French navigator Jacques Cartier, the first European explorer to discover the St. Lawrence River, gave the river its name to celebrate arriving on the feast day of St. Lawrence.
The St. Lawrence begins at the outflow of Lake Ontario and flows 1,900 miles before draining into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the largest estuary in the world. Running in roughly northeasterly direction, the river connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the international boundary between Ontario, Canada, and the U.S. state of New York.
The basis of the commercial Saint Lawrence Seaway, the St. Lawrence has long been in important route for trade and travel. The majority of cruising is through Northeastern Canada, home to historic ports of call like Montreal, Quebec City, and Trois-Rivieres, as well as a wealth of dramatic scenery, with rocky cliff bluffs, shorebirds, whales, and colorful native cultures to be explored.
There are lots of options for cruising the St. Lawrence, from larger cruise ships like Holland America, Crystal Cruises, Seabourn, and Silverseas, to international cruise lines like Fred. Olsen and U.S.-based small ships like Blount Small Ship Adventures, Saint Lawrence Cruise Lines, and Pearl Seas. June through October is generally the best time to go, with mild temperatures and summer festivals underway. Fall foliage enthusiasts won’t want to miss this region in October!