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Sable Island wild horses

Canada's East Coast - Fins and Fiddles

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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Explore the islands of Canada's Atlantic Maritime Provinces, starting and ending in the historical town of Louisburg, on Cape Breton Island. A rich and diverse culture is found in the small fishing communities and remote out ports, in an area well-known for its Celtic traditions, music, and cuisine. The region also offers a staggering abundance of wildlife, including prolific birdlife, numerous seal and whale species, and the fabled ponies of Sable Island. Beaches and lagoons provide viewing opportunities for numerous shorebirds, while humpback, minke, and blue whale as well as gray and harp seals can be viewed at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Louisburg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Day 2 : Sable Island
Day 3 : Cape Breton | Bird Island
Day 4 : Charlottetown
Day 5 : Islands around the St Lawrence
Day 6 : Bonaventure Island
Day 7 : St. Lawrence River
Day 8 : Gros Morne National Park
Day 9 : Francois, Newfoundland
Day 10 : Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
Day 11 : Disembark at Louisbourg


  • Learn about the history of Sable Island and view the herd of wild ponies
  • Celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary in Charlottetown
  • Watch for whales at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River
  • Explore the area as an adventurer - kayak, hike, paddle board, and cycle


Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited

  • Arctic
  • Atlantic Coast
  • Canada
  • North America
  • Bird Islands
  • Cape Breton
  • Charlottetown
  • Francois
  • Gros Morne National Park
  • Gulf of Saint Lawrence
  • Ile Bonaventure
  • Louisbourg
  • Newfoundland
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Sable Island
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Sable Island wild horses Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park Northern gannet colony Gaspesie Peninsula Hiking the rocky coastline of the Canadian Maritime

Day 1 Louisburg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Arrive in the historic port town of Louisburg, Nova Scotia, and board the expedition vessel, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisburg was the third busiest seaport in North America. Enjoy a dinner of fresh, local lobster as you sail out past the lighthouse into the North Atlantic.

Day 2 Sable Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on the edge of the Grand Banks, hundreds of kilometers from the coast, Sable Island has a storied history as a graveyard of ships, with more than 350 ships falling victim to the treacherous currents and sandbars. Sporadically inhabited by sealers, shipwreck survivors, and salvagers, the island is now home to fewer than six year-round inhabitants, a herd of wild horses, and one of the largest gray seal colonies in the world. It is an important stopover for numerous migratory bird species as they make their way to and from the High Arctic regions.

Day 3 Cape Breton | Bird Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Return to Cape Breton and continue your exploration of this beautiful island by stopping in Englishtown. You have a few options in this area. Encounter Atlantic puffins and razorbills on Bird Island where you can explore by zodiac. The seaside community of Englishtown is also a fascinating location featuring numerous points of interest. The Gaelic College in Cape Breton is a short bus ride away from the beach where you disembark, and provides an interesting diversion. There are opportunities to launch the sea kayaks, enjoy a stand-up paddle board excursion in the placid waters, or a cruise in the zodiacs. On shore hiking and gentle cycle touring are other activities to enjoy.

Day 4 Charlottetown

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In September of 1864, representatives from the British Colonies in North America met in Charlottetown to discuss Confederation. On July 1st, 1867, the Dominion of Canada came into being. This is a very historic location and a fitting place to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Today, anchor off Prince Edward Island near the town of North Rustico. From here you can split off in several directions. A tour into Charlottetown for those interested in a day in town is an option, or perhaps a visit to Green Gables, or spend a few hours at the island’s famous Cavendish beach with a mandatory sampling of Cows Ice Cream. Other enticing options could be a leisurely bicycle ride along the Confederation Trail or the Coastal Drive, a round of golf on one of the island's celebrated golf courses, or a kayak paddle in Rustico Bay.

Day 5 Islands around the St Lawrence

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sculpted out of sandstone, the islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are home to unique fishing communities with beautifully maintained waterfront houses and boats, flowing grassy meadows, and sandstone shorelines sculpted by the elements. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture found in the islands, encounter a wide diversity of bird and sea life. Europeans first discovered the islands in the mid 15th century, though it’s thought indigenous Miíkmaqs had been visiting for centuries to hunt walrus. Quebecois and Acadian culture features strongly in the local cuisine, craft, and language. The island’s gentle terrain is a cyclist’s paradise, while the sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding through sea arches and into sandstone sea caves are superb. Otherwise you might enjoy a whale-watching cruise in the zodiacs or head to the beach to soak up some sun or build sand castles!

