Quebec City, Canada Cruise Port Guide

A Quebec City cruise gives you a delicious taste of France in the heart of Canada. Sidewalk cafés, cobblestone lanes, window boxes brimming with flowers, and the sound of French spoken on the street all add to the European ambiance here. Lying on the St. Lawrence River, the city is especially beautiful in fall, when the trees turn scarlet and gold.

 There’s plenty to do here, from learning about military history to walking the old city walls. Admire river views from the Dufferin Terrace boardwalk, browse the shops on enchanting Rue du Petit-Champlain, and sample local produce on the serene Ile d’Orléans. Many of our Canada and New England cruises spend the night in port, too, so you can enjoy the sights by day and experience the buzz of the city’s bars, cafés, and restaurants after dark.

Cruises to Quebec City, Quebec

View All Cruises to Quebec City

Top Sights & Attractions on Cruises to Quebec City

Old Quebec

Any visit to Quebec City should begin with a stroll around 400-year-old Vieux-Quebec, the Old Town, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the Lower Town, admire the quaint architecture on Place Royale and take in the street entertainment on Rue du Petit-Champlain. In the Upper Town, see the magnificent Chateau Frontenac and explore the fortress neighborhood, including the Place d’Armes, the Place de l’Hotel de Ville, and the Artists’ Alley.

Le Château Frontenac

Perched on top of Cape Diamond, this Old Quebec gem is a historic hotel in the Upper Town and an icon of the city. Built in 1893, the ornate chateau, adorned with turrets and spires, is modeled after the architecture of the French Renaissance and is said to be the most photographed hotel in the world. Peek into the lobby, where there are displays of artifacts dating back 400 years, or drop in for a drink or a meal in this magnificent setting.

Montmorency Falls

Less than five miles from downtown Quebec City, the Montmorency River plunges dramatically over a steep cliff before flowing into the St. Lawrence River. Take a cable car up to the Manoir Montmorency restaurant for sweeping views. Feel the spray on the suspension bridge, or tackle the via ferrata climbing trails. You can even fly over the falls on a zipline, with fabulous views over the Ile d’Orléans and Quebec City.

Learn More About Quebec City Shore Excursions

Things to Do in Quebec City

Explore the Citadelle de Quebec

The star-shaped Citadelle is the largest British-built fortress in North America. It was constructed on Cap Diamant between 1820 and 1850 and is still an active military garrison. Step inside and learn about the history of the Royal 22e Regiment, the French-speaking soldiers from Canada and the USA who fought in World War I. Explore the role of the Citadelle and other structures in the defense of the city, and take in extensive views of Old Quebec.

Visit the Musée de la Civilisation

While you explore Old Quebec, head to the Musée de la Civilisation, where modern and ancient collide. Their interactive exhibits on contemporary life and civilization are thought-provoking for anyone who enjoys an afternoon learning at one of the world’s most famous museums.

Admire the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

While you’re exploring near the St. Lawrence River, stop to take in the beauty of Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, an important Catholic sanctuary that nearly half a million visitors flock to each year, and the basilica holds special meaning as a place of healing. Go inside for detailed shrines, sculptures, and depictions chronicling the life of Jesus Christ.

Top Food & Drink in Quebec City

Quebec City has an eclectic and thriving culinary scene and is a joy for food lovers to explore. You’ll find poutine—fries covered with cheese curds and gravy—everywhere, and every local has their favorite go-to poutine spot. Try tourtière, a meat pie served with ketchup, and fèves au lard, which are baked beans served with maple syrup. Hearty pea soup, with vegetables, meat, and peas, is great for warming up on a cool day. French-style creperies are dotted around the city, with a multitude of sweet and savory toppings on offer. Stop in a boulangerie (bakery) where you can pick up a baguette, warm from the oven, with butter and ham.

The best dishes to look out for are those made with local ingredients, from berries and apples grown on the Ile d’Orléans to local cheeses, wines, craft beers, and ciders. There’s maple syrup on every menu; if you have a sweet tooth, try tarte au sucre, a gooey pie made with maple syrup instead of sugar and whipped cream.

Culture & History of Quebec City

The first inhabitants of the area were the Iroquois and the Algonquin tribes, who farmed in the St. Lawrence Valley for centuries. Europeans didn’t set foot in the area until the 16th century, and French settlers claimed the area as “New France.” In 1608, French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City. However, its harsh, bitter winters made the area notoriously difficult to colonize, where disease and the cold held back population growth. 

The 17th and 18th centuries were a time of conflict between the French, British, American, and Native populations. Quebec City has been besieged five times but was finally conquered in 1759 by the British to become the capital of what was then known as British North America. Nowadays, it’s the heart of French culture on the continent—French is the first language and there are many French influences on cuisine and architecture.

Quebec City Cruise Port Facilities & Location

The Ross Gaudreault Cruise Terminal is situated close to the Petit Champlain neighborhood, on a point where the St. Charles River flows into the St. Lawrence. Both the Lower Town and the Upper Town, which together comprise the Old City, are easily walkable from the port. You’ll find a café inside the terminal, as well as free Wi-Fi.

Transportation in Quebec City

Rideshare services operate in Quebec City, and you can hail one from the assigned pickup and drop-off points at the port. Taxis wait at the port, and there are several car rental companies with offices here, too. You could also try an open-air Vélo-Taxi (a taxi bike) for an emission-free way of sightseeing, or rent an e-bike for the day.

Quebec City has good public transportation, and bus route no. 11 will take you around the Old City—and you can pay the fare with US Dollars. There’s a funicular service between the Lower and Upper Towns, too.

Shopping Near the Quebec City Cruise Port

There’s excellent shopping close to the port in Place Royale, a 400-year-old square where you’ll find quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants. The Rue du Petit-Champlain is also a great place to shop for crafts, local fashion, art, and quirky homeware. Rue St. Jean is the main shopping street, while lovers of antiques should head to Rue St. Paul. Things to buy in Quebec City include maple syrup and anything flavored with maple syrup, and moccasins and leather purses made by the Huron-Wendat Native people. Nougat, a woolen tuque hat (like a beanie), art from Rue du Trésor galleries, and local cheese from the market are all great things to take home.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

Quebec uses the Canadian dollar (CAD) as its official currency. There are ATMs all over the city, although most places take credit cards. Some places and services accept US dollars, but you may be given change in Canadian dollars. Tipping isn’t typically included in the bill at restaurants or bars in Quebec City, so the best practice is to leave a tip of 15-20% for good service.

Find Cruises to Quebec City

Previewing: Promo Dashboard Campaigns