Looking to book the ultimate Newfoundland cruise on Canada’s east coast?
Adventure Canada offers the best Newfoundland cruise, an annual circumnavigation that begins and ends in St. John’s.
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Book the Best Newfoundland Cruise
Adventure Canada’s scenic 10 day cruise of Newfoundland and Labrador features stops to the regions most popular sites including L’Anse aux Meadows, Red Bay, Gros Morne National Park and the French island of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
So what are the benefits of booking a Newfoundland cruise?
Adventure Canada’s 10 day circumnavigation would take approximately 3 weeks to explore by car, due to the provinces meandering rural roads. Expedition-style cruising allows guests to access remote areas of Newfoundland’s coast. You’ll have the opportunity to visit tiny communities that are inaccessible by car such as the postcard-perfect town of Francois.
When’s the best time of year to book a Newfoundland cruise?
Adventure Canada offers an annual Newfoundland Cruise departure, which alternates each year between October and June.
October: the weather in October is ideal for photographers as there is typically very little rain, enjoying mostly clear sky days. It’s also a great month to enjoy beautiful Fall colours.
June: the weather in June is known to be foggy and typically has more rain. It’s also the best time of year to whale watch and see icebergs as they float south from the Arctic.
Pre and Post Newfoundland Cruise Options
We suggest spending 2-3 days exploring the quant city of St. John’s before or after your Newfoundland cruise.
We also suggest exploring outside of St. John’s by booking a tour with a local operator. You can sit back and relax while a local guide showcases the regions unique history and wildlife.
- Historic Tour of St. John’s: this 90 minute walking tour is led by a local expert and offers stops at George Street, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and plenty of local shops.
- St. John’s Food and Wine Tour: this 3 hour guided tour offers visiting foodies an opportunity to taste their way through some of the city’s best restaurants.
- Puffin and Whale Watching Cruise: this 90 minute Newfoundland cruise offers an opportunity to spot Iceberg Alley and wildlife such as seabirds and whales.
Newfoundland Cruise on Ocean Endeavour
Guests on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Cruise call the Ocean Endeavour their home away from home for 10 days.
The Ocean Endeavour was built in 1982 in Poland and has been refurbished multiple times, mostly recently in 2018. The 137 metre long ship cruises at 15 knots and has a capacity for 198 passengers and 124 crew.
The ship is outfitted with twenty zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment, several lounges, a spacious restaurant, top-deck observation room, library, outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, fitness centre and spa featuring a Swedish sauna.
The Ocean Endeavour boasts a 1B ice class, enabling the ship to explore the arctic safely in summer.
Newfoundland Cruise Orientation
On day one of your Newfoundland cruise you’ll start your Adventure Canada journey at St. John’s port authority. Your luggage is dropped here and brought directly to your room.
After skipping up the steps into the ship you’ll be greeted with a welcome drink, hand over your passport to the front desk for safe keeping and then taken to your cabin.
After settling into their cabins, guests gather in a lounge for Afternoon Tea. Sip a cup of Earl Grey while nibbling on dainty sandwiches and jam slathered scones while getting to know other passengers on the ship.
Once everyone is on board, guests gather in the main theatre to meet the cruise director and get a debrief on important details of the Newfoundland cruise itinerary. It’s here you’ll learn about how to get on and off a zodiac, navigate the ships many floors and review each days unique program.
It’s a great opportunity for guests to ask questions about what to expect on the 10 day Newfoundland cruise. Guests also learn about Adventure Canada’s “League of Adventurers,” loyalty program. The ship also offers photography fans a unique opportunity to test out quality camera gear thanks to Adventure Canada’s relationship with Nikon.
Once the orientation meeting is complete, the entire boat undergoes a life boat safety drill before skipping into the restaurant for a celebratory feast.
Newfoundland Cruise Accommodation
The Ocean Endeavour offers 10 cabin categories, which are located between Deck 7 and Deck 4. All cabins include a private bath, flat screen TV, hair dryer, bathrobe, towels, bath amenities, telephone and intercom.
The most affordable accommodation option is Cabin 1 located on Deck 4. The interior cabin is 240 square feet and features four lower berths. It’s a great option for families or traveling friends on a budget.
The most luxurious accommodation on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise is Cabin 10, located on Deck 7. The forward-facing suite features picture windows with an unobstructed view. The 310 square foot suite features a private bath with full tub, refrigerator and Matrimonial bed (bigger than a double but smaller than a Queen).
Newfoundland Cruise Dining
All meals onboard the Ocean Endeavour are served at Polaris Restaurant. The dining room is wrapped in windows, offering breathtaking ocean views during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, while dinners are served a la carte as a three course meal.