Day 6 Bonaventure Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At Bonaventure Island drop the anchor near the town of Percé and explore the island by zodiac. This location has a rich natural, historic, and geological heritage. Sculpted over time by the sea, the island is situated at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. The outstanding flora and fauna, including its famous colony of northern gannets, make this location a highlight. Almost 300 different species of birds have been recorded as visiting, migrating to, or living on Bonaventure Island. An afternoon visit to the community of Percé provides a window into the rich fishing culture of French-Canada. Zodiac cruising, sea kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding are all activities that can be undertaken here, weather permitting.

Day 7 St. Lawrence River

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, where the river water mixes with Arctic waters and the more temperate Atlantic waters, lies Anticosti Island. Plan to hike along the beaches near the eastern end of the island followed by a zodiac cruise along the cliffs at East Point. Hope to observe several species of shorebirds and seabirds as well as whales and seals, which are frequent visitors to the island's waters. Bald eagles soaring along the shoreline, deer in the woods, and whales just offshore are all common sights in this location.

Day 8 Gros Morne National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing into majestic Bonne Bay, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, the cliffs soar up out of the water and are covered in a green blanket of tuckamore forest – windswept spruce sculpted by the ocean breeze. At Woody Point you are welcomed ashore by a delegation from the community before hiking up to the excellent interpretation center. From there, various guided walks take you into the World Heritage-listed Tablelands and to the lookout for a view over much of the park! A boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, white-throated sparrows, and perhaps even a moose could all be encountered as you explore the park. The twisting mountain road to Trout River makes for a challenging bike ride with your guides or a paddle along the shores of Bonne Bay is another great option.

Day 9 Francois, Newfoundland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The community of Francois on the south coast of Newfoundland was settled in the late 1700s. Francois’s rich fishing heritage also included operation of a whale factory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as an ‘out-port’, and accessible only by boat or from the air by helicopter, Francois has a deep harbour which is navigable year-round. When entering Francois harbour, you are first greeted by one of the few remaining manned light stations on the coast of Newfoundland. Once past the light, the narrow opening leading into the steep-walled rocky fjord amazes you. This is a spectacular location and for many, a highlight of the trip.

Day 10 Saint-Pierre et Miquelon

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon are a small group of islands situated off the south coast of Newfoundland. They were first settled by the French in the early 17th century and today, the islands are the sole remaining vestige of France’s once vast North American empire. Walking down the streets feels like taking a stroll through a provincial French town. There's an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, cruise in the zodiacs to see these colourful birds. Tonight enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain to mark the end of your voyage through Canada’s spectacular Atlantic provinces.

Day 11 Disembark at Louisbourg

  • 1 Breakfast
Sail back to Cape Breton across the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, heading again for the historic port of Louisbourg. Disembark in the morning and head to the airport or add a few extra days in Cape Breton to enjoy one of the gems of Canada’s East Coast.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Per person starting at
The Triple Cabins.
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Triple Share
Bunk beds and a sofa bed. Facilities are shared and there is a washbasin in the cabin, writing desk, porthole.
Twin Private Cabins.
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Twin Semi-Private
1 lower berth, 1 sofa bed and semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) facilities. Writing desk, window.
Twin Private Cabin.
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Twin Private
1 sofa bed, 1 lower berth and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Superior Cabins.
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2 lower berths, sofa and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Shackelton Suite.
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Shackleton Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.
One Ocean Suite.
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One Ocean Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.


- Single Supplement: 1.5x for twin and superior cabins and 2x for suites. Single supplement is not available in the triple cabin category.

- Child and Youth Prices: 25% discount for young people aged up to 17 years, and 20% off for those aged from 18-21 years who can prove they are in full-time education.

*All guided activities are included in the price from kayaking and biking to stand up paddle-boarding.*

Please Note: Specific sites visited depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary may be updated throughout the voyage to take advantage of favorable conditions.


  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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