Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Aug 25, 2020
Arrives 08:00 AM
Departs 05:00 PM
In Partnership With AFAR
Located on a rocky inlet on the Atlantic Ocean, Halifax—Nova Scotia’s provincial capital—is defined by its maritime geography. It's a spirited mix of world-class history and nautical-themed museums alongside bunkers and fortresses that guarded the harbor, plus striking public art and sights, funky shops and excellent pubs serving up folk music (and good pints). Explore the Halifax waterfront where steamships once anchored to drop off arriving immigrants at Pier 21. Savor the low-key but classy culinary scene for fresh seafood and Nova Scotia specialties—the city has both street vendors and casual joints catering to university students and upscale eateries with elegant settings. Along Nova Scotia's southern shores, the city is surrounded by lush greenery and charming villages that are worth the trip from downtown proper. Snap photos of attractions in the charming fishing village, Peggy's Cove, with its picturesque lighthouse on a rocky outcropping. Or wander the streets of Lunenburg, whose colorful Old Town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also soak in the charms and sights of Mahone Bay, home to artists' studios and a trio of steepled churches.
Sample Port Activities
The Heart of Historic Halifax
Starting At $59
See Halifax’s charming architecture and tree-lined streets -- remnants of its fascinating 269-year history -- as your guide tells of the pirates and princes, press gangs and brewers who have helped shape the city.
Learn about the Halifax Explosion -- the greatest manmade explosion before the atomic age -- and how the grateful citizens of Halifax continue the citizens of Massachusetts who came to their aid.
Travel with a kilted guide on a deluxe panoramic drive through the streets of Halifax, past old buildings and National Historic Sites. Walk through the Public Gardens -- one of the finest examples of Victorian Gardens in North America -- and meet members of the 78th Highlanders at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.
See Province House and St Paul’s Church, and catch a glimpse of the Old Town Clock -- a gift to the city from the father of Queen Victoria. Learn about Halifax’s immigration history as you drive by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. This Canadian equivalent to Ellis Island welcomed newcomers to this country from 1928 to 1971. Hear about Titanic’s connections to Halifax and visit the Fairview Lawn Cemetery -- the largest terrestrial resting place for Titanic victims.
Notes: Wear comfortable walking shoes.
On the Lighthouse Route: Peggy's Cove Lighthouse & Village
Starting At $59
To truly experience the sheer majesty and power of the Atlantic Ocean until you must travel along the winding coastal highway of the Lighthouse Route to the tiny fishing village and unspoiled beauty of Peggy’s Cove.
Peggy’s Cove is an authentic fishing village -- little wonder it has been an inspiration for artists and an irresistible lure for budding and seasoned adventurers for generation after generation. The colorful houses and fishing shacks perched atop the solid stone rocky outcrop that overlooks the restless waters of the Atlantic exhibit the wear and tear of the ocean and its punishing storms. Yet they endure, much like the small population of approximately 40 year round residents.
Your guide will offer a lobster demonstration and you can even hold a live lobster.
Take time to view the most photographed lighthouse in the whole world and see a famous piece of artwork inspired by this harsh yet breathtaking landscape -- a granite carving by local resident William deGarthe that beautifully depicts the life and the people of the area. You’ll have some free time to stroll along the rocks on your own, browse through the many souvenir shops, and see the unusual rock formations forged by glaciers during the last Ice Age.
Notes: Transfer time to Peggy’s Cove is one hour each way. You will have one hour of free time in the village itself. Guests wishing to spend more time in Peggy's Cove should opt for the ‘Peggy's Cove Extended Visit & Lunch’ tour which offers 2½ hours in the town. For safety, visitors are asked to stay off the rocks and away from the shoreline. Wear warm clothing, a raincoat and sturdy, low-heeled shoes as the wind often carries saltwater spray great distances. You will encounter gravel pathways, paved areas, wooden decking, cement sidewalks, inclines, steps and rocky areas (walking time is approximately one hour). Walking at Peggy's Cove is optional.
Halifax City & Harbour Hopper
Starting At $49
Sign up for this hour-long fun-filled land and water adventure aboard Halifax’s famous Harbour Hopper.
Enjoy the cityscape as your experienced guide introduces you to Halifax’s finest shops, restaurants, museums and historic sites. Make a splash as the Hopper plunges into the harbor so that you can view the Royal Canadian Naval Fleet, Cable Wharf and the city from a waterside perspective.
Learn of Halifax’s involvement with Titanic and how parts of the city were razed to the ground by the devastating Halifax Explosion. You’ll end up back at the ship with time for another tour or some shopping.
Notes: This outing is suitable for guests of all ages and is an excellent choice for families. The Harbour Hopper is exclusive to Holland America Line guests. Tour operates rain or shine, but may be cancelled by the operator in the event of extremely bad weather or unsuitable conditions.