The open-seating mealtimes are casual so you can chose to sit wherever you’d like. This offers a great opportunity to meet new friends throughout the duration of your cruise.
Taste of Place on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Cruise
Adventure Canada launched its Taste of Place program in October, 2019. It was the companies first foray into showcasing local culinary offerings onboard.
Canada’s best expedition cruise company has always been known as a “university on water.” Its itineraries are crafted with the intention of educating passengers on local culture, music, arts and science. Taste of Place expanded Adventure Canada’s immersive educational experience by collaborating with local food experts.
The Taste of Place culinary program was organized in partnership with Cod Sounds, Culinary Tourism Alliance, Food Day Canada, Regeneration Canada, Slow Food and Ocean Wise.
Newfoundland’s own Lori McCarthy from Cod Sounds and Alexandra Blagdon from Alder Cottage crafted daily dinner menus that reflected the province’s unique culinary traditions. On a 10 day Newfoundland cruise guests had the opportunity to sample Partridgeberry tarts, mustard pickle, cod tongues, Labrador Arctic char chowder, braised moose and seared seal.
Taste of Place heightens the culinary experience with onshore and onboard events, presentations, meals, and celebrations that showcase unique regional flavours and the people that supply and create them.
Some of the unique offshore culinary experiences on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise include a lesson in foraging, local craft beer tasting and a cod fish feast at the community centre in Conche.
Newfoundland Cruise Experts
Adventure Canada is often described as a “university that floats,” and its cruises attract travellers who are eager to learn. Each of the expedition cruise company’s itineraries feature local experts who interact onboard with guests.
Experts onboard the Newfoundland cruise offer a broad knowledge base, from Parks Canada staff to archaeologists, geologists, musicians, photographers and local historians.
- Lori McCarthy and Alexandra Blagdon: these two ladies are passionate about Newfoundland’s food scene. They happen to also be cousins so it looks like good food runs in the family. The duo were responsible for coordinating Taste of Place menus, sourcing ingredients from local producers across Newfoundland.
- Anita Stewart: the award-winning Canadian cookbook author and founder of Food Day Canada offered a talk on Canada’s unique culinary history.
- Gabrielle Bastien: the founder of Regeneration Canada seeks to build a movement for soil regeneration.
- Denis Minty: is a naturalist, photographer, author and winner of the Governor General’s Medal for his work in environmental education. Minty offered daily photo slideshows and classes on wildlife/nature photography.
- Gerry Strong: winner of the Slaight Music Unsung Hero award by the Canadian Folk Music Association. Strong added his local musical talents to the Newfoundland Cruise by offering guests lively evenings of song and dance.
- Jared Clarke: the onboard bird expert runs local tour operator Bird The Rock in St. John’s.
- Jeff Anderson: spent years working for Parks Canada in Newfoundland and offered a fascinating talk on the provinces moose populations.
- John Houston: Adventure Canada’s resident indigenous expert is full of stories about Inuit art.
- Kevin Major: the award-winning Newfoundland author is an expert on The Rock’s history.
- Latonia Hartery: is the ships resident archaeologist, offering insight into Newfoundland’s ancient history.
- Paul Dean: the resident geologist is the former Executive Director of the Johnson Geo Centre in St. John’s. Dean really loves rocks!
- Tony Oxford: born in rural Newfoundland, Oxford offers poetry readings and folk songs onboard.
- Tony Power: is a local Naturalist, passionate about wintering and breeding seabirds as well as wildlife conservation for caribou, fox and coyote.
Spa, Sauna and Gym
Wanderers who have a penchant for wellness will find happiness on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise.
The petite gym is open 24 hours a day and features stationary bikes, rowing machine and hydraulic resistance machines. The fitness centre is located on one of the upper decks so you can enjoy pretty views while you work out. Early risers can also enjoy yoga classes each morning.
The gym is located beside the ship’s Atsanik Spa, which also features a spacious dry-sauna. Looking to treat yourself on a Newfoundland cruise? Guests can enjoy a slew of services including facials, massages, manicure and pedicure.
Adventure Canada Costume Party
Adventure Canada has a tradition of hosting a costume party on each of its itineraries. Before departure you’ll be alerted to what the theme is that year so you can pack the perfect costume.
The 2019 Newfoundland cruise costume party was themed after “great adventurers.” After dinner one night guests arrived into the lounge to sip on sparkling wine while dressed as famous explorers like Norwegian vikings, astronauts and Amelia Earhart, the world’s first female to fly across the Atlantic.
The costume party is also a competition, with the winners scooping up plush prizes. Afterwards, a lively Newfoundland folk band had tipsy guests dancing to and fro.
