Nestled around the St. Lawrence River in the French speaking Quebec province, Quebec City is the crown jewel of French Canada and the capital of the region. Colonised in 1608, it is one of North America’s oldest cities, yet it looks and feels more European than American with its narrow cobblestone streets and old-style bistros, cafés and plazas.
The charming Old Town district is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a picturesque blend of 17th and 18th century houses, interesting museums and splendid examples of European-inspired architectural feats – including the magnificent Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.
But it’s the friendly locals that really make a stopover in Quebec truly memorable. It’s a slice of France in North America – minus the attitude and with an extra dose of hospitality.
Cruise ships usually dock at Espace Dalhousie Cruise Terminal (Port of Quebec), which is located within walking distance of the Old Town. However, during peak times, some cruise ships may dock at Pier 103 which is further west, just below Battlefields Park (a free shuttle service is usually provided if docked here).
The Cruise Terminal at the Port of Quebec is a modern terminal equipped with a number of services and facilities to make arrival into Quebec City as comfortable as possible.
Internet access (including Wi-Fi)
Restaurants and cafés
ATMs and Foreign Exchange services
Tourist information desk
Car hire offices.
Taxis are usually waiting just outside the terminal.
There are a range of accommodation options that can be booked throughout the city.
How To Get Around
Quebec City is very walkable and most passengers will feel comfortable exploring the city on foot. However, taxis can be used for older passengers or those with injuries to get to the main sights in the city.
Travel times from the cruise terminal:
It is a 22 minute journey to La Citadelle
It is a 20 minute journey to the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
It is a 20 minute journey to Terrasse Dufferin.
It is a 10 minute journey to Terrasse Dufferin
It is a 10 minute journey to the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
It is a 12 minute journey to La Citadelle.
Currency – The local currency in Quebec City is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Coins come in 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, C$1 and C$2 denominations. Notes come in C$5, C$10, C$20, C$50 and C$100 denominations.
Time Zone – Quebec City is on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), which is 4 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Quebec City has a humid continental climate with cold and snowy winters, warm summers and plenty of rainfall throughout the year. Average daytime temperatures during summer (June to August) hover around 24 degrees Celsius. During winter (December to February), daytime temperatures can drop to between -5 degrees Celsius and -8 degrees Celsius. The city sees over 1,200mm of rainfall annually, most of it falling between June and September.
La Citadelle – The largest British fortress in North America (covering an impressive 2.3 square kilometres) with over 100 years of history to its name, the star-shaped La Citadelle stands commandingly over the historic district of Old Quebec on Cape Diamond – the city’s highest point. Otherwise known as the fortress of Old Quebec, the fort was completed by the British in 1850 to defend against a possible American invasion that subsequently never materialised. Guided tours of the complex (including a museum and numerous historical sites) are available daily. Open from 9am to 6pm daily (shorter opening times from November to April), admission with a tour costs C$16 per adult and C$6 per child.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac – Designed by American architect Bruce Price and opened in 1893, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is generally recognised as the most photographed hotel in the world. Housing an impressive 611 rooms, 2,000 windows, and a bunch of salons, bars and restaurants, this heritage property overlooks the St. Lawrence River and is within walking distance of the major sites in the city. Famous guests of the hotel include Paul McCartney and Alfred Hitchcock. Don’t forget your camera.
Terrasse Dufferin – Stroll along the 425-metrelong boardwalk known as Terrasse Dufferin (constructed in 1879) and take in breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac from 60 metres above. Alive with street performers and musicians during the summer months, and a famous toboggan run in winter, the boardwalk is also the perfect place to people watch. When you tire of sitting still, take the funicular to the Old Lower Town for further exploration.