Holland America Line offers 7-day Canada and New England Discovery cruises, beginning in Montreal, Quebec (Canada) heading southbound and ending in Boston, Massachusetts. The same cruise is also offered in the reverse direction, starting in Boston and ending in Montreal. Ports of call during the cruise include: Quebec City, Quebec; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Bar Harbor, Maine. The ms Maasdam is scheduled for this itinerary in 2012 and 2013. For futher details, see Holland America’s website.
(This is part 2 of a three-part article about traveling to Quebec City, Quebec with Holland America Line. For part 1, please see Exploring Quebec City with Holland America Line, part 1).
After a self-guided tour of the Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site, we proceeded to Le Champlain restaurant at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac for its renowned Sunday brunch service. Popular with tourists and locals alike, the brunch is indeed “fit for a king”. The brunch is as complete as any I’ve ever seen: all types of fish and shellfish; hot table for carved meat, such as beef, red deer and chicken; fruit and cheese table; omelette station; breakfast table; a Charcuterie table for terrines and pates and similar; salad bar; dessert table; even a sushi station.
There is literally something for everyone on the menu, and you will not leave hungry. Brunch service includes coffee and/or tea and orange juice. Alcoholic beverages such as Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are available at an additional charge. The price of brunch is $47.50 CAD plus taxes and gratuity, but the experience is well worth it. There are two seatings for Sunday brunch, 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Advance reservations are recommended, although on this particular date they were not needed. Dress code is smart casual.
Following brunch we walked around the Upper Town a bit more. A short distance from the Frontenac is a small alleyway known as rue du Trésor, where local artists sell their works. Whether you are looking for an inexpensive art print to hang on the wall or a more substantial piece, this artist’s alley is a good place to start. In the same area is the Notre-Dame Basilica-Cathedral which dates back to 1647 and is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec.
With our nice leisurely brunch and our walks around Upper Town out of the way, it was time to start heading back toward the ship. Instead of taking the funicular back down, though, we decided to walk instead. Walking from Upper Town to Lower Town is quite easy and can be done in approximately 15 minutes. There are several sets of stairs, some walking down a sloped road, then one final set of somewhat steep stairs to get down to the heart of Lower Town. The Lower Town is filled with tourist shops and is a great place to pick up a souvenir of your time in Quebec City. Products made from maple syrup are perhaps the most popular, everything from cookies, to candies, to ice cream, to a local brand of whisky liqueur.
After making some final purchases it was time to depart from Quebec City. Our visit seemed entirely too short, but as it turned out we weren’t quite finished with Quebec City..
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