Highlights of SAGUENAY & SEPT ILLES – Canada and Colonial America Cruise – Caribbean Princess

Photo heavy blog!

Cruising on the Saint Lawrence in Canada brings you to some amazing ports. The perfect transportation was the Caribbean Princess cruise ship, leaving from Quebec City and heading all the way to Fort Lauderdale at the end of the season. Follow along for my views.

We visited Saguenay Canada on Saturday Oct 22, 2022. We turned off the St Lawrence and went up the Saguenay River. We docked about 7 am and were awoken by the activity on the dock. The ship was being greeted by musicians and dancers and reenactors. I wish I could have made good photos, but we were forward on the ship and the area they were performing was near the aft end of the ship. I will never forget the man with the megaphone asking us on board to “ask the captain” of the Caribbean Princess to blow the ships horns. The ship did comply when we left at 5 pm..

The port area for Saguenay was called La Baie. It had a lovely port facility and the area around the port was very walkable. Armed with google maps, I decided I would just walk around the port area, and find a Tim Horton’s, a local pharmacy and just wander and breathe in all the brisk air. There were beautiful walking and biking trails right along the Saguenay River.

Walking trail in Sagueney
Wonderful park with bike trails and walking trails

Along the beach where the ship was docked there were lots of people out walking along the river bank.. It was fun to watch the beach disappear as the tide came in. I had a great “fall weather” walk, did lots of looking with my eyes instead of with my camera, breathing in the crisp air. So sorry for the lack of photos, but it was just a delightful day to walk along the river and enjoy the views.

Caribbean Princess in Saguenay
Caribbean Princess docked at the Saguenay port in La Baie

The description for the port on the Princess info page said “The city of Saguenay, most known for its physical beauty and notable artist community, lies on the Saguenay River in Quebec, 200 km north of Quebec City. The city is divided into three boroughs (Chicoutimi, Jonquiere, and La Baie), with French being the predominant language spoken in each. Tourists can visit harbor villages in Chicoutimi, or make way to Jonquiere for enjoy scenic views and relaxing strolls through public parks. Saguenay is also home to a 163-ton aluminum bridge, built in 1950 as a unique replica that is a third the size of its steel counterpart.”

I, for one, just enjoyed strolling around La Baie. I could have taken an offered shuttle over to the larger city of Saguenay, but was content to just enjoy the area where we were docked. It was great for walking around, stopping for a coffee and just enjoying the fall foliage. I did get a “few” steps in while we were in port

Walking in Saguenay
Walking in a port has benefits!

This is what you do so you don’t gain weight eating all the wonderful food! GO WALK!

Sailing out of La Baie, as the sun was setting was amazing. The water was like glass. There were working ships going up and down the river, and it was amazing to be on a ship the size of the Caribbean Princess in a river. We slept through the arrival, but I enjoyed sitting on the aft of the ship with the few that wanted to enjoy this magnificent river and view.

Sailing on the Saguenay River
Sailing on the Saguenay River towards the St Lawrence
Sunset on the Saguenay
Sunset on the Saguenay

I spent a good amount of time on the aft of the ship, just enjoying the sights as we sailed on the Saguenay River back towards the St Lawrence River.

Spending some time at sailaway from Saguenay
Enjoying the amazing views on the Saguenay River from the aft of the ship
Sailing on the Saguenay towards the St Lawrence

The river was like absolute glass, and the sun set happened very quickly. (I have hundreds of photo’s, still and video, done with my cell phone and go-pro, but you don’t want to see them all.) Seriously, it was hard to pick just a couple to share.

Our next port was on Sunday, Oct 23, 2022 and we docked in Sept Illes. The description from the Princess website said “Named for its location facing an archipelago of seven islands and set at the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, Sept-Iles is one of the sunniest regions in Quebec. This city is surrounded by unspoiled nature and is protected from the sea winds by the surrounding islands. Visitors can explore parks near the city such as Aylmer-Whittom where a miniature village can be seen filled with squirrels and various birds. There are also multiple beach fronts that stretch for miles across the coast for those interested in a little sun and bird watching. It is the ideal location for travelers looking to go on an outdoor adventure.”

Again, a wonderful port to just get off the ship and stretch your legs. Not a lot open near the port this late in the year, but you could feel how this port area was an attraction for the local population earlier in the season. I had fun again taking a long walk along the water and enjoying the views. Sept Illes was a working port, and also a fishing port. You will see that in some of the photos.

Just steps from our ship I was greeted with this wonderful artwork along the waterfront.

Greeting us in Sept Illes
Is the moose gazing at our ship or guarding the tug boat?

and from another angle –

Hello Moose
Which side do you like best?

I like this view the best….more artsy.

Harbor area Sept Illes
Good to know info

There was a wonderful walk along the water front. And I made a few more friends along the way!

dog friends
Monkeying around in Sept Illes
Mom with the kids
Mom with the kids?

I did wander through a dock area, but overall the Promenade was lovely.

Dad looking on
Dad keeping a watch?
Horse or donkey?
Horse or Donkey?

As I continued along the walk, I just followed others ahead of me as we walked through a “yard” where fishing items were stored. I’m not sure how these baskets are used, but there were a lot of them stacked up.

Baskets?
Fishing baskets?
Baskets in big stacks

This yard we walked through was full of this giant baskets. I wish there was someone around to tell the story of how they were used.

Had it been the peak of summer – this place might have been open for a drink or bite to eat.

Summer time stop?
closed for the season

My walk continued along the waterfront for about a mile and I came across a museum with the Hermel exhibition. It was fascinating. Mylène Paquette’s legendary boat, Hermel was on display. Quebec mariner Mylène Paquette is the first person from the Americas to row solo across the North Atlantic. Her boat was amazing and this was an interactive museum with video displays around the boat. I can’t do it justice so I urge you to check this website – https://www.portsi.com/hermel-exhibition-site-opens/?lang=en . Mylene’s website – https://www.mylenepaquette.com/fr/traversee/ is worth a look and her amazing journey is shown in photo’s and video along with her journal.

I continued my walk along the waterfront all the way to Parc du Vieux-Quai, then returned along the same path to the ship. I went up to the first roadway, but there was really nothing open on this Sunday after the holiday season was over. I have to say, in warm summer weather I can imagine the area as being very active and busy. Even on this fall day the Parc du Vieux-Quai was busy with families out in the sunshine for the day, and a lot of “senior citizens” out and about, enjoying the lovely weather. Restaurants and bars were closed on the Sunday, but overall, a great place to walk. Walking back toward the ship, you could see the working port, and how vibrant the area was. Next time I visit, perhaps I will take a tour, but this was a relaxing time off the ship and fun for exploring on my own.

Once back on board, I was a bit chilly, and hungry, and took advantage of the great room service menu that Princess Cruise lines offers.

lunch on the balcony

Before long, it was time to leave Sept Illes. The tugboat at the ready, as the ship prepares to leave the dock. You knew it was time to go as the sun began to set. It’ doesn’t get more beautiful than this –

Sept Iles at sunset

The sun disappears quite quickly at 5 pm

Sun has set
A look around the Sept Illes harbor

Our next day is a sea day, and the highlight for me is meeting people at the Cruise Critic Meet & Great and going to a wine tasting!

More on that in another post!

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