MS Jacques Cartier Review and Specifications
Specifications of MS Jacques Cartier
|Year built||1924 / Age : 95|
|Builder||Saint John Shipbuilding (Saint John, NB Canada)|
|Ferry route / homeports||Toronto-Quebec City|
|Owner||Croisieres MS Jacques-Cartier|
|Operator||Jacques Cartier Cruises, CroisiEurope USA|
|Speed||10 kn / 19 kph / 12 mph|
|Length (LOA)||55 m / 180 ft|
|Beam (width)||13 m / 43 ft|
Review of MS Jacques Cartier
MS Jacques Cartier cruise ship is owned by the Canadian private company "Croisieres MS Jacques-Cartier" (based in Trois-Rivieres) and operated under charter by the French river cruise company CroisiEurope (a family-owned business). The ship cruises on Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River, between May and October.
This Canada-flagged and crewed boat has a draft of only 3 m (10 ft) making it perfect for river and coastal cruising. The renovated Jacques-Cartier was outfitted with a new top-deck observation area, wellness areas (spa, sauna, gym, massage rooms). All cabins were fully redesigned and refurbished. Also was added a storage area for ship's sea kayaks and Zodiacs (large motorized boats used for landings and close-to-shore cruising). Ashore activities include hiking, sea kayaking, Zodiac excursions, geocaching (GPS-based hunting for objects), wildlife viewing, tasting local cuisine specialties.
Jacques Cartier ship has a total of 34 staterooms, all of which are outside-facing.
- Main Deck cabins are in 2 categories (Cat1, Cat2), sized 145-160 ft2 (13-15 m2), each with one non-opening Porthole (square window).
- Upper Deck cabins (Cat3) are sized 200 ft2 (19 m2), and all are with French balconies (one sliding floor-ceiling glass door opens to a false balcony/railing).
- On Bridge Deck are the boat's all 6 French Balcony Suites (in 3 categories - Suite, VIP Suite, Owner Suite). They are sized, respectively, 210-225-280 ft2 (20-21-26 m2).
Regardless of cabin category, all staterooms offer as standard amenities en-suite bathroom (WC, shower, mirrored single-sink vanity with under sink storage, hairdryer), 2 single lower beds (or 1 double), bedside cabinets with 3 drawers, wall-mounted reading lamps, mirrored dressing table / writing desk with armchair, small wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), central heating (with individually controlled air-conditioning), 120V power sockets.
French Balcony cabins have a seating area with 2 armchairs. All Suites are with double bed, larger bathroom (double-sink vanity) and larger seating area (1 low table, 2 armchairs.
Shipboard facilities and amenities
Dining Room (aft on Main Deck) is ship's only restaurant - complimentary, with single-sitting capacity and open-seating arrangement. Breakfasts and Lunches are buffet-style, while Dinners is waiter-served. Dress code is smart casual. Formal nights are not held onboard. Gourmet meals are prepared on the ship (by the dedicated chef) using freshest, locally sourced ingredients and regional products.
Ship's wellness areas are located forward on Main Deck (Gym, Sauna Room, Treatment Room for massages) and on the above Upper Deck (Spa Lounge / bow-located relaxation area with loungers and Jacuzzi). Aft on Upper Deck is the Lower Sundeck - with two Hot Tubs and small sunbathing area. Forward-midship on Observation Deck is the Upper Sundeck (Solarium) with loungers, tables, and deckchairs. Also on top-deck is the glass-walled Solarium Lounge (with its own Bar) and ship's two full-capacity lifeboats and their davits (crane-like lowering equipment).
The Bar Lounge (aft on Upper Deck) is a tastefully decorated quiet place with comfortable furniture (2-seater sofas, armchairs, coffee tables). Its Bar is lined up with high chairs and serves non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, including pre- and post-dinner cocktails.
Art Deck (aft on Main Deck) serves as a marina for launching ship's sea kayaks and Zodiac boats. The Wheelhouse (Navigation Bridge) and the adjacent officers quarters are located forward on Bridge Deck (4). Two staircases connect all decks.
Wi-Fi is complimentary, with shipwide coverage (in all public areas and staterooms) but subject to availability (reception) along the cruise itinerary route. Tipping is not expected.
Jacques Cartier ship offers two 9-day Canadain cruise tour itineraries - northbound (Toronto to Quebec City), and the reverse southbound (Quebec City to Toronto). Call ports along the routes include Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario), Kingston (Ontario), Thousand Islands (archipelago of 1864 isles and islets along USA-Canada border), St Lawrence River (cruising), Montreal (Quebec), Trois-Rivieres (Quebec) and Quebec City.
Next, are listed all daily scheduled activities along the northbound route.
