• Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Cruises to Sydney (Nova Scotia)

160 Reviews
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.

  • More about Sydney (Nova Scotia)

  • Why go to Sydney (Nova Scotia)?

  • Sydney (Nova Scotia) Cruise Port Facilities?

Loading...

We found you 127 cruises

Loading...
Loading...
Zaandam
Zaandam Cabins

7 Night
Canada & New England DiscoveryDetails

534 Reviews
Leaving:Montreal
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips
Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

8 Night
Canada & New England - New YorkDetails

364 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips
Norwegian Pearl
Norwegian Pearl

7 Night
Canada & New England - BostonDetails

2,351 Reviews
Leaving:Boston
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips
Norwegian Prima
Norwegian Prima (Image: Norwegian Cruise Line)

11 Night
Europe - IcelandDetails

82 Reviews
Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
May 14, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

11 Night
The Atlantic CoastDetails

534 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Apr 18, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

7 Night
Canada & New England - OtherDetails

2,351 Reviews
Leaving:Quebec City
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

11 Night
Fall Foliage Southbound CruiseDetails

1,619 Reviews
Leaving:Quebec City
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Oct 9, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

7 Night
Canada & New England DiscoveryDetails

534 Reviews
Leaving:Boston
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

7 Night
Canada & New England - OtherDetails

364 Reviews
Leaving:Quebec City
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips
Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
The Atlantic CoastDetails

1,011 Reviews
Leaving:Quebec City
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Sep 30, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

7 Night
Canada & New England - BostonDetails

2,351 Reviews
Leaving:Boston
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

7 Night
Historic CoastsDetails

534 Reviews
Leaving:Boston
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

13 Night
Canada / New England CruiseDetails

2,684 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jul 22, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips
Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Canada & New England DiscoveryDetails

1,011 Reviews
Leaving:Boston
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

10 Night
Canada / New England CruiseDetails

2,684 Reviews
Leaving:Quebec City
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Prices
  • Cruise Tips

More about Sydney (Nova Scotia)

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
Sydney is a fairly small town in a nice setting. The surrounding countryside was green and beautiful. We walked into town and enjoyed seeing the old houses and churches. We've done land-based trips in Cape Breton Read More
User Avatar
westcoaster
We did the Alexander Graham Bell museum. It was pretty disappointing. We barely had an hour to go through a museum that, at best, needed three. I spent the entire hour taking photos of all the exhibits and what was wRead More
User Avatar
RyTheITGuy
The town was as pretty as we remembered but had obviously been damaged by 'Fiona'. Our afternoon trip to a Highland Village was a run out through lovely countryside to a historical open museum. Rather more Scottish tRead More
User Avatar
AdeAfloat
If you stay in town , you can walk to the historical houses and churches within10 minutes on your own, skip the walking tour. Pretty town .Read More
User Avatar
cancruise2

Related Cruises

Cruises to Newport

Cruises to Newport

250 Reviews
Cruises to Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)

Cruises to Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)

223 Reviews
Cruises to Kauai

Cruises to Kauai

615 Reviews
Cruises to Riga

Cruises to Riga

85 Reviews
Cruises to Santiago (Valparaiso)

Cruises to Santiago (Valparaiso)

123 Reviews
Cruises to Berlin

Cruises to Berlin

230 Reviews
Cruises to Falmouth

Cruises to Falmouth

1,552 Reviews
Cruises to Honfleur

Cruises to Honfleur

58 Reviews
Cruises to Koh Samui

Cruises to Koh Samui

126 Reviews
Cruises to Perth (Fremantle)

Cruises to Perth (Fremantle)

101 Reviews
Cruises to Saint-Malo

Cruises to Saint-Malo

14 Reviews
Cruises to Walvis Bay

Cruises to Walvis Bay

6 Reviews
Cruises to Durban

Cruises to Durban

96 Reviews
Cruises to Bimini

Cruises to Bimini

202 Reviews
Cruises to Salerno

Cruises to Salerno

57 Reviews
Cruises to Townsville

Cruises to Townsville

Cruises to Melk

Cruises to Melk

138 Reviews
Cruises to Cinque Terre

Cruises to Cinque Terre

348 Reviews
Cruises to Skagen

Cruises to Skagen

95 Reviews
Cruises to Argostoli (Kefalonia)

Cruises to Argostoli (Kefalonia)

139 Reviews
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy and Cookies Statement and Terms of Use.
About UsCruise DestinationsFirst Time CruisersFind A Cruise

Share your feedback

International Sites

© 1995—2023, The Independent Traveler, Inc.

  • Privacy and Cookies Statement

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Map

  • Cookie Consent