Quebec City cruise: what you should know
So, you’ve decided to treat yourself with an extraordinary cruise to Quebec City! Guess what: Quebec City is going to be a highlight of your cruise!
As a tour guide, I believe that there are certain things that you should know before cruising here and make your stay memorable. An informed tourist is a good tourist!
Disclaimer: I’m a native French speaker. English is not my first language. I learned English at school, but I mostly learned it by watching to The Simpsons and listening to rock/metal music. So, I might have made a few mistakes in this blog post. If I did, please tell me, its the best way I can improve!
Quebec City cruise: key information
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships typically dock at Dalhousie Cruise Terminal (or also called Pointe à Carcy) conveniently located in Old Quebec. On busy days, ships may also use pier #103 further west on Champlain Boulevard (a shuttle is usually provided if docked there) or at pier #30 in the Old Port. See where your cruise ship is docked here.
The local language is French, but most people working in the tourism industry speak English. I always find that it’s more polite to start a conversation with ”Bonjour” (Hello). Quebecois are proud of their language and appreciate when visitors try to speak a little French. Even if it’s just ”bonjour” and ”merci” (thank you), we love it!
Quebec City is in the Eastern Time Zone . Daylight Saving Time is observed here, where the time is shifted forward by 1 hour, resulting in a 4 hours difference behind Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT-4 ). That means we are on the same time zone than Montreal and New York City.
Money and Tipping
Canada’s currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). US dollars
are generally accepted in the Old City (Vieux-Québec) though you may get a poor exchange rate. Your change back will be in Canadian money. My advice: exchange your money at a currency exchange center or use your credit card. When dining in restaurants, tips are usually about 15% if you enjoyed your meal. Taxi drivers should be tipped the same. The tipping culture is very similar to the US, but we usually tip less than our American neighbors (about 15%).
Though a little hilly, the Old Quebec is very walkable. Transportation options include buses, taxis, Uber, etc. The port may also offer a shuttle service from the docks to the Old City. Other transportation available are:
A convenient way to get to the upper town from Petit-Champlain St.
Hop-on, Hop-off buses
Old Quebec Tours runs the iconic double-decker buses.
Quebec City public bus service runs bus #1 and #11 in the Old City
Things to do in Quebec City
There are so many things to see and do here! My ultimate goal as a tour guide, when I meet cruise ship passengers, is to make them realize that they should plan to come back for a longer stay. Need inspiration for your next cruise here? You can have a look at my blog or get Urban Guide Canada’s insider guide book. It’s a gold mine of information!
An insider’s guide to Quebec City
A companion guide to your traditional Lonely Planet, Moon or Rough Guides guidebook, this insider’s guide features the best of Quebec City. Plan your Quebec City bucket list, shop at locally owned boutiques, dine at locally run restaurants, and sleep in hotels that add to the city’s charm.
Food and beverages
Quebec’s traditional cuisine is as rich, vibrant and diverse as the province itself. The strongest influences on traditional Quebec cuisine come from France, Britain and Ireland, as they are the three largest ethnic groups in the province. There are Quebecois, French, Italian, Asian, vegetarian, gluten-free restaurants here and much more. There are actually more restaurants per inhabitants in Quebec City than New York City so, you won’t starve here! Need inspiration? Have a look at my article named ”10 restaurants you need to try in Quebec City”
Petit Champlain Street in lower town (close to the main cruise ship terminal) is very quaint and has many local craft shops and restaurants. This street is raked among the top 25 most beautiful streets in the World by Architectural Digest in 2019. St-Paul Street is renown for its local art galleries and antique shops. St-Jean Street in upper town is the main shopping street in the area and has local and chain boutiques. Looking for a more local shopping experience? Head to rue St-Joseph in St-Roch District.
Restaurants and cafes may provide free WIFI for customers. The cruise terminal and the tourist information center (12 St-Anne Street) provides free WIFI.
Weather in Québec City can change quickly throughout the day. It is advised to check the day’s forecast and dress accordingly. Since fall is the peak season for cruising, I recommend packing a rain jacket and waterproof boots. I also recommend you bring warm clothing as it can get chilly near the cruise terminal, thanks to the Ste-Lawrence River. As an example, the average temperature in September here is 14C (56F). Due to the cobblestone streets in Old Québec, it is very important to have proper footwear that gives you support. In short, being comfortable is more important than style!
Best way to explore
The best way to explore and experience my city is by…. booking a walking tour with me! 🙂 When possible, I meet my guests directly at their cruise terminal and we start the tour from there. I know that cruise ship passengers oftentimes only have a few hours here so I do my best to show them as much as I can! Other amazing tours are also available such as:
Will I be showing you around on a walking tour during your next cruise in Quebec City? I hope so! You can contact me and book a tour using the contact form below.
See you in Quebec City!