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Canadian Empress Review

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Canadian Empress
2.5 / 5.0
23 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line

About

Passengers
66

Crew
14

Passenger to Crew
4.71:1

Launched
September 1981

Shore Excursions
0
Sails To
Sails From
St. Lawrence Cruise Deals

Canadian Empress Overview

Canadian Empress is a riverboat that, while built in 1981, attempts to replicate a Victorian era atmosphere. And it works, not just in decor but in onboard ambiance, ultimately offering a cruise experience that for most of us -- particularly big ship ocean-cruising aficionados -- could seem somewhat precious and quaint.

But wait. You may be in for a very pleasant surprise. True, Canadian Empress, which hails from the one-ship (and family-owned and -operated) St. Lawrence Cruise Lines, isn't fancy. Cabins have no balconies, marble bathrooms with fancy amenities (bring your own shampoo) or in-cabin televisions. In fact, you have to book pretty early just to get a cabin with a double bed (aside from a handful that are so equipped, otherwise, all cabins have single beds). Meals are a communal -- though casual -- affair; dining is at set hours and you order off a set menu (with at most two entree choices) though you can choose your tablemates. And entertainment is provided -- not by casino or elaborate lounge acts -- but, as befits the ship's laidback atmosphere -- by a series of performers, ranging from a musicians to a comedian/songster that hold forth for two hours each night in the grand salon (dining room-reading room-show lounge-bar).

On Canadian Empress, the real focus was on our destinations -- on our trip the ship sailed the venerable St. Lawrence Seaway, which straddles Ontario and Quebec, Canada, and New York State. There was much emphasis on educational touring. Beyond that, crew worked very hard -- and it must be said succeeded mightily! -- in creating a wonderful onboard camaraderie for people who genuinely want to mix-n-mingle. So while a trip on Canadian Empress might not be a great choice for solitude seekers or honeymooners (or young kids), it's a marvelous experience for those who really want to learn something from the cruise they take -- and make some lifelong friends in the bargain.

Canadian Empress sails two- to six-night itineraries between May - October along the St. Laurence Seaway cruise. Starting ports include Kingston, Montreal and Quebec City.

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Fellow Passengers

Passengers by and large hailed from Canada or the U.S. (with a few Germans and Britons in the mix). Most were well traveled and, age-wise, well past retirement. Interestingly, many of them were devoted river cruisers who'd never even considered travel on a contemporary ocean-going cruise ship.


St. Lawrence Canadian Empress Dress Code

There's really no dress code - casual wear is the watchword. There are no formal nights though people did dress a bit more spiffy (business casual) on the cruise's last evening.


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Canadian Empress Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins2.9
Dining3.04
Entertainment2.03.8
Public Rooms3.6
Fitness Recreation2.3
Family1.0N/A

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Awards and Recognition

St. Lawrence Canadian Empress Member Reviews

Canadian Empress
Ganmaggy
Sail Date: Jun 2019
The Canadian Empress is a replica of the old steam operated passenger riverboats that used to cruise in the Thousand Islands of the St Lawrence River.... Read More
Canadian Empress
Fiddlegal00
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Family and friends have all cruised, so we wanted our first one to be on a small boat and on a river. We love Canada and settled on St. Lawrence River Cruises. Customer service was tremendous while we planned a... Read More
Canadian Empress
NurseLinda
Sail Date: Sep 2018
We chose this cruise due to location and an opportunity to combine it with a stay in the old walled part of Quebec City. The boat is modeled after a river steamboat of the early 1900s and is architecturally... Read More
Canadian Empress
MarEd0396
Sail Date: Oct 2016
We have done a lot of cruising on large ships, but found the Canadian Princess cruise to be more intimate and lots of fun.... Read More

St. Lawrence Cruise Lines Fleet

Canadian Empress
2.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

23 reviews

Canadian Empress is a riverboat that, while built in 1981, attempts to replicate a Victorian era atmosphere. And it works, not just in decor but in onboard ambiance.

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