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Cruises to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Sydney (Nova Scotia) (Photo:oksana.perkins/Shutterstock)
Sydney (Nova Scotia) (Photo:oksana.perkins/Shutterstock)

About Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Sydney is a city in transition. For a long time it was known mainly as an industrial center, one of Canada's major coal and steel suppliers. In the past, cruise passengers typically left the town for nearby excursions, like the beautiful Bras d'Or Lakes area and town of Baddeck, where Alexander Graham Bell lived and worked. The Fortress of Louisbourg, the largest historic reconstruction in North America, lures many visitors, and the Cabot Trail is one of Canada's most scenic drives.

But today's Sydney is an increasingly interesting place to visit. When the mills and mines closed for good in 2001, the city turned its eyes to the harbor and the 70,000 cruise-ship passengers who arrive each season. By concentrating on tourism, Sydney is making the most of its rich history and its position as the major city on beautiful Cape Breton Island.

British loyalists fleeing the American Revolution founded the town in 1785, and the settlement soon prospered from its rich natural resources. In its industrial heyday, jobs in the steel factories and coal mines attracted settlers from many lands, including many who emigrated from the Scottish Highlands. Their influence is still evident. Cape Breton is one of the rare places in North America where Gaelic is still spoken, and Celtic music is heard everywhere. Visitors can have their photos taken just outside the cruise terminal with the world's largest fiddle, a 50-foot reminder of this musical heritage.

The North End of town will remind a bit of New England, with six buildings built in the late 18th century, including steepled churches and homes dating to the 1780s. Enthusiastic guides help bring the past to life. A growing boardwalk along the ocean winds near the handsome Open Hearth Park. Opened in 2013 after a 10-year restoration, it is visible proof of the city's rejuvenation, replacing eyesore waste dumps from the old industries with green lawns, walking paths, playgrounds and ball fields.

The city's native Canadian Mi'kmaq community known as Membertou has its own Heritage Park with a museum and excellent shop of native crafts. And Sydney is emerging as a culinary center, with talented young chefs bringing an international flavor to town. This is a festival town, as well, with many events timed for the peak cruise season. The late summer Action Week is a nine-day community festival featuring concerts, street performers and parades. Creative chefs have inspired the growing annual Right Some Good food festival in late August, and October brings the music-filled Celtic Colours International Festival.

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DAY 1: Boston

7 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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164 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Los Angeles
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Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: New York

10 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
New York
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Newport, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Boston

12 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Saguenay Fjord ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Portland, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Portland, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
St. John's, Saint-Pierre ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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15 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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22 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Dublin, Belfast ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Charlottetown ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Saguenay Fjord, Charlottetown ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Charleston, Newport ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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56 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Dover
Visiting:
Invergordon, Lerwick ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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52 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Dover
Visiting:
Invergordon, Lerwick ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
Quebec City, Saguenay Fjord ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Montreal
Visiting:
St. John's, Saint-Pierre ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Quebec City
Visiting:
Charlottetown, Sydney ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Newport, Boston ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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10 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Boston, Portland ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Portland, Saint John ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Why go to Sydney (Nova Scotia)?

Pros:

In addition to being a jumping off point for many scenic excursions, Sydney is full of culture and history

Cons:

The city is undergoing a transition from its long history as an industrial hub

Bottom Line:

Tourism is a relatively new industry for the formerly industrial Sydney, and it's doing it well

Sydney (Nova Scotia) Cruise Port Facilities?

Besides offering information and walking tour maps, The Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion at the dock is a destination in itself. You can spend hours here, browsing a crafts market with some 55 vendors, nine boutiques selling jewelry, clothing and fine crafts, and an art gallery. There's also a small cafe and Flavor on the Water restaurant.

Along with the world's largest fiddle outside, the pavilion boasts what might be the largest indoor lighthouse. It houses a theater with changing videos, including one on the making of the big fiddle. The main stage arena hosts live concerts, especially during festivals.

Good to Know?

Sydney is a safe city, but as in any port of call, it's best to leave unnecessary valuables and cash in your stateroom's safe.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The sights of the town are easily walkable from the pier.

By Car: Taxis wait outside the pavilion for those who want guided tours or want to explore farther destinations. Most major car rental companies including Avis, Budget and Alamo, have offices in Sydney, and will send a car to bring cruise passengers with reservations to the rental office.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency in Sydney is the Canadian dollar, but many shops will accept American dollars. If you don't want to risk it, you'll find an ATM at the cruise pavilion. For the most updated currency-conversion figures, visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com.

Language?

Everyone speaks English, but the many nationalities who came for work in the mines and mills and the large native Mi'kmaq population in Sydney mean that you might hear a smattering of other languages. You might even hear a bit of Gaelic.

Where You're Docked?

Ships moor in town, a five-minute walk to Charlotte Street and the town center.


Sydney (Nova Scotia) Cruise Reviews

Caribbean Princess
bcnvcanada
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Local bus to North Sydney, easy to do and gives one a nice overview of the area. We have driven the Arcadian road before. If you haven't done it rent a car and do some of it.... Read More
Norwegian Gem
Lafexpress
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Ok weather was still a little rough, Sydney had a nice closed shopping district, probably the best port of all.... Read More
St Pete Cruiser
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Went to Sydney Mines along the entrance bay road. Walked the waterfront boardwalk and part of the central city. Nice day.... Read More
Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
2freespirits
Sail Date: Sep 2018
Sydney, Nova Scotia The world’s largest violin (60 feet tall) welcomes visitors on the dock side. Sydney isn’t a very big place, so we decided to enjoy a walking tour of the town, including a visit to the dark... Read More
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