Cape Breton is fabled as a magical travel destination and the Port of Sydney is the gateway. Known for its beauty and unique Celtic music and culture, Sydney puts some of the Island's greatest sights and attractions at your fingertips when you disembark into the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion.
The dockside pavilion offers an array of Shopping Boutiques, a Craft Market and the World's Largest Fiddle. You will also find wireless Internet services, a Visitor Information Centre, and the Cape Breton Island Exhibition Centre featuring artifacts, images and an overview of the rich culture and heritage of this historic Island. Or you can simply sit and savour our local seafood cuisine at the Range Light Cafe, or enjoy a glass of wine on our second level balcony.
The city of Sydney has a deep history and was originally founded in 1785 by British Loyalists fleeing the perils of the American Revolution. The rich natural resources led these new settlers to establish prosperous coal and steel industries, which attracted immigrants from a myriad of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. To this day, Sydney remains a haven of multiculturalism.
The Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion is just a short drive from the community of Baddeck and the breathtaking Bras d'Or Lake where Alexander Graham Bell lived, worked and studied. On the east coast of Cape Breton lies the largest historic reconstruction in North America, the Fortress of Louisbourg. The Fortress is a Parks Canada National Historic Site and is described as a Williamsburg-style attraction that is not to be missed.
Located in Baddeck, the museum's three exhibit halls contain the largest collection of Bell's inventions including replicas of the first telephone. From the complex's rooftop gardens you can see Bell's 132-room estate Beinn Breagh.
Bras d'Or Lake
Named by the French meaning "arm of gold," this sparkling lake is known for its gentle, fog-free waters, hundreds of coves and islands, and surrounded almost entirely by high hills and low mountains.
In the heart of Cape Breton on the beautiful Bras d'Or Lake, this charming coastal town is home to Alexander Graham Bell's summer mansion, which sits majestically watching over Baddeck Bay.
Cape Breton is the only place in North America where Gaelic is still spoken, and its music, dancing and storytelling have remained a legacy of those who emigrated from the Scottish highlands 200 years ago.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
This 366 square-mile park features stunning mountains, verdant valleys and forests, crystal clear waterfalls, rocky coastlines and the tundra-like plateau known as the Cape Breton Highlands.
Highland Village & Museum
A 43-acre living history museum that celebrates the Gaelic experience in Nova Scotia during the mid-18th century. Period buildings, rare farm animals, exhibits and costumed guides provide a fun and enjoyable journey through history.
This scenic roadway loops around the Cape Breton Highlands and follows the rugged coastline before passing along picturesque Bras d'Or Lake.
Fortress of Louisbourg
The largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America and a National Historic Site of Canada. Costumed guides, historic buildings and demonstrations create an exciting and entertaining lesson in history.
Special Child Pricing Available! Children age 12 and younger, savings up to 50%.
A Walking Tour of Ghosts & Legends of Historic Sydney
1.5 hours | Sydney | YQY-385
Meet your guide in full costume as you stroll the city streets stopping at the areas most eerie locations. Hear stories that will enthrall you with legendary stories of the ghostly residents of Sydney and take you by haunted heritage homes and graveyards that are sure to have you looking over your shoulder.
Take a leisurely walk in the historic district of Old Sydney. Visit three of the most important buildings of this colonial town founded by Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. Enjoy a guided tour of Jost House, a colonial residence featuring furniture and artifacts of the day, as well as the servant's quarters in the basement. The guide, dressed in costume, will bring this fascinating place to life and provide a comprehensive perspective of the Jost's lifestyle.
Cape Breton is world renown for reviving, preserving, and promoting Celtic music and is considered the international center of this lively and celebratory style of music, dancing and storytelling. To see and hear this unique music, look no further than the Marine Terminal's landmark giant fiddle across from the ship. Complete with bow and strings, the fiddle was forged out of solid steel weighs 10 tons and measures 54 feet high and over 14 feet wide. After meeting at the giant fiddle, you'll proceed inside the Terminal, past the many unique shops and restaurants and be piped into the Kavanaugh Room for a personal performance. The program includes a fiddler, a singer and a Celtic dancer. Refreshments including traditional Cape Breton oatcakes will be available. After the performance you're free to return to your ship or browse the many shops in the Terminal.
Enjoy a scenic drive past Sydney's treasured buildings dating back to the early 1700's, including beautifully restored colonial homes and the city's industrial section. Your first stop is the Whitney Pier Historical Museum, dedicated to preserving the legacy and culture of the 55 ethnic groups that settled in Sydney. Enjoy complimentary tea and oatcakes as you view the photographs, newspaper clippings, and artifacts that reflect the area's diverse, rich culture. Next you'll visit the Fort Petrie Historical Site, home of Fort Petrie, one of seven fortifications used to protect Sydney Harbor during World Wars I and II. There you can tour World War II gun emplacements and the museum in the observation post. Walk up to the viewing platform for panoramic views of Sydney Harbor. Continue to the First Nations community of Membertou, a modern day blueprint for all aboriginal communities in North America. Return to the pier where you can end your tour with some shopping at the cruise terminal and visit the Interpretation Center and The Big Ceilidh Fiddle.
You're invited to celebrate Nova Scotia's rich Celtic heritage on a three hour adventure that showcases céilidh, a combination of Celtic music, step dancing, and storytelling. A 30-minute guided walk brings you to Casino Nova Scotia Sydney, where you'll settle into the comfortable Ceilidh Room. Nova Scotia is known internationally for its Celtic musical roots, which permeate the fabric of the Sydney community. Join in the fun of this cultural celebration with a 45-minute performance showcase. Clap along to the music and even learn a few steps yourself! Afterwards, refresh with the classic Cape Breton oatcakes served with tea or coffee. After the festivities, enjoy free time to give lady luck a spin in the full-service gaming casino and don't miss the Casio Nova Scotia Music Hall of Fame, which highlights and celebrates the contribution of Atlantic Canadian artists. Return to port after this high-steppin' day.
Have a beer-or 3! Embark on a festive walking tour, complete with city sights and craft brews. On this adventure you will stroll with you guide for a walking tour around the city. Take a photo with Sydney's most iconic landmark, the world's largest fiddle, and symbol of its Celtic musical roots. Enjoy an 8-ounce craft beer at one of Cape Breton's brew pubs on your first of 3 stops. Learn about the local history while your guide regales you with tales of lore as you make your way along the tour route to your next 2 beer-tasting destinations. Mingle with the locals, experiencing an accent and charm that are well-known to this region. Return to the ship's pier after the tour or stay in town to explore on your own.
Your Gaelic adventure begins as you board your transportation for a scenic drive through the heart of Cape Breton's Bras d'Or Lakes region to the Highland Village, a living history museum and cultural center that celebrates the Gaelic experience in Nova Scotia. The 43-acre village is studded with 11 period buildings, representative of a Gaelic community from the late 1700s to the end of the 1800s. Visit the rare farm animals, including Soay sheep, a descendant of the earliest domesticated sheep in northern Europe, and long-haired Highland cattle. Throughout the village the costumed guides will showcase the art of weaving, quilting, and rug hooking. View authentic artifacts, discover Nova Scotia's rich Scottish Gaelic cultural history, and learn a little Gaelic from the friendly and knowledgeable staff. If you're interested in your own Celtic roots, ask about researching through the museum's genealogical resources. You'll return to the ship along the same scenic route.
Enjoy a drive through rolling green hills reminiscent of Scotland, past Boularderie Island and over the landmark Seal Island Bridge. Heavily forested Kelly's Mountain, situated on St. Ann's Bay, rises 1,000 feet. If you look closely you may be able to spot a bald eagle or two flying overhead. Your first stop is a tour of the Alexander Graham Bell Museum which contains the largest collection of Bell's inventions - see replicas of the first telephone. Take a walk up to the complex's rooftop gardens and you can see Bell's beautiful estate. Later you're free to leisurely stroll Baddeck's unique gift shops and inviting cafés. Or you can walk along Baddeck Harbor for photo opportunities of the lighthouse on Kidston Island and sailboats on the Bras d'Or Lakes. Your return trip takes the same breathtaking route back to your ship.
En route to Fortress Louisbourg, you'll marvel at the deep green rolling hillsides and the pristine waters of Mira River, Nova Scotia's longest river. Located on the Atlantic coast of Cape Breton Island, Fortress Louisbourg is a living museum and an exciting and entertaining lesson in history. The largest reconstructed 18th century French fortified town in North America, the site features over 50 buildings covering 12 acres. You will step back in time to the year 1744 on a site that has been meticulously rebuilt to one quarter of the 18th century town on the foundations of the original by following detailed blueprints from Paris archives. Period homes, exhibits, and theme centers line the streets, as well as along the busy waterfront. After your tour, you're free to explore the fort and grounds on your own. Your trip back to the ship follows the same scenic route.
Your adventure begins as your bus winds its way to the east side of island to the Miner's Museum where you'll learn about coal mining and mining techniques. The highlight of your visit is a tour of the Ocean Deeps Colliery, a coal mine underneath the museum. After an orientation, you'll go down into the mine. Retired coal miners will accompany you on this 30-minute excursion where you will experience what it was like to extract coal. Back on the surface, you'll travel to the Glace Bay Heritage Museum, which features exhibits chronicling the area's history and contributions. Enjoy refreshments then browse the gift shop for unique jewelry, games, handcrafted items, pottery, painting, memorabilia, and books. At the end of your visit you'll return to your ship with a deeper understanding of the pride and hard work of the people who built Sydney into the beautiful city it is today.
Experience the majestic Cabot Trail, considered one of the world's most scenic destinations. Your full-day adventure takes you from Sydney all the way along Cape Breton's Atlantic coast and ends at Ingonish Beach. Although your tour reveals only a portion of the 185-mile island loop, it still captures the unforgettable, majestic beauty of the region. Along the way, your transportation will stop at St. Ann's Lookoff, which boasts stunning vistas of St. Ann's Bay, the Cabot Trail, and the magnificent Cape Breton Highlands. Then, by the time you get to the town of Ingonish, you'll be ready to sit down for lunch to recharge. Following lunch, you'll continue on to Ingonish Beach, part of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Have your camera handy-whales frequent the welcoming waters every summer. Then, you'll wind your way back to your ship in Sydney.
Join local expert Michael Denny for a visit to the community of Eskasoni. Nestled alongside the beautiful Bras d'Or Lake on Goat Island, the Eskasoni First Nation is the largest Mi'kmaq community in the world. Take in the spectacular views of Sydney as you make your way from the pier to Goat Island, where you'll be greeted by Michael in full traditional regalia. With your First Nations guide in the lead, you'll set off on a mile-and-a-half-long hike along the pristine shoreline of the Bras d'Or Lakes. Along the way, you'll stop and experience aboriginal traditions such as smudging (a cleansing smoke bath), a hunting and fishing interpretation, basket making, bread making, dancing, storytelling, and more. After working up an appetite, enjoy a meal of traditional homemade fishcakes, beans, luskinigan (bread), chow chow, molasses cake, and tea. At the end of the day, browse the gift shop for locally made handcrafts and keepsakes.
After a one hour drive from the ship to Baddeck, view Cape Breton from the deck of the 67-foot schooner, the "Amoeba." Cruise the waters of Bras d'Or Lakes. View Alexander Graham Bell's stately mansion and watch for bald eagles in their natural setting. After your sailing experience, enjoy a delicious lunch in the village of Baddeck.
Discover Bras d'Or Lake, Highland Village & Baddeck
6.5 hours | Sydney | YQY-310
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site
Bras d'Or Lake
Highland Village & Museum
Spend a day exploring the Bras d'Or Lakes region of Cape Breton Island. Your first stop is the Highland Village, a living history museum and cultural center that celebrates the Gaelic experience in Nova Scotia. Step back in time as you stroll among the period buildings, view authentic artifacts, discover Nova Scotia's rich Scottish Gaelic cultural history, and learn a little Gaelic from the friendly and knowledgeable staff. Next you'll travel to the Inverary Resort for a complimentary lunch. Originally built in 1850, the 11-acre resort offers outstanding views of the beautiful landscape. After lunch, you'll visit the charming village of Baddeck where you're free to shop. On your return trip to the ship, your route will take you to Seal Island for a photo stop atop Kelly's Mountain. Situated on St. Ann's Bay, Kelly's Mountain offers panoramic views of the entire Bras d'Or Lakes as well as the Seal Island Bridge.