September 12, 2016
Gaspé, birthplace of Canada
Strategically located on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, our port of call at Gaspé continues to welcome increasing numbers of cruise ships from one year to the next. It is here in this magnificent bay, ever popular with cruise lines, that French culture came to Canada. Indeed, in 1534, explorer Jacques Cartier claimed the land in the name of the King of France.Beyond historical importance, the destination is an open invitation to discover nature in all its splendour, with two national parks located within an hour’s drive from the dock.
All ships drop anchor in the Bay of Gaspé, meaning that passengers must make a short trip by tender to the dock and gangway to the Welcome Pavilion.
The impregnable view of the bay impresses arriving visitors time and again. Once dockside, passengers are directed by greeting personnel to the excursion coaches or the Welcome Pavilion for individuals wishing to visit the region at their own pace.
Must experience onshore activities include as follows:
- Tour of Forillon National Park: Located thirty minutes away by coach, the park is alive with activities for the active at heart. Choose from among a hike in the forest, more demanding mountain trek or marine mammal observation outing. There is truly something for everyone!
- Percé and the mythical rock of the same name: Photographed over and over, Percé Rock is an all time favourite. The Town of Percé is located about an hour from Gaspé. Visitors will marvel at the bucolic countryscapes, enchanting seaside villages and the town’s own plentiful mix of cafés, bistros and visitor-friendly shops.
- Bonaventure Island Provincial Park: Home to an impressive colony of northern gannets, Bonaventure Island allows visitors to learn more about the life and behaviour of these fascinating birds. Readily accessible footpaths provide visitors with the wherewithal for discovering island flora and fauna. If time allows, plan to take a one-kilometre hike out to the gannet colony observation point.
Other excursion packages focus on regional crafts, key tourist attractions and exhilarating outdoor activities. Consult the list of packages offered by your favourite cruise lines or check out the offerings onsite.
In addition to excursions requiring motorized transport, a walking tour of the Town of Gaspé affords visitors the opportunity to appreciate local history and heritage. The Welcome Pavilion is located about one kilometre from the town’s central business district, home to the Birthplace of Canada National Historic Site which features a museum and souvenir shop. Depending on the time of your visit, musicians, storytellers and historical figures will be on hand to bring your visit to life.
For passengers wishing to discover the town on their own, a regularly scheduled shuttle service stops at major attractions, including the Gaspé Museum, Christ Church Cathedral and Rue de la Reine. For those making their way on foot, the distance from the dock to the town centre is an easy one kilometre jaunt.
For individuals in search of a greater measure of adventure, we recommend renting a car and heading out to the parks and Town of Percé. Car rentals must be booked ahead of time. For the more sports minded, nothing beats a discovery tour of the region by bike.
Whatever the choice of excursion, passengers will be enchanted by the warm, welcoming ways of the Gaspesian locals, the beauty and immensity of the natural backdrop, the rugged cliffs and charming craft shops.
Gaspé’s team of tourist information agents will be pleased to suggest excursions tailored to individual passenger pleasures.
Enjoy your stopover at Gaspé!