I just returned from a seven day cruise aboard the Maasdam. We boarded in Montreal and disembarked in Boston. The highlight of this trip is the itinerary, so I'll begin there.
Montreal: We (mom, dad, and two of our children)flew to Montreal the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Springhill Suites by Marriot. It was a $40 cab ride from the airport. Included in the price was a good breakfast. We chose this hotel as we could fit all four of us in the one room. Had we been travelling without children, I would definitely choose one of the independent hoteliers. We ate dinner at one of the many outdoor patios and then visited Notre Dame Basilica. It may be cheaper to stay at the airport, but Old Montreal/Vieux Montreal is fantastic and I'd definitely recommend that you stay there for at least a day before embarking. We walked for miles along the waterfront the morning of the cruise.
Quebec City: Wow! What a place. I printed up Tom's port guide before leaving home and we followed parts of it. I printed his guides for all of the other ports of call too. This city is amazing. You could easily spend three or four days here. We walked the entire day and wished we could have had more time there. There are amazing restaurants, great artisans, etc. Perfection.
Sea Day: St. Lawrence River. There were lovely views all day long. I wish that the ship's captain had pointed out the names of things as we passed. Last summer aboard the Volendam, the captain was especially informative and we really enjoyed it.
Charlottetown, PEI: We went to the fair! It was Old Home PEI week, so we checked out the fair. It was a cheap taxi ride out. We walked back to town. The next time we visit, I'd like to rent a car to go to the beach for the day.
Sydney, Nova Scotia: We rented a car and drove ourselves to Fort Louisburg. Again, we had a terrific day. We had some pretty rough seas en route to Halifax though.
Halifax, Nova Scotia: We walked along the harbor front to the Museum of the Atlantic. Truthfully, we were pretty disappointed. We've taken the kids to a lot of museums over the last 18 years. This museum is really "text" dense and lacking in artifacts. It would have been nice to have head sets and a narrated commentary. A much better museum to visit with children is the Fisheries Museum in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It's much more of a hands on experience. We enjoyed lunch at a nice Scottish pub and then visited the Citadel. The next time, I'd rent a car and visit Peggy's Cove and Lunenburg.
Bar Harbor: Another fantastic day! We took the one hour tour with Oli's Trolley, walked across the sand bar, hiked to the lookout, went to lunch, and then enjoyed the town. I'd go back here in a heartbeat.
Boston: We went to the New England Aquarium for a couple of hours before lunch and our return flight. Very crowded. In hindsight, I wish we'd book a flight home the next day. There was a Yankees/Red Sox game at Fenway and the town was just jumping. It would have been fun to stay longer.
The Ship: It's old. A lot of the deck tables and chairs are in rough shape. The tables wobble and some of the chairs are fraying. Most of the loungers are nice though. Our inside room was fine. We were crowded though (four in a room), so I spent time in there only when I had to! The room attendant kept it very clean. The pools are good.
Ship's Library: First class! We went there every evening. There is a huge selection of books, board games, puzzles, etc. Amazing.
Food: Just okay. There was nothing too terrible and nothing too terrific. The soups were too salty. The Rotterdam food was okay, but the service just took too long. I don't like spending two hours at dinner. They are understaffed in the dining room. The staff in there work very hard.
Staff: Outstanding - always smiling. Nothing is too much. They are always cleaning.
Children's Program: We didn't use it. We were on the go so much of every day. We played a lot of tennis, ping pong, and chess.
Overall: We had a good time. The itinerary is really great. In every single port, we felt welcomed and safe. Everyone in the ports was so friendly. Every port was clean too. I'd do the trip again.