts and even old-fashioned Celtic ceilidhs (read: lively folk dances, often accompanied by fiddle).

It's this rich culture that has boosted the Canada and New England region's cruise popularity. (The fact that Halifax is easy to include on short four- or five-day Canadian itineraries is also a draw.) Annually, Halifax hosts more than 130 ship visits between early May and late October from lines that include Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Seabourn.

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DAY 1: New York

15 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Reykjavik ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: New York

16 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Reykjavik ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: New York

16 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Reykjavik ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Boston

7 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Belfast ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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164 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Portland, Bar Harbor ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Halifax, Qaqortoq ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Charlottetown, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Portland, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Saguenay Fjord ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Kirkwall, Akureyri ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Newport, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Portland ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Charlottetown, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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53 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Saguenay Fjord ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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28 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
New York, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Portland, Bar Harbor ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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10 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Saguenay Fjord, Charlottetown ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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4 Night
Cruise to Halifax

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Why go to Halifax?

Pros:

This welcoming city is easily walkable and exudes an air of maritime history.

Cons:

The best time to visit is in the fall, when leaves are at their peak, so the window is small.

Bottom Line:

Book early to guarantee a prime-time visit to this charming port.

Halifax Cruise Port Facilities?

The Halifax Seaport area has been specifically redeveloped and designed to service cruise ships and welcome cruise passengers to Halifax. Even visitors short on time can easily find plenty of local shops, restaurants and other vendors without stepping foot into Downtown Halifax.

Piers 22 and 20 are the principle cruise ship berths offering passengers access to dedicated cruise terminals, Pavilions 22 and 20. Pavilion 22 offers a unique and friendly shopping experience and Pavilion 20 offers an open space ideal for meeting tours; buses, taxis and limousines are conveniently located in front of the terminals. Pier 23, the Cunard Centre, is also used for cruise activities.

Halifax's picturesque waterfront is easy to explore on foot -- and close. Even if you're not in the mood to shop, stroll the boardwalk that zigzags along the harbor, lined with shops, restaurants and attractions.

Those looking to convene with nature need only walk just outside the seaport to Point Pleasant Park (5718 Point Pleasant Drive). This green space has about 25 miles of easy, winding trails, preserved ruins and fortresses, and frequently hosts outdoor theater performances under Shakespeare by the Sea.

Good to Know?

Be aware that weather can change frequently -- from chilly one minute to warm the next. It's often breezy, too; dress in layers.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The main waterfront attractions begin at the start of the boardwalk and continue on for the next three quarters of a mile.

By Taxi: Taxis line up outside the terminal. Alamo (800-462-5266) and National (800-227-7368) have reservation desks down the street from the Westin Nova Scotian hotel, a large red-brick building, just five minutes from your ship on foot.

By Bike: If you want something more active, a short stroll down the boardwalk brings you to a bike rental stand, where, for $9 an hour or $25 for a half-day, you can grab a bike and pedal your way around the city. A Segway tour stand is also nearby.

By Rideshare: Rideshare services, like Uber, are available in Halifax, however we recommend booking a private tour, if you can, through the region's largest tour provider, Ambassatours (902-423-6242). The company -- now the largest in Canada -- comes from humble beginnings and your guide will likely be wearing a kilt.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency in Halifax is the Canadian dollar, but most shops will accept American dollars. If you don't want to risk it, you'll find ample ATMs at the nearby Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market. For the most up to date currency conversions, visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com.

Language?

The vast majority of Haligonians speak English, but a smattering of folks also speak French.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2017 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations

Halifax Cruise Reviews

Caribbean Princess
SignorinaPinguina
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Great port. Did not do an excursion. We walked along the beautiful boardwalk, took a fun duck boat tour, and visited the Maritime Museum. Lunch at The Bicycle Thief was very good. The waterfront area was lovely... Read More
Norwegian Gem
JsEscape2
Sail Date: Sep 2019
We had arranged a tour "Best of Halifax and Peggy's Cove" through Shore Excursions before we left on the cruise. Good tour with historical and present day information about Halifax that included the great explosion... Read More
Regal Princess
Pixachii
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Halifax was canceled on our cruise, which was sad because we were looking forward to it. I guess that's just a reason to take this cruise again.... Read More
MSC Meraviglia
SeniorCruiseClan
Sail Date: Oct 2019
I HAD an excursion but they couldn't get enough other folks interested to persuade the ship's crew to do one last trip after they had closed for the season. While frustrating, there's enough to do in Halifax that... Read More
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