I took my best friend, husband, elderly mom and 5 year old on this cruise. We drove from Massachusetts to Quebec City in a rental car, which is a bit expensive but really the cheapest option. We rented it for one day and due to one way PLUS dropping in Canada it was about 250. for the day. Considering that averaged to 50 bucks a person and it is an easy, easy drive it was way worth it.
I never thought I would like a cruise (we have done a Windjammer but I don't think it counts). I LOVE to travel and have done a fair amount of it (for an American). What I love about traveling: seeing new places, eating great and/or local food, meeting new people, and wandering.
For the cruise I was worried the food would be bad, I would feel bad about the staff waiting on us, that I would be bored on ship, that I wouldn't like being tied down to a schedule, and that I wouldn't like having a deadline in port. I was right (to SOME extent on all counts).
The food was OK. The thing that is surprising is you're not as disappointed because well, you can order something else. Some things were terrible, and something were a pleasant surprise. It was disappointing not having GOOD coffee the whole trip. The coffee in the cafe in the library was good BUT you have to pay.
One negative while on the subject of food - the wine steward. We ordered 1 glass of a 12.25 dollar a glass wine. Then the wine steward swooped in and really tried to pressure us to buy it by the bottle. We said we didn't know (we didn't know if we'd even like it) and we told him we'd wait to decide and just ordered one glass. He went on and on about how we'd save money. So we looked at the wine list again and I added it up. It was the exact same price so we decided against it. We got 2 bills. One for the glass of wine and one for the bottle. We were confused and just decided to do nothing but chalk it up to lesson learned. I am used to hustlers and higglers but didn't expect on the ship.
I was NOT bored on the ship. As someone who does NOT sit in the sun but enjoys going, going, going on vacation I kind of enjoyed the forced relaxation on the ship. We played scrabble and ping pong and chess and just sat in the hot tub. It really was nice.
Off the ship was a different matter, There really was just not enough time (for ME). I like to immerse myself in a place. I feel like I just got a glimpse of most of the places. We rented cars most days which went surprisingly well. I just called the places I reserved cars at and they were all there in 10 minutes. I rented vans for the 5 of us which was great and really nice $ wise. The excursions were just too pricey for me for the 5 of us so for less than 10-20 bucks per person we got to see the island (but plan well so you know exactly what you are doing!).
Boy, I wish I wore a watch! You'll need one on the ship. They don't have many clocks and you really need one for meals, special things on board, getting on and off, etc.
Things that were better than I expected- Club Hal- my kid really liked it and I liked the staff, hanging out on a ship and often, the view.
We had one lousy experience coming off the ship in Bar Harbor. Being on the bottom deck we were last and lost 3 hours just waiting for them to call us to be able to get to shore.
Oh- we were in 730 and 728. They were fine except noisy in the AM when we came into port. Um, very noisy.