When I was a young lass, going on a cruise was something I only heard on TV. It’s like a super-fancy-you-got-try-it-once-as-the-epitome-of-your-success-in-life thing. TV taught me that you need to be good looking and super rich, wearing fancy dresses with a hoity-toity attitude to go on a cruise. The cruise life would be luxurious with endless champagne and affairs, sprinkled with dramas, and, if your (un)lucky, and there would be a murder happening, meaning there’s a murderer around, stuck on the same huge floating hotel with you in the middle of the ocean that need to be caught before you reach the land. Or if you go on a cruise in early 1900, the boat would simply bump on to an iceberg and sink
A cruise ship is such a breeding ground of all interesting (slightly disturbing) events in my head. But boy oh boy, how I was wrong. It turns out most cruises are simply gigantic floating family-friendly hotels/amusement parks. The kind of hotel that I normally avoid for justified reasons (overpriced, loud kids, long lines at the restaurants,...). I wonder what my other perspectives of real life have been distorted by TV.
Do I still want to go on a cruise after knowing what real cruises are all about? You bet I do! I basically LOVE to be on a boat, the bumpier the better, getting splashed by water while riding on it is definitely a big plus for me. So, although a cruise ship is very steady (unlike my mortgage rate), I still want to go on one. But that’s for another day because this weekend, we start with a small microscopic nanoscopic cruise along the Fjord Saguenay. Yep, apparently there’s such a thing of cruising along the Fjord Saguenay, how cool is that?
The Saguenay fjord
The Saguenay Fjord is a 100 km long marine estuary located in North of Quebec. It was formed by the melting of glaciers during the last ice age. The fjord is filled with wildlife including whales, seals, and many species of birds. The area is also home to a few rare species of plants and animals. There are different ways to enjoy the fjord; by kayak, swim, by riverboat, or take a boat cruise like we did.
The Saguenay fjord cruise
Navette du Fjord is one of the few fjord marine shuttles that offer what they call as fjord cruises. We can join their cruise from a few ports along the fjord depending on the cruise program we take. We took the classic program that starts and ends at La Baie city port, Saguenay, about a bit more than two hours north of Quebec city. Now, let's rewind a bit and dive into the nitty-gritty of this whole fjord situation. We left early that morning because the cruise starts at 10AM and had 2 hours of driving to get there. It was a sunny morning and the view along the way to the port was just gorgeous.
The classic tour lasts about 7 hours, including an hour and a half lunch stop at a charming little village called Saint Rose du Nord.
The cruise took us up to the Eternite bay to see the Notre Dame du Saguenay statue on the steep wall of the Trinity cape, which is the main point of attraction of this cruise. The 9 metres statue was built facing the fjord, intentionally. As if she’s giving her blessing to those who wander the fjord.
I’ve never been to a fjord before nor been on a cruise, so I was very excited about this trip. When I heard the word ‘fjord’, the first thing that came to my mind was the fabulous landscape of the Norwegian Fjords; narrow inlets of body of water between straight vertical very high rock cliffs. Saguenay fjord is a bit different, I mean the cliffs that made it a fjord are very tall (some parts even exceed 400 metres high!) and the width varies between 2 kilometres and 4 kilometres.
This is what makes this fjord different, the width from one side of the fjord to another is very wide, which makes it, ummm.. how do I put this, less dramatic compared to norwegian fjord? When we were on the boat, it felt like we were cruising along a very wide river with mountains around. Perhaps it is what fjord is? I don’t know, I was hoping it would be more, you know, more cliffy and less rivery?
Overall, the Fjord Saguenay cruise was a remarkable experience, it’s an easy day trip through one of Canadian nature's most breathtaking wonders. Although, I think we could’ve taken the shorter cruise, because little did I know, this 7 hours cruise would turn out to be longer than a Netflix binge-watching session. By the end of the day, I was ready to collapse into a pile of exhaustion and take the most epic nap of my life.
- Where to book : Navette Maritime du Fjord
- When to book: June to September
- How to book: directly online on the website
- Cost per person: CAD 70/pax for the Classic cruise (7 hours cruise from La Baie city)
- Who can enjoy this activity: literally everyone, most of the boat also adapted for people with disabilities
- Where to get on board: there are six departure dock depending which program you take, the information of your boarding location will be mentioned in your reservation
- What to bring: sunscreen, sunglasses, weather appropriate clothings, snacks and drinks
- No pets allowed, only guide dogs are allowed on the boat