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Havre Saint Pierre Services Maritimes Boréale cruises


Alphen
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Has anybody on a Canada/New England cruise ever used the services of Services Maritimes Boréale cruises out of Havre Saint Pierre for a days cruise to one of the islands? I know it is most likely only French spoken, but it looks like worth a visit. Any experiences are most welcome.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is there website in English, which is accessed by clicking in the upper left hand section of their website. 


Since Canada is a bi-lingual country, in most cases everything would in essence, have to be bi-lingual, but that doesn't consider the cultural feeling/sentiment aspects that are understandable. French will come first in Quebec, it's for sure.

 

So you may definitely reach out to them in English and see about whether or not there are bi-lingual tours or at a minimum, audio translations available by app that you can plug into for listening along.

 

This is certainly what happens on Ho-Ho buses and even on the Circle Line here in NYC, I can't even remember how many languages they have available but when friends visited from Germany, they did their thing while I listed and also walked around picking up on all the various languages people were using, which was (is) truly so cool. 

 

There are also now instant auto translate apps in existence which are getting better HOWEVER, and I mean no disrespect, Canadian French does sound different than French french, but even French french speaker will vary according to regional accent, however, not as much as Canadian french speakers, unless they are doing for example, broadcasting speak. Again, not a diss, and I don't know why, it just is what it is.

 

Might be from the celtic accent (from speaking english blending in? Who knows. Just a guess. In any event, you should be fine. Good luck/Bon chance. 

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It is worthwhile supplementing the comments above. While it is true that the Canadian national government is officially bilingual, the province of Québec is NOT bilingual. French is the official language in Québec. In Québec virtually all services are provided in French, not merely as a matter of preference but as a matter of law. Generally businesses may choose to also provide some or all services in English. But when traveling in areas without much English-speaking tourism, it can sometimes be difficult finding services in English. Ordinarily you would want to ensure that a business in Havre-Saint-Pierre would accommodate anglophones, though the bilingual website strongly suggests that this business can do so. Nonetheless, if you do not speak French then you might want to give the business a heads-up in advance. Even so, some people have reported--generally and not this particular company--that that tour commentary will be much more extensive in French, with English commentary being quite brief. Be aware that you may not receive as much in English as you would receive in French.

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Thank you for your comments explaining the language pro's and con's, just hoping that somebody with experience of one of their tours can also reply.

 

From the comments of non cruise passengers, the tours really sound appealing, apart from the little language barrier, that we can live with if necessary. 

 

Having visited Quebec for work, I am aware that Canadian French is different from the French spoken here in Europe.

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On 7/25/2023 at 1:24 PM, Alphen said:

Has anybody on a Canada/New England cruise ever used the services of Services Maritimes Boréale cruises out of Havre Saint Pierre for a days cruise to one of the islands? I know it is most likely only French spoken, but it looks like worth a visit. Any experiences are most welcome.

 

Are you docking there on a cruise ship?  I ask because we docked there on a small cruise ship (about 28.000ton), but it was a number of years back now, perhaps seven years.  There was a very good cruise terminal with displays and there was a full range of excursions offered by the cruise line, from a walk around the nearest Island, to one a bit further away with lots of unusual rock formations (that we did), and also a Zodiac one.  All were perfectly guided by perfectly good English speaking guides and the terminal staff spoke good English as well - not even a noticeable French accent.  The tours were only half day, possibly 4 hours, or perhaps less in some cases, but TBH the individual Isles de Miquelon are pretty small, so not much point taking longer, unless you went Island hopping to a few of them.  The boat trip to/from the island was really good as well, though it did rain on our return.

 

We sailed from the UK and went up the St Lawrence to Montreal and back, calling at a few smaller, less developed ports in Province Quebec and French was certainly the dominant language among the locals,  For instance we went to the post office in Havre St Pierre and used French out of courtesy, but the lady there was obviously able to manage basic English.

 

If you are on a cruise ship, I would recommend, just going on a half day ship's trip and allowing time in the terminal to explore it - they also had musicians playing for part of the day, as well as displays.  A short stroll around the town was also good, there is not much there, but a very peaceful place and we had a whale which spent much of the day near to the bow of the ship.  I have goggled the company you mention and the boats look just like the ones which were used for our trips, so I suspect they will provide ship's trips if there is a cruise ship in port, so possibly no other option that day anyway.  We have found that is often the case for less visited, more remote ports around the world, whether it be somewhere in Greenland, such as Narsarsuaq, or somewhere in the tropics.  On non cruise days, visitors will quite possibly be Francophiles as they will be from nearby.  Sometimes the tourist staff are brought in from other areas, just for the season.