- Day 1 (TORONTO) embarkation, onboard dinner, night cruising
- Day 2 (NIAGARA-ON THE LAKE) - from here is offered optional Niagara Falls excursion. Other options include mini-cruise (at the foot of Niagara Falls) and a helicopter tour. Follows return to the ship, onboard lunch, optional wine tour (with sampling a Canadian icewine - dessert wine produced from grapes harvested frozen / still on the vine). Next is the mooring in Niagara-on-the-Lake (Victorian town) for free-time exploration. Follows return on the ship, Niagara River cruising, onboard dinner, night cruising on Lake Ontario towards Toronto.
- Day 3 (TORONTO - LAKE ONTARIO) - docking in Toronto, guided city tour (historical downtown), return on the ship for lunch, optional excursion (visiting Little Italy, China Town, Kensington Market), optional night-time excursion to CN Tower, onboard dinner, night cruising across Lake Ontario.
- Day 4 (LAKE ONTARIO - PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, KINGSTON) - coastal cruising along Lake Ontario to Waupoos (Prince Edward County), optional excursion (along Cheddar and Ale Trail), boarding ship's zodiacs and cruising to Waupoos, bus travel to local producers (cheese, beer, cider) with sampling, return on the ship, cruising towards Kingston (guided tour visits St Mary’s Cathedral, Queen’s University, City Hall), free-time exploration, onboard dinner, Kingston overnight stay.
- Day 5 (THE THOUSAND ISLANDS) - morning departure and cruising across Thousand Islands to Rockport, optional excursion to Boldt Castle (Heart Island), onboard lunch, afternoon cruising across Thousand Islands with a passage of St Lawrence River.
- Day 6 (OTTAWA or DAY CRUISING ON ST LAWRENCE RIVER) - optional full-day excursion visits Canadian Museum of History, with boarding in the evening. During the whole day and the night, the ship cruises on Saint Lawrence River.
- Day 7 (MONTREAL) - mid-morning arrival and docking, follows guided city tour visiting the historic downtown, onboard lunch, afternoon free-time or optional panoramic city tour (with “smoked meat” tasting and visit Le Plateau-Mont-Royal borough with its underground tunnels), onboard dinner.
- Day 8 (MONTREAL - TROIS-RIVIERES) - morning cruising between Sorel Islands and Trois-Rivières, berthing in Trois-Rivieres, optional excursion to an authentic sugar shack (maple farm), afternoon and nightly cruising on St Lawrence River, onboard dinner.
- Day 9 (QUEBEC CITY) - docking, guided Old Town tour (also visiting Petit-Champlain / commercial zone), onboard lunch, optional excursion to Ile d’Orleans (approx 5 km / 3 mi east of downtown), onboard dinner and overnight stay, evening cruising.
- Day 10 (QUEBEC CITY) - onboard breakfast and morning debarkation.
Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.
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In late-December 2016, the new river cruise company Croisieres MS Jacques-Cartier announced its plans to introduce a new St Lawrence River cruise concept in Canada's Ontario-Quebec region with the fully-reconstructed and refurbished 66-passenger boat Jacques Cartier.
The vessel is named after Jakez Karter (1491-1557) an explorer from Brittany (France) who claimed Canada's current territory for France. In 1534, he became the first European to map Gulf of St Lawrence and St Lawrence River. Ship's namesake is the newbuild (2020-built) Wallis and Futuna-flagged cruise ship Le Jacques Cartier. The 184-passenger vessel is owned by the French luxury company Ponant Cruises.
The newly established company Croisieres MS Jacques-Cartier invested USD 6,6 million to renovate the boat, which until then operated St Lawrence River cruises between Kingston and Riviere-du-Loup (along with the rivers Ottawa, Richelieu, and Saguenay) for over 40 years. Company's owners are Michel Harvey (President) and his wife Maryse Camirand (Vice President). Mr. Harvey is a 4th-generation shipowner, Captain, and Marine Mechanical Engineer. Ms Camirand is also Captain.
On May 2, 2017, the shipowner revealed the company's first 3 itineraries.
- 5-day "Lighthouse Hopping" itinerary combines cultural activities with more active pursuits of different degrees of difficulty. The route is between Quebec City and Saguenay-St Lawrence Marine Park
- 7-day "St Lawrence Islands and Saguenay Fjord" itinerary offers cruising along riverbanks and archipelagos and provides great opportunities for local wildlife and plants observation, with tour guides (specialists) who lead the voyage's enrichment program. Depending on the season, different nature experts lead all themed onboard and ashore activities.
- 10-day "Majestic St Lawrence" itinerary starts from Great Lakes and ends in the Atlantic Ocean (via St Lawrence Seaway's locks). This voyage discovers waterway network's specifications and technical achievements. The itinerary visits Toronto, Thousand Islands, Prince Edward County Natural Reserve (birdwatching; vineyards, Niagara Valley-grown products), as well as many cultural activities and popular tourist attractions.
Through June 30, 2017, the shipowner (Harvey family) offered a USD 200 pp early booking discount for one of these 3 cruises.
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