Peggy's Cove Preservation Area Hike
Starting At $109
The secret paths and hidden lagoons along the coastal waterways of southern Nova Scotia are an attraction that few visitors, or even locals, are privileged to explore. Your time in Peggy’s Cove today is not just a visit; it’s an experience. Take in a few of the cities highlights as you leave Halifax and head south, travel the lighthouse route to Peggy’s Cove. Just outside of this famous village is the Peggy’s Cove Preservation Area. Leave your transportation for a one-hour coastal hike with an experienced naturalist guide. Appreciate the spectacular scenic ocean vistas as you scramble across ancient rocky slopes and make the most of postcard-perfect photo opportunities. Keep an eye out for porcupine, mink, deer and eagles as well as the myriad of sea- and birdlife. Whales use these waters as a migratory route. Enjoy free time on your own in Peggy’s Cove, where you can explore the area around the lighthouse and shop for souvenirs. Your guide will introduce you to the lobster industry and show you the different styles of traps.
Notes: Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. The hike portion requires participants to negotiate uneven terrain, gravel, dirt and granite rock pathways. At Peggy’s Cove, visitors are asked to stay off the rocks and away from the shoreline. Terrain includes gravel pathways, paved areas, wooden decking, cement sidewalks, inclines, steps and rocky areas. Wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and a warm sweater; bring an umbrella and a rain jacket.
Peggy's Cove & Double-Decker Hop-On, Hop-Off Halifax Combination
Starting At $99
From the moment you leave the pier, your kilted guide will point out interesting sites and vistas all the way to Peggy’s Cove. Here, you will see for yourself the impressive rock formations and coastal beauty of this rustic, working fishing village. At the lighthouse -- perhaps the most-photographed building in Canada -- take spectacular photos of the building against the surrounding rock. Take advantage of some free time to explore on your own the galleries and shops of Peggy’s Cove. Take photos, talk to the locals, or try the famous and fabulous local gingerbread. If you wish, join your guide for a live lobster demonstration -- you can even hold a live lobster if you’re game.
Back at the pier, hop on a double-decker bus to discover the city of Halifax. The entire double-decker bus fleet is at your service, and your ticket is good all day. You have the flexibility to hop on and off at the many attractions along the route, such as the Titanic cemetery, the Citadel National Historic Site and the Victorian Public Gardens. Visit Halifax your way and at a pace that suits you.
Notes: The hop-on, hop-off tour does not include admission fees to attractions. The hop-on, hop-off buses depart approximately every 15-30 minutes from the pier. A portion of the proceeds from this tour is donated directly to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. On occasion, buses used may not be double-decker. Double-decker buses cannot accommodate wheelchairs. At Peggy’s Cove, visitors are asked to stay off the rocks and away from the shoreline. Terrain includes gravel pathways, paved areas, wooden decking, cement sidewalks, inclines, steps and rocky areas. Wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and a warm sweater; bring an umbrella and a rain jacket.
Peggy's Cove & Titanic Combination
Starting At $64
Visit two of Halifax's most popular landmarks -- scenic Peggy's Cove village and the Fairview Lawn Cemetery -- the final resting place of 121 passengers of the Titanic. Your expedition begins with breathtaking views from wooded coastal roads as you travel along the Lighthouse Route on the way to the historic community of Peggy's Cove.
See the picturesque Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, which has been an inspiration for generations of writers, photographers and painters. And don't miss the famous deGarthe Monument, which artisan William deGarthe carved in the coarse stone. Take time to explore the shops and galleries around this working fishing community before returning to town via St Margaret's Bay. Back in Halifax, at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, follow your kilted guide on a walk through the grounds as (s)he brings to life the tale of the great ship Titanic and its ill-fated maiden voyage. Discover the true identities of the unknown child and J. Dawson -- both recovered from the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Their stories are part of a legacy that continues to fascinate visitors more than a century after the Titanic sank.
Notes: Transfer time to and from Peggy's cove is 60 min each way. One hour will be spent in Peggy's Cove for the lobster demonstration and some free time. For safety, visitors are asked to stay off the rocks and away from the shoreline. You will encounter gravel pathways, paved areas, wooden decking, cement sidewalks, inclines, steps and rocky areas. Wear sturdy, comfortable footwear and a warm sweater; bring an umbrella and a rain jacket.
Historic Halifax & the Citadel
Starting At $39
Discover the heart and soul of the exciting city of Halifax as you get out and explore Nova Scotia's capital on foot. Your kilted guide will encourage your questions and share with you many stories of Halifax's past and present.
Begin with a stroll to the Citadel National Historic Site, which boasts an unparalleled view over the modern port of Halifax. Here you will meet members of the 78th Highlanders Regiment. Step inside the fortress to discover this historic site at your leisure before resuming your walking tour. Continue down the hill, past the 215-year-old Town Clock, Province House, the Metro Centre and City Hall to Grand Parade. The latter was historically a military parade square and is now home to Halifax's oldest building -- St Paul's Anglican Church. At a strolling pace, walk along the tree-fringed streets lined with elegant Victorian buildings. Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore independently are welcome to do so, but must return to the ship on their own.
