Why did we wait so long? I can see why people are hooked on cruises. It was just a wonderful experience for us.
Saturday. Departure from Montreal. I was most impressed with the organization and quick way we were processed on to the ship. One tip - take a taxi to the embarkation as they must drive up a long ramp to the site. I saw some folks pulling their luggage into the terminal. They still had a way to go once reaching it.
Sunday - Quebec City. A beautiful place with the glamorous Frontenac Hotel overlooking the river. Walked around the Citadel, taking a tip to approach it from the right side around the hotel (non river side), as the walk is not as steep. Went around the Citadel and walked down the stairs leading to the Frontenac. Went into its Le St-Laurent Bar for a beer. Nice bartender, beer a bit pricey, but how many times will you go to such a historic place. You will need to get an access card from him to go to the rest room. There is a lot of tourist traffic in and out of the hotel.
Monday - Day at Sea - We needed this after trudging around Montreal and Quebec. Good day to get acquainted with the ship. Card room and meeting rooms on the lower Promenade deck. Mass services aboard ship - went on Saturday when the ship departed. Good selection of bars. Tip - get a drink card on line beforehand, will save $5.00, but at least that is about one drink.
Tuesday - Charlottetown - nice little town, Anne of Green Gables fame, took tour of the house - like visiting your grandmother's house with all of furnishings, doilies everywhere. Pretty island.
Wednesday - Sydney - old industrial town, not as quaint or touristy as the others. Went to the coal mine tour - had a wonderful experience with a tour by experienced minor, down in the mine. A bit of walking, and much of it hunched over because of the low ceilings in the shaft. Really learned a lot on the trip. If physically able, one should try it.
Thursday - Halifax - prettiest town - took the walking tour of the city. Saw the history of the great explosion and how the town was rebuilt. Nice views from the Fort overlooking the city. Get you picture taken with the young guard right outside of the fort. I am sure he loves that duty. Rebuilt waterfront with a lot of neat shops and restaurants.
Friday - Bar Harbor - took the nature and ocean walk. A bit strenuous, but learned a lot about the flora and fauna of the land that geology of the area. There is a small beach and most of the tour had very scenic views of the ocean and the cliffs. The town was very quaint, lots of neat shops and restaurants.
Saturday - in Boston - again a very organized and timely departure.
Best things about the trip - 1. Meeting other people, by the last day we were almost related. 2. The food and service. Had most of our meals (breakfast and dinner) in the Rotterdam Dining Room. Would get a light snack in the Lido when came in from our tour. The food was great and the service very good. We elected the later seating and had an assigned table. Made for nice conversation with those dining nearby. We elected for "La Cirque Night" in the Pinnacle Grill to celebrate our anniversary. My wife said it was one of the best meals she ever had. The food was extra special and the service was impeccable. We got there early and had table for two right by the window. It is on the starboard side of the ship and we were heading south, so we got a most memorable sunset, too. 3. Shows - good music, good comedian (one show).
Disappointments - none - except one my wife is a canasta player and could not find a game. I play bridge and found some games as bridge times were published in the ships daily bulletin. Maybe they should have published bridge and other card games.
Overall impression - We could not have asked for more. It was our first cruise and we had nothing to compare it to, but all I can say, is that I signed us up for a future cruise while on board (a way to get a few ship credits on the next cruise). I had done my homework and read a lot of reviews about this trip. Some complained that Holland America had lost its edge. As I said, it was our first cruise; but we were most impressed with everything that they did. If they lost an edge, they must have been super sharp in the past because they really had it together on this cruise.