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Newfoundland Cruise Itinerary
Adventure Canada’s 10 day circumnavigation Newfoundland cruise starts and ends in St. John’s. When the ship leaves the harbour it sails along the north east coast before arriving at Red Bay, Labrador.
During the second half of the cruise, the ship sails south along the west coast. En route to St. John’s the ship makes an international stop, to the French island of St. Pierre and Miquelon, before arriving back to Newfoundland’s capital.
This Newfoundland Cruise is an expedition-style adventure. While Adventure Canada outlines a proposed itinerary, each day adjustments are made to the schedule based on weather conditions on the water. The cruise director does a great job at updating guests on any change of plans, and often these adjustments can work in your favour.
Case in point, our ship was supposed to drop anchor near L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. That day the winds were too intense so the ship parked off the coast of nearby St. Anthony. Half the guests spent the morning on a short shuttle to the historic site while the remainder enjoyed attractions in St. Anthony.
The cruise starts and ends in St. John’s, but no time on the itinerary is dedicated to visiting attractions here. We suggest spending 2-3 days before or after the cruise to explore Newfoundland’s cute capital.
Looking to create a list of the best things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland? Top attractions include Jellybean Row, Signal Hill, Ocean Science Centre, Johnson Geo Centre, The Rooms, Trad Session at Rocket Bakery, Basilica of St. John the Baptist, getting Screeched in at Christians Bar on George Street, craft beer in Quidi Vidi, and a hike on the East Coast Trail to Cape Spear.
We also suggest booking reservations in advance at St. John’s best restaurants, as during the tourist season the waiting lists can be weeks long. Newfoundland’s capital is considered to offer one of the best food scenes in Canada.
The ship was scheduled to drop anchor at Bonavista but because of a large swell we parked just outside of Trinity harbour. Guests had an opportunity to explore the tiny town of Trinity at their leisure.
The town offers beautifully restored fishing rooms and saltbox houses, accommodations in historic buildings, and top-rated dining experiences. Nearby you’ll get a chance to hike along the coast on the Gun Hill Trail. The start of the trail offers beautiful views that overlook Trinity’s Saint Paul’s Anglican Church and historic lighthouse.
Find your way around Trinity using old-fashioned street signage marked in calligraphy, watch a blacksmith at work, and visit the Cooperage to learn about barrel making. Movie buffs can also tour the filming locations of The Shipping News and Random Passage.
During the warmer months of the year Trinity’s best scoops are served at Sweet Rock Ice Cream. If you’re keen to meet locals head to Dock Marina Restaurant, which is of course located on the dock at the town’s marina!
Bonavista is one of Newfoundland’s most visited towns. It’s here where Italian explorer John Cabot first discovered North America in 1497. His first words were “O buono vista!” When translated into English, this phrase means “Oh happy sight!”, which is certainly fitting for what would become the picturesque town of Bonavista.
Small huddles of houses sit alongside rocky shores, pebble beaches, and picturesque fishing boats. Dense forest transition into jaw-dropping shoreline, frequently visited by whales, seabirds, and meandering icebergs.
We suggest starting your visit to Bonavista at the Newfoundland Mockbeggar Plantation. This former residence of politician and Confederation advocate F. Gordon Bradley recreates a time when the question of whether Newfoundland should Canada or remain an independent nation was the gossip in town.
The Plantation in Bonavista dates back to the 17th century when the town was first settled. The site consists of a large property with a dwelling house and outbuildings that consist of a large fish store, a barter shop, a cod liver oil factory and a cabinet makers shop.
A short stroll down the road and you’ll find The Matthew Legacy, a museum that pays homage to Cabot’s trans Atlantic journey. Those who have a penchant for sailing will love climbing onto the museum’s ship. The Bonavista Matthew is a full-scale replica of Cabot’s 14497 vessel, a 15th-century Caravel. It was built in 1997 by a team of seven shipwrights and four carpenters from the local area. Its construction marked the 500th Anniversary of Giovanni Caboto’s voyage.
The town’s crown jewel is the Bonavista Lighthouse, originally built in 1843. The Cape Bonavista Lighthouse is one of the few in the world where you can still climb up the stone tower to see the same seal oil – fueled light used in the 19th-century.
The friendly town of Conche is located on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and has a tiny population of around 160 residents. Guests on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise delighted in our day spent in Conche as special community events were organized.
Patriotic locals first took us on a tour of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where they displayed hundreds of colourful hand-stitched quilts, displayed across the pews. We were also taken to the Boston BZ-277 Crash Site, where the remains of a World War II plane can be found. The crash took place in November, 1942 when the short-range bomber ran out of fuel. Hilariously, Conche locals arrived at the crash with pitchforks in hand, terrified a Nazi had descended into their small town.
