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Small Boat Cruises On The St. Lawrence River

Is It Safe To Swim In The St Lawrence River

St. Lawrence River Cruise from Canada to the U.S.

It is safe to swim in the St. Lawrence River but not in all sections.

Some sections are pretty rough and act as ship routes, hence not suitable, especially for novice swimmers or small kids.

If you wish to swim in an area, confirm with the locals whether its a suitable location.

Also, its best to stay clear when you are doubting. Besides, state parks and municipal park docks are excellent alternatives.

So, whats your pick amongst our small boat cruises on the St. Lawrence River?

Whatever you choose, we believe our best St Lawrence River cruises reviews have all you need to decide. Dont forget to use our cruise guide when making a selection.

Happy vacation!

From Canada To The American East Coast Itinerary

The From Canada to The American East Coast cruise operates from Toronto, Canada to Gloucester, Massachusetts. Sail the St. Lawrence River, past Montreal and Quebec City, before cruising the Canadian Maritimes, then finish with visits along New England at Bar Harbor, Maine and Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The largest city in Canada and capital of the province of Ontario, Toronto fascinates as much by its incredible diversity as by its size. Be sure to visit the CN Tower, the tallest tower in the western hemisphere, as well as the St. Lawrence Market whose stalls reflect the multicultural wealth of this city known as the global city. Not far from there, the historic Distillery District unveils its brick-paved streets imbued with romantic charm and its myriad small restaurants, cafés, boutiques, theaters and art galleries. The Royal Ontario Museum and its impressive collections devoted to the worlds natural and cultural history will also be an unmissable stop during this port of call.


Linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes region inland, the Saint Lawrence Seaway was inaugurated in 1959, more than 250 years after the initial construction aiming to avoid the rapids obstructing navigation in these parts. This large engineering project, which required four years of huge work, offers a unique sailing experience, punctuated by the passage of the different locks marking out this corridor, which is almost 2,485 miles long.


Blount Small Ship Adventures

Blount Small Ship Adventures offers a 14-day, 13-night cruise from New York to Montreal, Quebec that includes a lengthy cruise along the St. Lawrence River. The Locks, Legends & Canals of the Northeast Cruise tour begins on the Hudson River, with the ship sailing through the Erie Canal and then into the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario and, ultimately, Quebec. Ports of call include New York City West Point, NY Sylvan Beach, NY Kington, NY Quebec City, QC and Montreal.

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Below Youll Find Details Below On All Cruises Offered Click On The Links For Schedules

Hourly from Montreal starting at 9:35 am to 6:35 pm from Mid-May to mid-September

Takes about 45 min Montreal-Ile Sainte Helene-Longueil-Montreal, $7.50/adult

*note that this is a small boat with no bar or bathroom facilities.

Mostly 45 minute cruises leaving hourly during high season. They also have tours of the Lachine canal .

45 minute = $18.75/adult, 2 hr tour = $25.65/adult

The next two companies operate larger boats and in addition to the strict boat tours do longer tours where they serve meals aboard. Your experience can range from being fantastic to horrible depending on who you talk to.

Spot Whales And Seabirds In The Rich Waters Of The Gulf

Small Boat Cruises On The St. Lawrence River

Learn how to spot and identify the thirteen species of whales found in the waters of the region by trained marine mammalogists. The southernmost population of belugas feeds at the mouth of Saguenay Fjord, and even blue whales, the largest animals in the world, are found in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Enjoy birdwatching, too, for gannets, puffins, razorbills, auks, and more.

©Dennis Minty

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Cruises From St Lawrence River

The St Lawrence River in Canada is of vital geographic and economic importance as it connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, and also forms part of the international boundary between Ontario Province, Canada, and New York State in the USA. Its length from Lake Ontario to mouth is 1200km. It is a very popular cruising destination, as with seven locks in its portion of the Seaway it provides delightful calm-water cruising between fascinating, interesting, safe and secure ports. The routes take you to places rich in history, natural beauty and modern vitality. Read more

It is described as untouched, unmatched and unforgettable.

What Is Special About The St Lawrence River

One of the special things about the St. Lawrence River is its length. At 1,197 km, it comes third in North America after the Mississippi and the Mackenzie.

Did you know the river drains more than a quarter of the planets freshwater? As it flows into the Atlantic Ocean, it creates the largest estuary in the world.

If you like discoveries, a cruise along it may allow you to see rare animals like the spotted turtle.

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Take A Cruise: Explore The Sights Of The St Lawrence River

Let someone else do the navigating while you enjoy a relaxing trip on the calm waters of the St. Lawrence River.ST. LAWRENCE CRUISE LINES

The centre of the St. Lawrence River, part of a vital waterway that links Canada and the United States to the rest of the world, connects the outflow of Lake Ontario, near Kingston, to the Île dOrléans.

For those who travel it by boat, the natural beauty of the St. Lawrence River is a wondrous backdrop providing deep respite.

