The Cruising Experience

A New Adventure Into an Old Tradition

River cruises have continued to grow in popularity over the past few years, but the tradition of these cruises dates back to the 19th Century.  In many ways, it is like modern travelers have re-discovered the classic combination of relaxation, comfort, and intimacy that these journeys provide. In North America, St. Lawrence Cruise Lines has the distinction of being the most experienced river cruise operator in the magnificent St. Lawrence River region, and the company is proud to be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2021. This experience comes with a tremendous knowledge and understanding of the geography of the region that allows St. Lawrence Cruise Lines to deliver cruises that are tremendously detailed and full of value.


For many Canadians, the St. Lawrence River is part of our local geography. What makes the St. Lawrence River so attractive to travelers?

  1. The St. Lawrence River is enormous. The river proper, at 774 miles in length, runs northeast from Lake Ontario towards the Atlantic, where it forms the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This magnificent river is still fairly young, having only formed around 10,000 years ago. The river is at its most striking in September and October when its shores become a kaleidoscope of fall colours.
  • Settlers began constructing canals along parts of the river as early as 1783. In 1954, Canada and the United States agreed on the mutual construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power project, connecting Montreal to Lake Erie. The Seaway opened in 1959 and celebrated its 60 year anniversary in 2019.
  • The 1000 Islands include 1865 islands and hundreds of miles of picturesque coastline. This region features both the beauty of nature and historic attractions that include museums, forts, fairy-tale castles, and national parks. The entire region is a giant playground with fantastic boating, swimming, hiking, and bird watching.
  • The St. Lawrence River connects English and French Canada, and traveling the river is a journey between two cultures. The old-world charm of the Province of Quebec features landscapes, ecosystems, architecture, food, and cities that are unlike anywhere in North America.
  • The Ottawa River is the chief tributary of the St. Lawrence River, with the southeast part of the river acting as the Quebec–Ontario provincial border. Over 790 miles, the river forms innumerable lakes, and it became a chief route of explorers and fur traders, and lumberers in the early 19th century. The economic activity generated by these industries led to Ottawa becoming the national capital. The city is now famous for its numerous museums and galleries, as well as Canada’s parliament buildings.


The CANADIAN EMPRESS is a nostalgic replica steamboat with 64 passenger capacity and a warm and friendly personality. This makes it the perfect way to experience calm-water cruising, and explore the unique beauty and rich history of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The size and design of the vessel serve to enhance the intimacy and authenticity of the river cruise experience. The interior of the vessel is full of charming brass furnishings and ornate metal ceilings, and this classic steamboat style has been combined with modern engineering and amenities to enhance comfort, security, and relaxation.

This ship will carry you through the very heart of Canada’s most beautiful scenery, on routes specifically selected for their stunning gifts of history, natural beauty, and modern vitality. This is a chance to see a side of Canada and the United States that can only be viewed from the shared waters of the St. Lawrence River, from the charming bays and inlets of the Thousand Islands, to the locks and canals of the International Seaway, and beyond to the old world culture of Quebec.

Cruises run from May to October with departures from Kingston, Ottawa, and Quebec City. For more information about St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, visit or call 1-800-267-7868.