The top attraction in Conche is a jaw-dropping tapestry, which can be found at the French Shore Interpretation Centre. Designed and created by artist Jean-Claude Roy in the style of the Bayeux tapestry and embroidered by women of the area, this amazing 227-foot work tells the intriguing story of the French Shore and it’s people.
Our day in Conche finished at the town’s community centre, where everyone gathered for a celebratory Cod Fish Feast. Guests on the Newfoundland cruise were treated to a traditional fish fry while a local band performed popular folk tunes. After dinner the tables and chairs were removed to make way for a dainty dance floor.
Newfoundland’s most famous historic site is L’Anse Aux Meadows, located on the northernmost tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise itinerary typically drops anchor right by the site, but due to inclement weather we stopped in nearby St. Anthony and shuttled over. The change in plans was for the best as guests were able to discover an additional destination not typically on the itinerary.
In the morning our group arrived at L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site and spent 30 minutes strolling through the visitor centre. We then joined a Parks Canada guide to explore the historic site on foot.
The discovery of L’Anse Aux Meadows sent shockwaves through archaeology circles as it was the first known evidence of European presence in the Americas. Here Norse expeditions sailed from Greenland, building a small encampment of timber-and-sod buildings over 1000 years ago. Against a jaw-dropping backdrop of rugged cliffs, bog, and coastline, guests learn about the fascinating archaeological remains of the Viking encampment, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
The historic site is most memorable as costumed Viking interpreters interact with visitors in their recreated base camp. Sit by the booming fire and enjoy a traditional norse flatbread recipe, cooked on a skillet in front of your very eyes. It’s served with a tart preserve made of wild foraged berries.
In the afternoon we were given free time to explore the town of St. Anthony. The town acts as a main service centre for northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador. Its population hovers around 2,500, who benefit from the local hospital, grocery stores and several franchised restaurants.
The town’s most popular attraction is the Grenfell House Museum. Built between 1909 and 1910 the Grenfell House was the home of Dr. Grenfell, his wife and their three children. Originally, standing alone on the hill, the house became known to locals as the “castle” with flower beds and vegetable gardens. Today, the Grenfell House Museum offers a treasure trove of antiques, recreated kitchen and taxidermy, featuring a moose bust and polar bear rug.
Be sure to make a quick stop at Dr. Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital. The lobby of St. Anthony’s hospital features famous murals by Montreal artist Jordi Bonet. Found in the hospital’s rotunda, the Jordi Bonet murals were created in 1967 and feature a series of panels depicting life in Newfoundland and Labrador. The seventh panel, depicting an Inuit family, is eye-catching featuring glittering Labradorite, a semi-precious stone used to make jewellery.
My personal highlight from Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise was our day spent in Labrador, at Red Bay and Saddle Island. Many tourists planning a road trip of the province will never have an opportunity to visit Labrador as the cost of flights are so prohibitively expensive. Spending a day in Labrador on our cruise was an absolute treat!
We began the day on Saddle Island, which sits a stones throw from nearby Red Bay. After hopping off our zodiacs groups were taken on hikes along Saddle Island by Parks Canada guides.
Saddle Island is famous for featuring remnants of a 16th-century Basque whaling station. On a stroll of the picturesque island visitors can see the remains of ovens where whale blubber was rendered into oil. You’ll also spot cooperages where oil barrels were assembled, as well as the graves of some 130 whales who died here over four centuries ago.
In two places, there are broken ceramic roofing tiles indicating the locations of Basque buildings. There is also a cemetery, which samples of clothing were obtained and can now be viewed at a museum on the mainland.
Named Baie Rouge by the French in the 17th-century, Red Bay is an ideal natural harbour, sheltered from the ocean by Saddle Island.
A Basque galleon, believed to be the San Juan, discovered in the harbour, is the best preserved 16th-century shipwreck north of the Caribbean. Skip through the Visitor Interpretation Centre and Visitor Orientation Centre, part of the Red Bay National Historic Site of Canada, to learn about the stories of these 16th-century whalers.
Enjoy a short stroll through town to the Right Whale Exhibit and you’ll find the actual skeleton of a reconstructed whale. Hikers keen to enjoy a jaw-dropping view over Red Bay Harbour are also spoilt for choice with the Boney Shore Walking Trail or more challenging Tracey Hill Trail.
Looking to enjoy a local lunch? Before heading back onboard visit Whalers Restaurant, Red Bay’s most popular local eatery is famous for its Fish & Chips.
Nature lovers and geology nerds consider Gros Morne National Park a highlight on the Newfoundland cruise. Gros Morne is the most visited nature park in Newfoundland & Labrador, famous for its soaring fjords, moody mountains and diversity in beaches, bogs and forests.
Shaped by colliding continents and grinding glaciers, Gros Morne’s ancient landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re quiet on the trails, it’s here you’re likely to spot moose and caribou.
Gros Morne National Park is huge and with only one day to explore, Adventure Canada focuses on hiking the Tablelands. Half a billion years in the making, The Tableland’s are the result of a brilliant coming together of two ancient continents. Guests have the opportunity to walk upon the Earth’s mantle – normally found far below the earth’s crust.
After a rewarding hike of the Tablelands, head to the parks Discovery Centre to learn more about the unique features of Gros Morne National Park. You’ll also find a cute cafe and can enjoy beautiful views overlooking the wild wilderness below.
Before hopping back on the ship guests have the opportunity to visit the tiny town of Woody Point. It’s a popular stop for road trippers heading to nearby Gros Morne National Park.
We suggest enjoying a self-guided tour of Woody Point to explore several of the towns historic buildings. The town’s main thoroughfare is Water Street, offering a handful of local gift shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. We suggest enjoying a sip and nibble with locals at Galliott Studios or Merchant Warehouse Retro Cafe & Wine Bar.
At the end of our Newfoundland cruise the general consensus on “the most memorable moment,” was our visit to Francois. The postcard-perfect town is only accessible by boat so its population of 89 people live a uniquely remote life here.
Francois (pronounced fran-sway by locals) was first settled in the 1700s, and resisted the Newfoundland government’s resettlement programs of the mid 20th century.
The town is located at the end of a small fjord and features gushing waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, a petite general store, post office and small museum. You won’t find cars here, only 4x4s that can navigate the towns small pathways and boardwalks. There’s one school in town with just 13 students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Newfoundland cruise guests enjoyed a late night party in Francois via traditional Legions dance in the town’s community hall. Every local in town (remember there’s no more than 100 here) arrived at the dance to meet cruise guests who outnumbered them 2 to 1. A local band performed popular folk songs while locals and visitors danced together under a disco ball. A table filled with traditional baked goods, such as Toutons topped with molasses, were available for those in need of a late night snack.
Keen to experience indigenous culture in Newfoundland and Labrador? Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise makes a memorable stop to Miawpukek at Connne River.
The First Nations community of Miawpukek became a permanent settlement around 1822. Before then, it was one of many semi-permanent camping sites used by the Mi’kmaw people, who had traditionally travelled nomadically throughout the East Coast.
Since its establishment as a reserve in 1987, Miawpukek has successfully bridged traditional knowledge and contemporary practice. Guests receive a formal welcome from local leaders and have a chance to explore this special community via traditional native dancing and drums.
The last stop on Adventure Canada’s circumnavigation cruise of Newfoundland takes its guests on a special trip to France! Saint-Pierre Miquelon is a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France, situated off the shores of Newfoundland’s south coast.
Our final day on the Newfoundland cruise stopped at the smaller island of Saint-Pierre, which also plays home to the majority of the regions population and tourist attractions. In the morning guests were taken on a bus tour of the island to explore the town’s cute houses, scenic shorelines and cemetery. The tour ended at a cultural centre where locals dressed in period costumes and performed a series of folk dances. Guests were served a platter of traditional seafood delicacies, which paired perfectly with local craft beer.
Afterwards, visitors were free to stroll through town at their leisure. To get the best taste of “France in the Atlantic,” we suggest stopping at the cathedral and multi-coloured Les Salines fish cabins. Most visitors to Saint-Pierre are thrilled by the owns culinary offerings. Pop by the charcuterie shop to purchase Normandy cider, French wine or tins of foie gras and rillettes to take home.
Feeling peckish? Locals will be happy to direct you to their favourite French bakery (there are many), which serve buttery croissants, baguette and tart citron. If you’ve got time for a sit-down meal, we suggest Creperie Restaurant du Vieux Port.
Newfoundland Cruise Ad On Experiences
The majority of activities on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland cruise are complimentary. Guests can also opt to pay for additional services to help heighten their overall experience.
The ship features its very own kayak expert, who takes registered kayakers on paddles in scenic destinations like Red Bay and Francois. Keen on cycling? Guests can hire a mountain bike, a great way to zip around in destinations like Saint-Pierre and Gros Morne National Park.
Additional add ons include a scenic helicopter flight, Western Brook Pond Hike and Bonavista Social Club, a unique farm to table culinary experience.
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