Our passengers dutifully fill out the comment cards after every trip, and the No. 1 attraction for them after their experience is the river itself, says Daniel Beals, advertising and marketing co-ordinator of St. Lawrence Cruise Lines.

The Canadian Empress is a classic riverboat, with an exterior that harks back to classic steamboats from the Victorian era. Inside, charm meets modern technology, with all the comfort and safety features that travellers expect.

The main St. Lawrence Deck of the ship is comprised of about two dozen different staterooms as well as a corner store. The Ottawa Deck, one level up, has eight staterooms, as well as a grand saloon, dining room, observation deck, and lounge and bar. The Sun Deck up top is where travellers gather on deck chairs or at the lounge to really take in the beauty of the river. The cruise season runs from May 8 to Oct. 16.

Calm water cruising on a river cruise is popular because it is a balm for the spirit.


St Lawrence Cruise Lines M/v Canadian Empress

Cruising the St Lawrence from Ontario to Montreal | PowerBoat Television Classic Destination

Built in 1981, the 66-passenger M/V Canadian Empresshas three passenger decks accessed by stairs in the centre of the ship, and no elevator.

There are a total of 32 cabins on two decks, all with opening windows.

The 66-passenger Canadian Empress. * Photo: Judi Cohen

St. Lawrence Deck has 24 cabins, 20 of which have twin beds, sink, toilet and shower, and four cabins are larger. Two cabins can accommodate three passengers.

Canadian Empress also has a small gift shop on this deck.

Ottawa Deck has eight slightly larger cabins, the Grand Saloon lounge and dining room, small library, plus forward and after outdoor seating areas. At sunset, protective screens were added around the aft lounge area to keep the mosquitos at bay. Fortunately, there were fewer mosquitos than I expected and we got no bites.

The screened-in Aft Lounge. * Photo: Judi Cohen

Over the past four years renovations to the ship were undertaken including replacement of all the windows as well as a complete overhaul of the Grand Saloon that I loved with its fresh look and feel and bright white finishes.

Cabin upgrades included mirrored cabinets over the sink in each cabin providing ample storage space for toiletries and small items, as well as two large wood drawers under each bed.

While our cabin was compact , it was well-designed with shelving and hooks above the beds as well drawers under the beds.

Everything I brought was neatly organized during our cruise.

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Small Cruise Line Review: St Lawrence Cruise Lines Canadian Empress

As weve had a moment of calm in the pandemic storm, Ive finally been able to start traveling again. Ive been reluctant to go far from home, so weve been determined to experience as much of Canada as possible on small ship cruises.

One of a handful of such cruises is St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, operating the Canadian Empressalong the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Kingston, Ontario.

I had the opportunity to do a 4-night/5-day round-trip cruise with my husband Lawrence, from Kingston to Upper Canada Village and back to Kingston, to revisit an area I had not seen since childhood.

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As I cruised on St. Lawrence Cruise Lines Canadian Empress, memories flooded in of stopping at Gananoque and visiting Upper Canada Village with my public school and then with my parents on our way to Expo 67 in Montreal.

The 4-night Rediscover the River cruise route. * Photo: Judi Cohen

Over the five days, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines Canadian Empresscruised north roughly 350 kilometres round-trip, an average of 70 kilometres per day .

So, heres my story of our journey on the mighty St. Lawrence River aboard the 66-passenger Canadian Empress.

Judi & her husband Lawrence board the 66-pax Canadian Empress. * Photo: Judi Cohen

Best Time To Take A Saint Lawrence River Cruise

The temperature along the Saint Lawrence River tends to be humid but there are four clearly defined seasons. Summer tends to be warm with cold winters. The best part of the year to go for a Saint Lawrence River cruise is from late July to late August when the weather is warmer.

However, its best to note that this is the most popular time for tourists to travel this river, so if you want a less crowded experience, try traveling in June or September.

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Ontario Small Ship Sightseeing Cruises Set Sail For 2021 Season

South Eastern Ontarios small ship tour boat operators launch their summer/fall season on Ontarios waterways

1000 ISLANDS GANANOQUE, ON July 20, 2021 With Ontarios recent transition to Stage 3, small ship sightseeing tours operating in South Eastern Ontario are thrilled to announce they are ready to welcome visitors again for summer and fall tours, with safety protocols and socially distant measures in place. Each sightseeing tour offers passengers an exhilarating experience along the water of Ontarios most scenic routes including the iconic 1000 Islands.

With vaccination rollouts expanding, small ship cruises are perfect for family and friends wishing to reunite in a distanced and controlled environment, without the crowds. In another carefully curated season, all ships operate with strict COVID-19 Health and Safety programs in place including protocols for reduced passenger capacity, mask usage and physical distancing onboard. Passengers are able to cruise through Ontarios myriad of rivers and waterways in comfort, providing residents and tourists with the opportunity to explore the 1000 Islands and travel the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Rideau Canal and Lake Ontario on both day trips and overnight stays. South Eastern Ontario operators are ready to sail Ontario waters and are now accepting bookings:

2021 Day Trip Cruising Experiences

Planning a tour? Book ahead!

