Halifax (Photo:Maurizio De Mattei/Shutterstock)
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Brittany Chrusciel
Cruise Critic Associate Editor

Port of 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.

About Halifax


Pro

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

Con

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.


Find a Cruise to Canada & New England

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.

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.

Shopping

Some of the finest crystal in the world is made in Nova Scotia. Pick up a mouth-blown, hand-cut piece at NovaScotian Crystal on the boardwalk or at one of the 21 Dockside Shops located right at Pier 22 All vendors here sell regionally handcrafted products.

Other great places to do some buying or browsing include Bishop's Landing along the Halifax boardwalk. Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory is a boardwalk mainstay, and you'll also find Sugah!, a candy shop that sells prepackaged treats, as well as the store's own brand of chocolates, candy bars with interesting flavor combinations, and other confections like trail mix and chocolate-covered blueberries. Historic Properties at Privateers Wharf is at the end of the boardwalk toward Duke Street, and made up of a collection of boutiques, impulse eateries and pubs housed in 10 wood and stone buildings dating back to the early 1800s. Spring Garden Road, in town, is filled with more than 200 retail stores. Back near the cruise ship, the Seaport is full of unique boutiques like Designer Craft Shop and East Coast Lifestyle.


Halifax Awards

Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards

2016 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations