There were 57 passengers on board, but no one was hurt. All were brought safely to shore by tugboat.
The Louis-Jolliet left the Old Port in nearby Quebec City and was on its way to tour Montmorency Falls when the boat ran aground just before 3 p.m.
A spokeswoman for the Canadian Coast Guard said late Thursday that Croisières AML, the cruise ship's owner, would either have the boat towed to safety or await high tide at 11:45 p.m. for the boat to free itself.
The ship will be inspected for damage. So far, it appears the listing vessel suffered minor damage to its hull.