Special events

What to expect

What to see


About RTO 9

Dining On St Lawrence Cruise Lines Canadian Empress

American Empress Cruise Ship

All meals were served in the Grand Saloon, adjacent to the lounge and galley.

All meals were served in the Grand Saloon. * Photo Judi Cohen

The Grand Saloon was sun-filled with its panoramic windows during daytime. In the evening, it transformed into a more formal atmosphere with tablecloths and candles on the tables.

Guests were very casual, even for dinner, sporting shorts, polos and jeans.

On the last night a few guests dressed up a little. I even got dolled up in a printed silk top and white pants.

Judi all dolled up on the last evening of the cruise. * Photo: Lawrence Cohen

At breakfast, we were offered a choice of fruit and juice followed by the feature dish of eggs, pancakes, omelettes, bacon, and toast.

A hearty breakfast! * Photo: Judi Cohen

Every meal had fresh-baked bread and buns with butter.

Lunches typically included soups, salads and a sandwich or quiche with a dessert choice daily.

We were asked at lunch what our preference for dinner was from two options, and it was quite acceptable to ask for both, as we did a couple of nights.

Dinners included delicious comfort food such as tender roast prime rib of beef with horseradish, Duck a lorange, salmon and sirloin steak, and even turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Roast prime rib of beef for dinner! * Photo: Judi Cohen

Turkey with all the fixins! * Photo: Judi Cohen

Pumpkin pie for dessert was a big hit.

I liked all the food choices, but I admit I looked forward to dessert the most at lunch and dinner.

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Is The St Lawrence River Calm

Parts of the St. Lawrence River are calm and excellent places to go cruising and fishing. However, some sections of the river are a bit turbulent and offer a superb spot for surfing.

Some areas have constant waves, making them better than the ocean where you can get waves sometimes while other times the waters are calm.

Because of this, they allow surfers to enjoy the sport at any time.

Symphony On The St Lawrence: From Qubec To The Canadian Maritimes With Smithsonian Journeys









DAY 9 – Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands




DAY 13 – At sea



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Looking Back Ted Explores The Waterways Of Ontario Aboard Kawartha Voyageur In 1997

A glance at the map of Ontario Province shows the land lying between the Great Lakes Huron and Ontario laced with watery patches and meandering streams.

To encourage the regions commerce and tourism, 19th-century Canadian visionaries joined them with a series of short canals and 43 locks into the continuously navigable 240-mile Trent-Severn Waterway.

In 1982, a farming family named Ackert went into the cruise business by offering overnight trips here and along the 125-mile Rideau Canal, the latter connecting Kingston and Ottawa, Canadas former and present capital.

Cruising The St Lawrence River With Uncle Sam Boat Tours

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Shipping System

Jim CheneyDisclosure:

New York is home to many beautiful waterways, but few, if any, can rival the beauty of the St. Lawrence River. And, for those wanting to see this scenic river, sailing with Uncle Sam Boat Tours is a great option.

The St. Lawrence River connects Lake Ontario to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. Along a little over 100 miles of the rivers length, it forms the border between New York and Ontario, Canada.

This stretch of the river is known for its immense beauty and forms the Thousand Islands region of New York. However, this region is actually home to over 1,800 islands.

Alexandria Bay, New York is a common jumping-off point for exploring this region, and its where you can hop aboard Uncle Sam Boat Tours.

Uncle Sam Boat Tours runs a variety of tours from their dock in this quaint village and has been operating since 1926. During the season, which runs roughly from April to October, they offer five different tours, as well as a few dining cruises.

I already had planned to tour Boldt Castle, a once-abandoned island in the middle of the river, and, since I needed a way to get across the water, I decided to book a tour with Uncle Sam.

While I could have simply taken their quick shuttle to and from the island, I opted to take their Two Nation Tour, a roughly two-hour tour that takes you on a guided trip through both American and Canadian waters. No passport required!

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Great Small Ship Tours On Canadian Coasts

As summer fades, you might just find your mind turning to winter trips . Lots of Canadians are migratory creatures. We stay home during the summer, but spend at least parts of summer traveling aroundoften someplace warmer, but sometimes just exploring the parts of Canada that were too overloaded with tourists to visit in the summer.

A common way to achieve this is by going on cruises. These trips allow you to travel in the lap of luxury and bring you to all kinds of islands and ports. But the lifestyle of the big cruise liner isnt for everyone. Theyre hectic places, full of late-night revelers, huge and somewhat impersonal dining halls, and crowds everywhere you go.

Fortunately, if you still want to get out on a boat, there is an alternative: small ship cruises. These cruise ships tend to hold, at most, a few hundred people, rather than thousands. They feel a bit less like resorts, and a bit more like an adventure, stopping in at smaller ports and offering unique travel experiences. So if youre looking for an exciting trip this fall, but arent quite ready to pilot your own boat across treacherous seas, a small cruise line is a great option.

Weve rounded up a few small-ship cruise lines that spend time in Canadian ports. Next time you get the itch to explore, we recommend checking them out.

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