Notes: Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair. Participants must be mobile and able to walk approximately 1½ miles (approximately two hours) over both even and uneven surfaces, pathways with 10 to 20 steps, different types of terrain such as wooden decking, paved areas, gravel walkways, grassy areas, cement sidewalks and steep inclines. This is all done at a leisurely pace. Wear sturdy walking shoes; bring bottled water.
Halifax Gardens Walk, Panoramic City Drive & Extended Peggy's Cove
Starting At $109
This tour combines pretty seascapes and busy cityscapes, promising a memorable day out in Nova Scotia.
Enjoy a scenic one-hour drive past the beautiful scenery and colorful houses of the Lighthouse Route. This coast is famous for its history of pirates, shipwrecks and rum-running, as well as its newer lighthouse route designation and its eternally fabulous sunsets.
Your destination is Peggy’s Cove -- an artists’ and explorers’ paradise for more than 150 years. This picture-postcard village on the rugged Atlantic shoreline stands on solid rock above the crashing surf. You will have time in Peggy’s Cove to purchase lunch (at your own expense) and be sure to take photos of the lighthouse that is the village’s 21st-century raison d’être.
Relax on the return drive to bustling Halifax. You’ll leave the coach at the city’s Victorian Public Gardens. Free time at the gardens is complemented by a guided walk through this 16-acre oasis set the heart of town.
A panoramic drive takes you around Citadel Hill, where the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is located. The drive and the hilltop site offer wonderful views of Halifax’s skyline and harbor.
The time at Peggy’s Cove is unguided; you are free to explore on your own. At Peggy’s Cove, visitors are asked to stay off the rocks and away from the shoreline. Terrain includes gravel pathways, paved areas, wooden decking, cement sidewalks, inclines, steps and rocky areas. Wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and a warm sweater; bring an umbrella and a rain jacket.
Bays of Fundy, Grand Pre & Charming Winery: In Partnership with Food & Wine Magazine
Starting At $144
A scenic panoramic drive through Nova Scotia’s picturesque Annapolis Valley offers pastoral views and the stunning Bay of Fundy. Visit the Grand Pré National Historic Site, settled by French colonists in the 1600s and home to some of the most extreme tidal ranges in the world. Early Acadian settlers used a complex system of dykes to make the land arable. This UNESCO World Heritage Site area showcases the beauty and heritage of the Acadian marshlands. Check out the replica Acadian church, too. Step inside the Visitor Center, tour the historic park, and see the well-known statue of Evangeline, made famous by Longfellow’s poem of the same name.
In charming Wolfville, you will have 90 minutes of free time for browsing in the shops, galleries and cafés. You may wish to purchase lunch here (at your own expense). Two hundred years ago, this vibrant town was home to wealthy shipbuilders and sea captains; now, it plays host to Acadia University.
The Annapolis Valley boasts a burgeoning wine scene, featured in Food & Wine Magazine. The vines here benefit from a moderating maritime effect. Sample some varietals at Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards -- an artisanal winemaker that produces handcrafted vintages. The wines rival those from France, and the vineyard itself couldn’t be lovelier, with its rustic charm, simple elegance, and spectacular hilltop views of Cape Blomidon and the Bay of Fundy.
Notes: At the Bay of Fundy, you will see evidence of the extreme tide changes, but not the famous tidal bore, visible only further up the bay. Lunch is not included. Travel time is 60 minutes to the Annapolis Valley and 75 minutes back to the cruise terminal. Corkage policy: Wine purchased on this tour is exempt from the on-board corkage fee (offer limited to one bottle of wine per person). Minimum age is 19 years.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Halifax with Admission to the Maritime Museum
Starting At $69
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Halifax with a city tour aboard a brightly-painted authentic London double-decker bus. Journey through the historic streets, learning about this historic seaport and stopping at a dozen different downtown Halifax locations. Hop off and on the bus at a variety of stops and great shopping destinations, such as Historic Properties, the Titanic Cemetery and Spring Garden Road. At the Citadel Hill National Historic Site, witness the splendor, pageantry and precision of the changing of the guard. Enjoy a Fast-Pass admission ticket, which allows you access into the fort so you can see all the costumed interpreters and learn about life back in the day. Discover the city’s connection to the ill-fated first voyage of Titanic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Your Fast-Pass admission allows you access to the whole museum, including various marine artifacts and some interesting naval history. Spend time shopping in the many one-off boutiques along Spring Garden, in the Hydrostone area and along the picturesque waterfront. Discover a bit of the city’s history at the Town Clock and St Paul’s Church and bask in the serenity of the Victorian-style Public Gardens.
Notes: This outing is suitable for guests of all ages and is an excellent choice for families.