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Sable Island wild horses

Canadian Maritimes - Fins and Fiddles

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Ioffe
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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 : Bird Island
Day 4 : The Magdalen Islands (Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine)
Day 5 : Bonaventure Island and the Gaspe Peninsula
Day 6 : Anticosti Island
Day 7 : Gros Morne National Park
Day 8 : Francois
Day 9 : St Pierre et Miquelon
Day 10 : Louisburg


  • Learn about the history of Sable Island and view the herd of wild ponies
  • Watch for whales at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River
  • Explore the area as an adventurer - kayak, hike, paddle board, and cycle


Akademik Ioffe

Places Visited

  • Arctic
  • Atlantic Coast
  • Canada
  • North America
  • Anticosti Island
  • Bird Islands
  • Cape Breton
  • Francois
  • Gros Morne National Park
  • Gulf of Saint Lawrence
  • Louisbourg
  • Magdalen Islands
  • Newfoundland
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Perce
  • Quebec
  • Sable Island


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 Ioffe. 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. Board the ship in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of fresh, local lobster as you sail out past the lighthouse, into the North Atlantic - and onto the Grand Banks.

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 Sable Island ponies, 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 region. Sable Island is one of Canada’s newest national parks and the long sand beaches are best explored on foot.

Day 3 Bird Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Returning into the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, commence exploration along the north-central coast of Cape Breton. The Bird Islands are home to a number of important species including the great cormorant, Atlantic puffin, Atlantic razorbill, and black-legged kittiwake, and are known as an important feeding area for Cape Breton’s population of bald eagles. Cruise in the zodiacs and hike onshore during daily shore excursions, all in the company of expert guides.

Day 4 The Magdalen Islands (Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sculpted out of sandstone, the remote islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence are home to unique fishing communities with beautifully maintained waterfront houses and boats, flowing grassy plains, and sandstone shorelines sculpted by the elements. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture found in the islands, a wide diversity of bird life is encountered along the beaches and lagoons. Europeans first discovered the islands in the mid 15th century, though it’s thought indigenous Mi’kmaqs have been visiting for centuries to hunt walrus. Quebecois and Arcadian culture runs strongly through the towns and villages of the islands, through local cuisine, craft and language.

Day 5 Bonaventure Island and the Gaspe Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At Bonaventure Island drop the anchor near the town of Perce and visit the island by zodiac. This location has a rich natural, historic, and geological heritage. Sculpted by time and the sea, the island is situated at the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. Its outstanding flora and fauna, including its famous colony of northern gannets, make it a must-see location. Almost 300 species of birds have been recorded as visiting, migrating to, or living on Bonaventure Island.

Day 6 Anticosti Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River where the river water mixes with Arctic waters from the Strait of Belle Isle and the more temperate Atlantic waters, Anticosti Island is rich in marine wildlife. Hike along the beaches near the eastern end of the island followed by a zodiac cruise along the cliffs at East Point. Keep your eyes open for shorebirds and seabirds as well as whales and seals which are frequent visitors to the island's waters.

Day 7 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 a delegation from the community welcomes you ashore. Hike up to the excellent interpretation center, where various guided walks lead into the World Heritage-listed Tablelands and to the lookout for a view over much of the park – a spectacular experience!

Day 8 Francois

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The community of Francois (pron. Frans-way), in the south coast of Newfoundland, was settled in the late 1700s. Small boat fishers harvested a variety of species during the summer fishing season. 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 harbor which is navigable year-round. When entering Francois harbor, view one of the few remaining manned light stations anywhere on the coast of Newfoundland. Once past the light, be amazed by the narrow opening leading into the steep-walled rocky fjord. This is a spectacular location.

Day 9 St Pierre et Miquelon

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Saint-Pierre and 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 represent 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. As a part of France, the area has much in common with Europe, but also with its Canadian and American neighbors. There's an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, cruise in the zodiacs to see these colorful birds. Tonight enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain to mark the end of your voyage through the beautiful Maritimes.

Day 10 Louisburg

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

Akademik Ioffe

Per person starting at
The Triple Cabins.
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Main Deck Triple
Deck 3, bunk beds and a sofa bed. Shared facilities, in cabin washbasin, writing desk/chair, ample storage, bathrobes & porthole.
Twin Private Cabins.
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Twin Semi-Private
Deck 4, one lower berth and one sofa bed, a writing desk and ample storage. Semi-private facilities (one bathroom between two cabins). Opening window.
Twin Private Cabin.
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Twin Private
Deck 4 and 5. All cabins have two lower berths, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window.
Superior Cabins.
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Deck 6 these cabins have two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window.
The Shackelton Suite.
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 & 5, 1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, writing desk/chair, TV/DVD, IPod alarm clock. Private facilities, window & deluxe amenities.
One Ocean Suite.
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 5, 1 double berth, 1 sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, TV/DVD, IPod station. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow. Deluxe amenities.


- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.

- Twin and superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the shared price, suites for 2 times the shared price. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.

- 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.


  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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