 

 

   

Edited by tring
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10 minutes ago, tring said:

 

Are you docking there on a cruise ship?  I ask because we docked there on a small cruise ship (about 28.000ton), but it was a number of years back now, perhaps seven years.  There was a very good cruise terminal with displays and there was a full range of excursions offered by the cruise line, from a walk around the nearest Island, to one a bit further away with lots of unusual rock formations (that we did), and also a Zodiac one.  All were perfectly guided by perfectly good English speaking guides and the terminal staff spoke good English as well - not even a noticeable French accent.  The tours were only half day, possibly 4 hours, or perhaps less in some cases, but TBH the individual Isles de Miquelon are pretty small, so not much point taking longer, unless you went Island hopping to a few of them.  The boat trip to/from the island was really good as well, though it did rain on our return.

 

We sailed from the UK and went up the St Lawrence to Montreal and back, calling at a few smaller, less developed ports in Province Quebec and French was certainly the dominant language among the locals,  For instance we went to the post office in Havre St Pierre and used French out of courtesy, but the lady there was obviously able to manage basic English.

 

If you are on a cruise ship, I would recommend, just going on a half day ship's trip and allowing time in the terminal to explore it - they also had musicians playing for part of the day, as well as displays.  A short stroll around the town was also good, there is not much there, but a very peaceful place and we had a whale which spent much of the day near to the bow of the ship.  I have goggled the company you mention and the boats look just like the ones which were used for our trips, so I suspect they will provide ship's trips if there is a cruise ship in port, so possibly no other option that day anyway.  We have found that is often the case for less visited, more remote ports around the world, whether it be somewhere in Greenland, such as Narsarsuaq, or somewhere in the tropics.  On non cruise days, visitors will quite possibly be Francophiles as they will be from nearby.  Sometimes the tourist staff are brought in from other areas, just for the season.

 

 

   

Yes we are on a cruise ship that will dock there. The reason I am investigating is that the cruise company only offers two shorter tours to one island each, lasting less then 2,5 or 3,45 hours. There will be 2 other tours offered, so only 4 to choose from.

 

Services Maritimes Boréale offers longer tours, still fitting our time in port, visiting 2 or 3 isles on one tour, which sounds much more appealing. 

 

We may opt for one of the ships tours to the isles, just in case, which we can always cancel and join one of the Services Maritimes Boréale tours, if they sail that day.

 

I have also reached out to Services Maritimes Boréale, but have not yet had an answer.

Thanks for your reply.

 

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32 minutes ago, Alphen said:

Yes we are on a cruise ship that will dock there. The reason I am investigating is that the cruise company only offers two shorter tours to one island each, lasting less then 2,5 or 3,45 hours. There will be 2 other tours offered, so only 4 to choose from.

 

Services Maritimes Boréale offers longer tours, still fitting our time in port, visiting 2 or 3 isles on one tour, which sounds much more appealing. 

 

We may opt for one of the ships tours to the isles, just in case, which we can always cancel and join one of the Services Maritimes Boréale tours, if they sail that day.

 

I have also reached out to Services Maritimes Boréale, but have not yet had an answer.

Thanks for your reply.

 

 

In those circumstances we would be contacting the company concerned as well, which is what we have often done for remote ports.  A reply will tell you for sure if all their services are contracted to the cruise line, or if other options are available.  I would leave a good length of time after any independently booked tour and the departure time of the ship though, as it is a remote location, so I suspect it would be very difficult to get back to the ship at another port if you miss the ship for some reason.  Whilst all should be fine and distances not large, the boat could always develop a fault, so a return could just get delayed.  I am a self confessed pessimist though - yet insist I am never disappointed because of that 🙂

  

It was  a while since we were there, but I am pretty sure the tours were all as I had mentioned, i.e. trips to various Islands and about four of them.  From our ship, I think all the tours were in the morning, but if you are on a bigger ship, they may be offering afternoon trips as well.  whatever you decide I hope you enjoy your time in one of our most memorable port visits.

 

Edited by tring
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5 minutes ago, tring said:

 

In those circumstances we would be contacting the company concerned as well, which is what we have often done for remote ports.  A reply will tell you for sure if all their services are contracted to the cruise line, or if other options are available.  I would leave a good length of time after any independently booked tour and the departure time of the ship though, as it is a remote location, so I suspect it would be very difficult to get back to the ship at another port if you miss the ship for some reason.  Whilst all should be fine and distances not large, the boat could always develop a fault, so a return could just get delayed.  I am a self confessed pessimist though - yet insist I am never disappointed because of that 🙂

  

It was  a while since we were there, but I am pretty sure the tours were all as I had mentioned, i.e. trips to various Islands and about four of them.  From our ship, I think all the tours were in the morning, but if you are on a bigger ship, they may be offering afternoon trips as well.  whatever you decide I hope you enjoy your time in one of our most memorable port visits.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to elaborate on your experiences, this is all most helpful and already in line what I have found out about this port myself. We will be keeping all our options open for now, plenty of time to dig further.

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