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Cruises to Saguenay

Port of Saguenay (Photo: Sylvie Gauthier)
Port of Saguenay (Photo: Sylvie Gauthier)

About Saguenay

Come September, when many ships dock or anchor at La Baie on fall foliage cruises, the village charm instantly unfolds portside. Immediate visuals include cheerily painted houses and crimson- and gold-hued trees in lush hills beyond. This neat-as-a-pin village is easily walked on a delightful stroll.

Saguenay (Sag-uh-NAY), founded as a French colonial trading post, is a city with three boroughs, including La Baie. It's linked with nearby Lac Saint-Jean as a tourism region and playground for Quebecois, drawing folks from more urban areas like Quebec City, about 130 miles to the south. The downtown and cultural districts are in nearby Chicoutimi, about a 20-minute drive from the cruise terminal.

Most passengers book tours showcasing the area's unspoiled natural beauty. The Saguenay River Fjord, one of the 10 longest in the world, and the southernmost navigable fjord in North America, ranks as the primo lure. Sculpted by ancient glaciers, the 60-mile-long, 1-mile-wide fjord is lined with towering cliffs up to 1,150 feet tall, and plunges to depths of up to 900 feet. You might spot whales, falcons and other wildlife on tours, so bring a camera. Explore this majestic waterway by land, boat or even helicopter and seaplane -- each transport guarantees thrills.

Another port option is to take in the 30-year-running iconic musical revue called "La Fabuleuse." The show stars about 100 enthusiastic volunteer actors and showcases the region's dramatic history (including a great fire, landslide and flood). This revue offers everything from fireworks and vintage cars to cannon blasts.

Or, board a hop-on, hop-off bus for an easy-peasy visit through La Baie and other boroughs. Local artisan tours are another fun way to pass the day. One foodie tour showcases Saguenay's indigenous products; you might visit a cheese factory and try blueberry sparkling wine at a nearby farm, while another tour includes stops at a family-owned goat farm and a glassblowing workshop.

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DAY 1: Boston

7 Night
Cruise to Saguenay

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite
DAY 1: Boston

7 Night
Cruise to Saguenay

Leaving:
Boston
Visiting:
Bar Harbor, Halifax ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Toronto

14 Night
Cruise to Saguenay

Leaving:
Toronto
Visiting:
Montreal, Quebec City ...
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Cruise Line:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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DAY 1: New York

12 Night
Cruise to Saguenay

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Charlottetown ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Expeditions
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12 Night
Cruise to Saguenay

Leaving:
Toronto
Visiting:
Troisrivieres, Quebec City ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Expeditions
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Why go to Saguenay?

Pros:

A main draw is the awe-inspiring Saguenay Fjord and its stunning surrounding beauty

Cons:

You need to travel outside the port village to best explore Saguenay

Bottom Line:

La Baie's village center charms with friendly locals, artisan boutiques and tempting eateries

Saguenay Cruise Port Facilities?

Ships dock or anchor at La Baie, on the shores of Ha Ha Bay. Actors of the iconic "La Fabuleuse" show often greet cruisers garbed in colorful costumes, doing handstands, juggling and other impressive feats. After enjoying their dockside mini-performance, head inside to the resource-filled cruise pavilion. Besides crafters hawking wares, there's an excellent information desk, spotless restrooms, a cafe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Good to Know?

Canadian French is different in its accent and expressions from the French we know a la France. So don't be surprised if your high school French fails you (beyond the basics) in Canada. Fortunately, locals speak some English, and are overwhelmingly friendly and eager to assist visiting cruisers. And like anywhere in the world, thank you (merci in French), goes a long way.

Getting Around?

On Foot: It's a five-minute stroll from the pier into La Baie's village center to shops and eateries. The village itself consists of just a few streets. It's nearly impossible to get lost, but if you need directions back to the pier, locals are only too willing to assist.

By Hop-on, Hop-Off Bus: This shuttle bus offers two Saguenay tours; one is the 60-minute Fjord Museum Circuit, with stops including a shopping center, fjord museum and glassmaker and sculpture studio. The second, the 75-minute Downtown and Cultural Area Circuit, features visits to a cathedral, regional museum and public market. These shuttles usually run every 20 minutes when ships are in town and charge $15 for adults.

By Taxi: You can book a taxi at the cruise pavilion. The taxis offer tours around the region or will simply take you where you want to go. Credit cards and U.S. dollars are accepted.

By Car Rental: National Car Rental office is located within the cruise pavilion. You can download their mobile app for a self-guided tour.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Canada's currency is the Canadian dollar. Visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com for current rates. Credit cards, particularly MasterCard and Visa, are accepted nearly everywhere. Local shops usually accept U.S. dollars, but change will be given in Canadian currency. The closest ATM to the cruise terminal is across the street, in front of Au Pavillon Noir restaurant.

Language?

The region is primarily French-speaking and signage is mostly in French. But English is spoken in tourism and service areas, including the cruise port terminal.


Saguenay Cruise Reviews

Gastroinn
Sail Date: Oct 2018
The town itself is small and not that much to do. Nice place to wander around. The cruise up the Saguenay River to get there is the high point. Very Fjord like.... Read More
Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
2freespirits
Sail Date: Sep 2018
Saguenay, Quebec Sunshine greeted us in Saguenay, but a cold wind caused by the long fetch up the fjord kept many visitors under cover. TIP: if visiting this port in the autumn, we recommend taking gloves and... Read More
Norwegian Gem
Chorel
Sail Date: Sep 2018
Wow! The people of Saguenay Quebec go over the top to welcome cruise visitors. It is such a beautiful area to drive around.... Read More
Silver Whisper
RonOhio
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Not much going on in late October... Read More
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