Côte-Nord finally looks like a cruise

Bella-Desgagnés is the ship that supplies Anticoste Island and the lower North Shore communities that are not connected by road. Every week, the boat chases between Remuski and Blanc-Sablon, stopping at villages with distant names like Tate-a-la-Belain, La Tabatier or Unamen Shipu.

You can board it as a passenger to get from one community to another, but you can cross 138 and board it for a week-long cruise to the north coast.

And it’s – really – not a cruise like the others.

When traveling to Bella-Desgagnés you can expect at least 13 things here:

You will discover another universe.

Nordic and wild landscapes. Villages with 100 or 200 inhabitants. Colorful house on stone. Unexpected weather. Sunrise in St. Lawrence Bay. They, the whales, the sea breeze … riding on – as many call out affectionately – will be enough for you to feel the change in the scene of a long voyage. Especially when leaving Kegaska, the village where Route 138 “stops”, or passing through the Mingan Islands, along the coast of Anticosti or on either side of the huge St.-Augustine fjords.

Sarah Bergeron-Wellet / QMI Agency

You will be on a ship “at work”.

The primary purpose of the Bella-Desgagnés is to supply the lower north coast and to serve as a “road” within certain communities. The “cruise” aspect is part of his DNA, but that’s not his priority. So it is very different from a traditional cruise. Here, it’s the freight that shows the way, and this part will be an integral part of your experience. Your stopover times, for example, will be consistent with the ship’s transshipment time, may be changed if necessary, and some stops may be canceled if the weather is too bad to dock.

You won’t stop too long.

Bella-Desgagnés works 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 10 months a year. Each week, it serves 12 different ports for a total of 23 stops, some of which are very difficult, round trips. Needless to say, it runs smoothly, and you won’t have time to fish backcountry during transhipment! Typically, stopovers last between 1 hour and 3 hours, and halts that occur at night on outbound trips occur during the day on the return trip or vice versa.

Photo courtesy Cindy Nadeu

You will eat delicious seafood from the north coast.

Lobsters, crabs, oysters, scallops … Surprisingly Le Bella-Desgagnes doesn’t boast much about it on its website, but local seafood is (very) frequent among the dining room menu choices and in addition to the daily fish options. Great luxury!

You will see the village where the film “La Grande Seduction” was shot.

Harrington Harbor, a fishing village built on a rocky island, is even more photogenic than the movie that introduced it to the public in 2003, with its boardwalks, colorful houses, clothes lines and fishing boats. A favorite.

You will also discover the village of Gilles Vigneault.

Natashquan, which can be reached on Route 138, is a stop with a mythical aura on the cruise. If you have enough time on the land, you can discover the traditional location of Les Gallets and see the huge white sand beach of the village.

Photo courtesy Sebastian Saint-Jean

You will definitely see anticosti deer.

The island of Anticosti and its 7900 km is home to 2,000 white-tailed deer. Some of them have taken up residence in Port-au-Prince, the only village on the island and your landing place. When exploring the beach or museum you are (very) more likely to come across a few.

You go to the Labrador border.

The last stop of the boat, Blank-Sablon, is located on the border of Labrador. The landscapes are great, the air is fresh and it feels a bit like being at the end of the world. Unlike previous coastal villages, Blanc-Sablon can be reached by road from Quebec: you have to take a “little” walk through Labrador; A 30-hour trip to Montreal.

You can book trips to discover communities.

Bella lets us land in the village, but it doesn’t offer organized trips. On the other hand, it has a partnership with Solidarity Cooperative at Fair Tourism Voyage Cost. With it, you can book trips to different shores (earlier, in season). The trip often involves a short trip on foot or on a school bus with a local guide, with whom you can discuss and discover the unique lifestyle snippets of the Lower North Shore. One of these trips is, for example, to Unamen Shipu in the Innu community. Other types of activities are also offered, such as a photo safari in Blank-Sabalon or a smokehouse in Port-Manier.

Sarah Bergeron-Wellet / QMI Agency

You will be treated to various presentations on the board.

In the summer, guide-interpreters from ROMM (Marine Mammal Observation Network) host various conferences on board. Presentations in North Shore villages, shipbuilding or marine environments, Labrador tea tastings, film screenings, whale watching sessions, meetings with crew members; Interventions are varied and not to be missed.

Your cabin will be simple, but comfortable.

A unique cargo-passenger ship, the Bella-Desgagnés will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2023. Its cabins are small, but they are fresh and comfortable. Seven types, for two or four people. They all have a single bed, a porthole, a TV and a desk, as well as a private bathroom with sink, toilet, shower … and heated floor!

Your eyes will widen as you watch the ship’s tranship.

It is not every day that you travel on a merchant ship in an isolated boreal region. Im-pos-C-Blae is a huge crane technique that unloads containers, and don’t be impressed by everything that goes through Bella. Absolutely everything goes there: winnebago, fresh tomatoes, prefabricated house or “2x4s”.

Sarah Bergeron-Wellet / QMI Agency

You will meet great people.

This will be on board, with attentive crew members, with transit passengers or with cruise passengers from different backgrounds. And it will also be on the ground, accidentally during trips with welcome local guides or during your daily walk in a small village so far from us. It’s a big part of Bella’s experience, which can stay with you for a long time.


6 September-Isles

Port-Mania (Anticosti)



• Kegaska

Roman-Unamen Shipu

ড Head-to-the-whale




• (Same journey on the way back, in the opposite direction.)


• Round trip rate for 7 nights: জনপ্র 1649 to + per capita tax in high season (or $ 1233 + low season tax). This price does not include alcohol, grants or guided travel. Low prices for 15 and under and 65 and over.

It is possible to make a tailor made trip and choose your departure and arrival port.

সুম This season, 7-day packages of Rimouski, Sept-Îles and Havre-Saint-Pierre have sold out until September 25, 2022.


Voyages Coste: voyagescoste.ca

• In the high season, a trip to the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is possible, but you need to ask the ship for more information.

Useful information

– Bella has a dining room, a cafeteria, a small bar on deck 8, lounge and several restrooms with air-type seats (many of which have an entertainment screen).

– The board has Wi-Fi. It works well in several geographical areas, but not everywhere.

– The ship can accommodate 420 passengers, 40 crew members and about 120 traveling cruise material. Some cabins are always reserved for the residents of this area.

– For more information: relaisnordik.com

* Our trip was made possible thanks to Tourisme Côte-Nord and Relais Nordik.

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