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Cruises to Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)

Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) (Photo:Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock)

About Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)

The Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) promotes itself as the "Gentle Island," but its popular claim to fame lies in its ties to the famous fictional character of the 1908 children's classic, "Anne of Green Gables." One hundred years ago, PEI author Lucy Maud Montgomery drew inspiration for the setting of her classic novel from the island where she grew up during the late Victorian Era. The story has been translated into 15 languages and adapted for film, stage and television. When venturing around the island, you can easily see where her inspiration came from: quiet agricultural communities, lush green landscapes, fishing villages, lighthouses that dot the coastline, red sandstone cliffs and, of course, green-gabled houses.

Prince Edward Island is located north of the province of Nova Scotia and is connected to the province of New Brunswick on the west by the 13-kilometer (9-mile) Confederation Bridge. The island's largest urban area, with 35,000 residents, is Charlottetown, situated centrally on PEI's southern shore and on the Northumberland Strait. On the north side of the island is PEI's National Park and the Cavendish area, which is home to many Anne-related attractions.

Before PEI was all about Anne, the island province hosted the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 -- the first meeting in the creation of Canada, which resulted in the Confederation of Canada in 1867. As for the economy, agriculture is still the number-one industry in PEI, with 30 percent of the nation's potatoes grown on the island in the unique red-hued earth. (There's even a Potato Museum on the island.) Tourism comes in second on PEI, and it's continually growing.

Upon arriving in Charlottetown by cruise ship, passengers are met by sounds of fiddling and Islanders (a nickname collectively referring to the residents) dressed in Celtic costumes performing traditional step dancing. These performances are a reflection of the ethnic makeup of the island, as more than 60 percent of the residents are of Scottish or Irish descent. From the terminal building, a winding boardwalk wraps around the harbor adjacent to many of the shops and restaurants on Peake's Wharf. The self-guided Historic Walk, mapped out by PEI Tourism, highlights 19th-century architecture, and the stroll takes you from the Wharf, up Great George Street, by Victoria Row on Richmond Street, and then up West Street to end by the foot of Victoria Park at Kent Street.

Of course, no visit to PEI would be complete without a sampling of the fares of the land and sea. Dining musts include PEI's potatoes and local seafood like Malpeque Bay oysters, PEI lobsters or cultured blue mussels, all served fresh.

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Why go to Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)?

Pros:

Welcoming locals, historic buildings and delicious seafood are just a few of many draws

Cons:

Some of the more interesting sites aren't within walking distance of the port

Bottom Line:

After a day in Charlottetown, you might not want to leave

Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) Cruise Port Facilities?

Directly in front of the cruise terminal is Founders' Hall (Canada's Birthplace Pavilion) and the Charlottetown Visitor Centre, where visitors can pick up maps and brochures. Also on the waterfront is Peake's Wharf Historic Waterfront Merchants for souvenir shopping, homemade ice cream and fresh seafood. You'll also find live music there in the summer. Keep walking, and you'll also come upon the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre. All of these are connected by a lovely boardwalk that's ideal for a stroll along the water.

Good to Know?

Dress in layers, as the weather can change suddenly. Beyond that, Prince Edward Island is beautiful, easy to navigate and inhabited by some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Be careful, or you might find yourself not ever wanting to leave.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Since the ship docks right in the heart of town, many attractions are within a few blocks of each other. This is one of the most pedestrian friendly cities we've cruised to, and you can spend a whole day strolling the small city, visiting historic attractions and even taking in a theatrical performance.

By Bike: Go Wheelin' (877-286-6532) offers bike rentals for $20 for a half day or $30 for a full day. They are located at the Charlottetown Visitor Centre on the Historic Waterfront.

By Taxi: Co-op Taxi Line (902-892-1111 or 902-628-8200) has cars waiting at the pier. You can take a local ride, or arrange for an island tour for a per-car hourly rate.

By Rental Car: National Car (800-227-7368) has a kiosk in Founders' Hall. Rates include unlimited mileage.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Many retailers will accept U.S. dollars, but not always at the official exchange rate. Canadian money comes in the same denominations as U.S. money, with the same names: quarter, dime and so forth. However, there is no paper Canadian one-dollar bill. Instead, there is a one-dollar coin, nicknamed the Loonie, and a two-dollar coin called the Toonie. The most convenient way to exchange money is to use your ATM card at a bank or kiosk. (The closest kiosk is in Founders' Hall by the cruise terminal.) Check www.xe.com for the latest exchange rates.

Language?

English is the primary language on PEI, although French may be spoken in certain regions.

Where You're Docked?

Historic Charlottetown Seaport is located right downtown. After a recent $18 million investment to upgrade its cruise ship facilities, Charlottetown now has a lengthened berth to allow larger vessels to visit. There is also a Cruise Welcome Centre, which houses clean bathrooms, tour operator kiosks and souvenir stands operated by local vendors.


Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) Cruise Reviews
Charlottetown is a quaint city in the idyllic province of Prince Edward Island. The food is fantastic and the city is quite walkable.Read More
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paddyo
We caught the Prince Edward Island tour bus at the Founders Hall a short walking distance from the port. We had booked ahead of time to make sure we had a spot, but others just walked up and paid that day. It was aRead More
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JsEscape2
Drive around island with lunchRead More
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Krustycruier
We decided to rent electric bikes here at a place half a mile up the street called Outer Limit Sports. They set us up with the bikes and directed us to the island long bike trail. we spent the day riding through someRead More
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Keith63

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