This was my first time doing a Canada / New England cruise. I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before. Currently a Platinum member about to become an Emerald member. I've also sailed with Carnival, Celebrity and NCL but Royal Caribbean has always been my brand of choice. I'm a solo traveler and I like it that way. Form Miami, Florida. This time around my friend Rob (everyone at Royal Caribbean knows him as Scooter) and his mother coincidently were on the same sailing as me and doing the reposition cruise afterwards (I'm not jealous). So we hung out a few times throughout the cruise. We had a great time. Spent about 2 days in Boston before cruise. Stayed at the Courtyard Marriott on Treamont Street. I had stayed at this hotel in the past that's why I choose it. It's a nice hotel, close to the Common and Freedom Trail. The day before cruise I did a Fall Foliage tour of Mass and New Hampshire that I booked on my own.
Embarkation was the fastest I've ever experienced. Faster than Oasis and Allure.
I was planning on getting on around 1pm but ended up checking in at 11:30am and on the ship literally in about 2 minutes.
The ship is absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite ships. I love all the open spaces from the outdoor area of the windjammer to the open glass elevators that you can see ocean as you're going up or down. Lots of venue's to grab a drink. Stay away from Casino and the Sports Bar unless you're a smoker. We spent most evenings in the Champagne bar. Lorenzo is the best bartender on the ship. It was usually about 5 or 6 of us every night. Sometimes other people would come in and join are little group. We had a great time in the champagne bar every night. Two specialty restaurants, RC's signatures Chops and Portofino. Both fantastic restaurants. Worth the money. Seaview Cafe up on deck 12 was a great place for a little snack. They have soups, sandwiches and desserts. Dinning was beautiful. Only ate there once or twice. Everybody was raving about the new dining room menu's. I saw nothing extraordinary. Stateroom was a nice size. I had an E1 balcony cabin. I've been in larger staterooms on some of the newer ships but I loved my stateroom on this ship.
I do have one complaint, and that is my cabin steward was not very thorough. When I arrived in my room, there was a very strange smell coming out of my bathroom. After a while it went away. Also when I arrived there was an empty coffee cup left inside a drawer. I don't know who on earth would leave a coffee cup inside a drawer but they did. I left the drawer open so my CS would see it. Also there have been time where I've left empty used plates and cups and they would still be there after he'd finished cleaning. I would leave a towel on the floor to be replaced and he would re-hang it on my chair. Usually I would see my CS everyday they would catch me before dinner or after, I would have a nice conversation with them. I've pretty much had the opportunity to get to know all of the CS's I've had, this guy I only saw three or four times throughout the cruise. I definitely saw him at tip time though. So to conclude this guy was awful but I didn't let that ruin the cruise for me.
Ports and Excursions
We had 4 stops (Halifax, Nova Scotia; St. John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Portland, Maine.) All stops were wonderful. I will absolutely do this cruise again.
Halifax I did the Peggy's Cove and Titanic (with Scooter and Momma) wonderful tour. Peggy's Cove is absolutely brilliant and beautiful. The Fairview Cemetery was very interesting for me. I've always been very fascinated by the tragedy of titanic.
This excursion stated at 12:30pm so I did the Pink Bus Hop On and Off around the city. Stopped at the Citadel and Public Gardens. Citadel was interesting. Publix Gardens was beautiful. A must in Halifax.
Saint John I did the Saint John and Bay of Fundy Top 10. Also a great tour. The reversing tides are pretty neat. This tour takes you out to the Saint Martin where we had a wonderful Seafood Chowder lunch. Then back to Saint Johns where we explored the Old Market and then the Carleton Martello Tower which had a great view of the city. And then finally we stopped at an Irish pub for moosehead beer.
Bar Harbor Maine, (with Scooter and Momma) we did the Best of Bar Harbor, which takes you there Acadia National Park. I do have a few complaints here, there was no stopping along the park except on top of Cadillac Mountain. He would make quick photo stops but with the glare from the glass we couldn't get any decent pictures. If there going to go through Acadia like that then they should have an open top bus for people to take pictures. My advice if you want to do Acadia, rent a car and stop and go as you please. The tour also included a stop at a Lobster museum called Oceanarium Bar Harbor. which included a lecture. Which was great however, they also had a Lobster Hatchery which is open to the public but was not included in this tour. I think that would have been nice on this tour. Again, do this on your own. Then we made one last stop which was a complete waste of time. I can't even remember where it was, that's how irrelevant it was. After the tour we had lunch at the Fish House Grill which is right next to the tender pier. What an amazing lunch. We had Lobster, Blueberry Beer, Blueberry Pie. Price was very reasonable. If you love lobster defiantly give this place a try. After lunch we walked around the downtown area, did a little shopping. Lots of quaint little shops, restaurants and coffee shops. I think Bar Harbor was my favorite port.
Last port was Portland. I did the Best of Portland and Kennebunkport. Great tour, except it was very foggy in Portland so it was very hard to site see. Once we got to Kennebunkport the weather was gorgeous. Like Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport has lots of quaint little shops, restaurants and coffee shops. We drove by the Bush Family Compound. In Kennebunkport I had lunch at Bartley's Dockside. Great little restaurant right on the main road. Had the Lobster Roll which was fantastic. Mrs. B, who is one of the owners, makes the blueberry pies herself which is delicious.
Disembarking the ship was a breeze. We didn't even go through customs. An agent was at the gangway collecting our customs forms. Didn't ask any questions. Didn't even ask to see our passports. Cabs were plentiful in Boston. Was at the airport in 15 mins. Around $30.
This was definitely a great cruise. I always say this but this truly was one of the best cruises I've done. I will defiantly be cruising on this ship again and this itinerary in the near future again.