St Lawrence Cruise Lines operates a single ship on the St. Lawrence River. An overview follows:
The St. Lawrence River in its most limited bounds, begins at the foot of Lake Ontario, opposite the city of Kingston and flows generally in a north-easterly direction about 775 miles, when its flood mingles with that of the gulf by the same name. Beyond the Gulf of St. Lawrence lies the vast Atlantic Ocean. The St. Lawrence River has its source in the largest body of fresh water on the globe, and among all of the big rivers of the world, it is the only one whose volume is not greatly affected by the elements. This river, which Sir J.M. LeMoine called "The noblest, the purest, most enchanting river on all God's beautiful earth," for miles upon miles acts as a natural boundary between the good friends of the United States and Canada.
The 1000 Islands
With each nautical mile, nature's northern masterpiece unfolds. Within one 50-mile stretch on one of the world's largest rivers you will find no less than 1,870 islands. In these "1000 Islands", birthplace of the famous 1000 Islands Dressing, you will explore intricate river channels, sumptuous greenery, mysterious coves, nooks and crannies veiled in folklore. Here you will find opulent summer residences including famous mansions and castles. These islands have been the summer homes of many of the rich and famous: the Astors, the Pullmans, Helena Rubenstein, Irving Berlin, Mary Pickford, the McNallys and a host of others.
The St. Lawrence Seaway
The St. Lawrence Seaway is one of the most ambitious engineering feats of the last century. The objectives: increase the size of the St. Lawrence River shipping channel and generate hydro-electric power for Ontario, Quebec and New York State. Entire villages were relocated to higher ground, utilizing the largest moving and construction equipment in the world. As the temporary "coffer dams" were blown on July 1st, 1958, people watch with mixed emotions. Slowly rising water covered familiar land forever. It was sad for some to know they could never go home again. Others were excited to think of the new conveniences and services, modern schools and new friends. A major highlight is the opportunity to pass through the locks between Kingston and Montreal, experiencing an overall change in water level of 246 feet.
The Ottawa River
First explored by Samuel de Champlain in 1613, the Ottawa River is the largest tributary of the St. Lawrence River. The total length of the Ottawa River is approximately 790 statute miles with a total drop in level of no less than 1,100 feet. It drains an area of 57,000 square miles and has an average flow of about 70,000 cubic feet of water per second. This is said to be greater than that of all the rivers of England and Wales put together. This is significant, particularly when one considers that it is only a tributary of the mighty St. Lawrence.
See the real Canada, the original Canada, as unspoiled as when the voyageurs moved up and down its waterways, as modern as the great St. Lawrence International Seaway and its spectacular locks and man-made canals. Sail on a replica steamboat. The Canadian Empress is a grand ship with a warm and friendly personality. The interior is designed in charming early heritage style. Whether it is heritage furnishing, or the brass handrails complemented by ornate metal ceilings, your ship recaptures the grace of a turn-of-the-last-century lifestyle.
Experience the marriage of classic steamboat style to modern technology against a backdrop of interesting ports of call, a congenial crew committed to excellence in comfort and service, modern conveniences and amenities expected by today's traveller, a very real camaraderie among passengers, and always, the rivers. We regard travel as one of life's special experiences, to be savoured, to be recalled with a special feeling. So, we keep you informed every nautical mile of the journey.
We know our rivers well. You will have access to charts, hear appropriate commentaries, and enjoy our daily newsletter. Our cruise directors are specialists in gracious thoroughness and kind attention to special events. Our Grand Saloon and decks provide a complete range of choices for quiet comfort and open activity. And, your Canadian crew is a special well trained, meticulously groomed people who do everything necessary to make your shipboard experience truly memorable.
The Ship - named the Canadian Empress, was built in 1981 and seeks to recreate cruising in the Victorian age. The 32 cabins and bathrooms are very small with all but three cabins featuring single beds (standard and pull down in most cases). But, as with most small ships it's the destination that counts.
Life on Board - the cruise fare includes all expenses for food and entertainment on board as well as all shore excursions (including admissions to attractions). Gratuities ($10 per day per person), bar expenses and transportation to and from the cruise embarkation and disembarkation points are extra.
Food is wholesome and generous. Dining seating is unassigned and casual. After dinner the dining salon is transformed tint the entertainment venue - one night will feature a big band for dancing and other nights will offer a variety of other entertainers.
Itineraries - are basically up and down the St. Lawrence river from Kingston at the foot of Lake Ontario past Montreal to Quebec City. Variations include a cruise up the Ottawa River to Ottawa.
Prices - for standard cabins are $450 per person per night with slightly lower fares for early spring and late fall sailings.
Sample Itinerary - one of the longer six night itineraries: