Sydney, Nova Scotia

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Nashville, Tennessee
719 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Has anyone done either of these tours and have an opinion of them? The Highland Village or the fortress of Louisborg? Both have characters in costume for explaining how things were in the 1700-1800's. We are debating on which one might be better. Any help? This will be early Oct '18.
4,233 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We haven't taken a cruise tour, but visited NS independently on a road trip. Louisbourg was a highlight (and is feasible to combine with the superb mining museum at Glace Bay in the same day if your port times work), but being native Scots we generally avoid like the plague anything pertaining to Scottish culture abroad as it's usually painfully bad - so we didn't bother with the highland village.

As always with specific tourist sites that are independently visited by other folks than cruisers, you'll likely find more info on general travel fora like TripAdvisor than on here, and NB: check the official websites for dates as I know that once you get past Labour Day many Canadians sites step back on how many staff are employed - the costumed 'interpreters' at Louisbourg definitely reduce in number compared to peak Summer season staffing levels.
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548 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
martincath has good advice regarding seasonal closings. I believe Louisburg still has costumed staff through mid October as I recall. It's just a bunch of empty streets and closed shops after that. Visit their website for specific dates.
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Nova Scotia Canada
4,778 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Highland Village shows how early Scottish settlers lived in Cape Breton. It is in a beautiful spot and pleasant to visit. However it is insignificant compared to Fortress Louisbourg. This is a partial reconstruction of the French Fortress (and the town was inside the fortifications) built according to the orginal plans archived in France. The costumed animators play the parts of actual people who lived there in 1744.
To see it at its best you have to come in July or August. In early October you would be best off with a ship's tour. I would suggest that if you think you will be back (and many people find the place and people here so special that they do come back) that you leave the Fortress to another time.

Consider renting a car and taking a scenic drive.

Check out the links and information here:
North Texas
896 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by Northern Aurora
Just wanted to comment that we have been to Louisbourg, and it is so well done. Very impressive and comparable to the quality of Colonial Williamsburg.
Agree! We loved it, but our stay was too short and we want to go back again. (it was also a bit cool with a misty fog and light rain coming off the ocean.
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Nashville, Tennessee
719 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
thanks, everyone. I believe we will do the shore excursion offered by Celebrity to the fortress. It all sounds wonderful so will just have to come back another time. (maybe in the summer!!) Thanks for helping make my decision!
Western PA
1,250 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Our ship will be in Sydney in early May. It appears that a walk along the waterfront and the town would be interesting, and to our taste.
One thing we always like to do is visit a "thrift" shop that supports a local charity or church. Are there any within walking distance of the port?
Any other recommendations of things to see and do nearby?
New York
1,952 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Love the "church" thrift/craft shop. There is also a huge craft market (antiques too) right at the port building near the big fiddle.
Got some of the best alpaca socks there! Most of what's in the craft market is truely artisan, no junk.
874 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Here’s a follow-on question. For a visit to Fort Louisbourg, is it worth hiring a private guide/car or just take the ship’s tour? We’d like to maximize our time at the fort, but the ship sales at 3:30.

We’ve already gone on a walking tour of town and out to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, so we don’t really need to add anything on to the Fort tour.

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Nova Scotia Canada
4,778 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
If you are going in the off season you are best with the ship's tour. If you are going to Fortress Louisbourg in July or August there is no need for a guide as there are animators there to explain things. They do this in character as people living there in 1744.
Nova Scotia
65 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by maryann ns
If you are going in the off season you are best with the ship's tour. If you are going to Fortress Louisbourg in July or August there is no need for a guide as there are animators there to explain things. They do this in character as people living there in 1744.

Well worth the visit. The drive there is not so pretty but very interesting when you get there.

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11 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Just tossing this out ... the restaurant at the top of the winding staircase inside the building behind the fiddle ... well, the food is excellent! As is the view. Going back in May.