Quebec City (Photo:mervas/Shutterstock)
2018 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Marcia Levin
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Quebec City

Sidewalk cafes by the dozen, baguettes in bicycle baskets, the classic French shoulder shrug, charming pedestrian-friendly plazas and squares, and residents with a special Gallic grace and beauty. Am I in Avignon? Lyon? St. Tropez? Non, mon ami, just a bit north of the U.S.

About Quebec City


The cafes, orchards and art-lined streets of Quebec City will charm your pants off


If you're unsteady on your feet, cobblestones and curvy routes with stairs could be troublesome

Bottom Line

Old Quebec transports you to a picturesque version of France-meets-North America

Find a Cruise to Canada & New England

Quebec City offers a savory taste of Europe right here in North America. Think of it as France without the attitude. Friendly locals convey that sense of romance and Old World charm found across the Atlantic, making Quebec City a wonderfully distinctive port of call on Canada/New England cruises.

The city is located within the St. Lawrence River Valley, framed to the north by the majestic Laurentian Mountains and to the south by the Appalachian foothills and mountains leading to New England. The St. Lawrence River, flowing beneath the cliffs of Upper Town (dominated by the regal Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, one of the world's great hotels) swirls into the Atlantic and explains the colonization of this part of the world.

Settlement occurred in four phases: Native Amerindians, the French, the British and finally, the Canadian Confederation in 1867. Chosen as a site for a permanent trading post in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec's name comes from an Algonquin word for "where the river narrows." The year 1608 marked the beginning of a continual French presence in the area. In the 17th and 18th centuries, several historic battles were fought there among the French, British, Americans and native peoples. Rusted cannon balls still can be seen lodged in trees and buildings in the Old City. It remains the only walled city in the U.S. and Canada.

Quebec City is delightful for fall foliage and impressive with its boughs of green and remarkable light in spring and summer -- all seasons that find cruise ships in town. Summer temperatures average in the 70s, but on spring and autumn cruises, a jacket will be a necessity.

Where You're Docked

Ships dock at Le Vieux Port or La Basse-Ville (the Old Port or the Old City), where the Saint Charles River enters the St. Lawrence. The Old City is situated on two levels, Lower Town, at the Port, and Upper Town, both a quick walk from the terminal (although Upper Town is obviously uphill). On some days, when four or five cruise ships enter the port, some will be docked farther down river making for a long hike to the city center. Often those ships offer shuttles to the old port and into town. In the terminal, cruisers will find free Wi-Fi and a visitor's information booth staffed every day a ship is in port.

Good to Know

Leave high heels on the ship when headed for the historic parts of town crisscrossed by stairways and cobblestone streets. The suggested route to Upper Town is via the Old Quebec Funicular; a ride is $2.25.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The Canadian dollar is the currency of the country. Most stores take American dollars but return Canadian bills and coins in change. ATMs and banks are located throughout the city. For updated currency conversion figures, visit or


French is the official language. While English is spoken at almost all visitor destinations including restaurants and shops, some taxi drivers know only fragments.


At Quebec City Farmer's Market, a half-mile walk from the port, shop for all things made with maple sugar -- biscuits, syrup, candies -- and Quebec's famous ice wines. In fall, don't leave without a crisp apple to munch on the walk back to the cruise ship.

Best Cocktail

Caribou is a sweet Quebecois alcoholic beverage quaffed fall and winter to take the chill off. Served hot, it's made of red wine, hard liquor (usually whisky) and maple syrup, of course.

Quebec City Awards

Editors’ Picks Awards

2017 Best North American Homeport

Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards

2018 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations
2017 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations