The largest inland port in the world, Montreal is also the busiest along the St Lawrence River, which links the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Founded in 1642 by French Catholic settlers, today Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world and often referred to as the most European city this side of the pond, with its cobblestone streets and sidewalk cafes.
How to get to Montreal
Cruise ships dock at Old-Montreal’s Iberville Passenger Terminal, which is within walking distance of many of the city’s main attractions, including the Old Town, the Notre-Dame Basilica and the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum. Taxis are also readily available at the port.
One Day in Montreal
A visit to Montreal wouldn’t be complete without a few hours spent exploring the charming Old-Montreal district, starting at the towering Basilique Notre Dame de Montreal with its dramatic Neo-Gothic architecture and striking organ. The neighborhood offers an array of museums, boutiques and cafes, including the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum, which was built over the remains of the old port and gives visitors a look at the underground history of the first French settlers. For more local history, the Centre d’histoire de Montreal is also worth a visit.
Modern art lovers will enjoy the forward-thinking displays at DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art and Centre PHI, while others will love the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the city’s premier art space with 35,000 paintings.
Shoppers will be in heaven, with options ranging from the high-end boutiques on Rue Sherbrooke to the quirkier local shops in Quartier Latin. Should the weather not be cooperative, the Underground City mall hosts more than 1,000 stores in passageways beneath the city. Science aficionados can head to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, built for the 1976 Summer Olympics and transformed into Canada’s largest scientific complex with the Biodome, Insectarium, Planetarium and Botanic Garden.
For a more active view of the city, try a jet boat ride on the St Lawrence River, or rent a bike and pedal along some of Montreal’s 400 miles of bike paths. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, you might head to the Casino de Montreal on the Ile Notre-Dame, Canada’s largest casino.
French is the official language in Montreal, but most locals speak English as well. The currency is the Canadian dollar, and ATMs are widely available. Seeing as the port is located in Old-Montreal, there is no shortage of things to see and do while remaining close to the ship.