Note: for most passengers this was a 7 day cruise, for some, including me, this was roundtrip from Boston or Montreal. In my case it was Boston.
Activities: There were plenty of activities throughout the day to keep you busy even during port days.
Cabin: I was disappointed with the roominess of the cabin. The space was ample for 2 people providing little time is spent in the cabin. My room stewards Sugeng & Gusti quickly identified themselves, they were responsible for 29 cabins. My cabin was 161, I liked the location for everything seemed to be on decks 11, 8, or 9. About the cabin and I think this applies to all cabins; when the door opens 45 degrees it hits a magnet so one can keep the cabin door open. The same is true for the bathroom door. This is quite different from other ships I've been in. The tub is actually a Jacuzzi/shower.
Captain: Arno Jutten, we often heard from him at More
least once per day. He explained to us that the St Lawrence River depth changes and pilots are needed all along the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.
Cell Phone: If you do not want to use your phone for calls or have expensive an expensive phone bill, have airplane mode on, data off, mail fetch off.
Children's Clubs: No experience in this area.
Dining: There was one dining room which was open for breakfast for waiter service on port days and supper 7 days. The Lido was used for breakfast, lunch, dinner but was a la carte. The first 48 hours of the cruise you were served because of health reasons. My dining room at night was The Rotterdam Dining Room table 41.
E Reader: About a year ago I purchased a Microsoft 8 Surface which had a Nook E Reader.
Embarkation & Disembarkation:
One of the reasons I took this cruise is that I live in the West End of Boston and took public transportation to the terminal. It took me less than 1 hour from home to terminal. To put it another way, I left home at 11am & was in the Lido eating lunch by 12:30.
Entertainment: They had something each night. Entertainment the 2nd week of the cruise was a bit better.
Fitness & Recreation: a relatively big area considering the size of the ship.
Formal Nights: I noticed very few tuxedos. Most men wore either a suit or jacket and pants
Navigational Sights: Between Charlottetown, PEI to Montreal the ship goes under several bridges and high tension wires just making these by 6 feet. The Captain explained this and gave a time line.
Public Rooms: Numerous.
Service: HAL is known for their service. Everyone was very helpful.
Ship: The ship was relatively small and there are 2 banks of elevators 4 each or 8 in total. I found walking from bow to stern rather easy (you actually do not have a choice).
Smoking: About the only place you notice this is in the Casino or outside the ship.
Most of the ports had private tours available, i.e. taxis, bus etc.
Most of the ports have Wi-Fi; ask the Internet Manager if you have a question.
Value for Money: very good.
Overall: Very satisfied.
Dairy for Aug 17-24:
Sat. Aug. 17; Boston, MA - Bar Harbor P/C, E 6mph, 78F, Smart Casual, leave 4pm
I left at 11am taking the red line to So. Station, then the Silver Line bus to Black Falcon Pier arriving at noon. Boarding was a breeze. Went to Lido for lunch, then the muster then the sail away at the Crow's nest except no one showed up. Later I realized that maybe they were outside. Supper at 5:30 (which was a bit too early) with Tom. If you eat later you don't have the whining toddlers. Showtime tonight
"Listen to the Music" showcasing the Maasdam Entertainment Team with Cruise Director Bruce.
Sun. Aug. 18; Bar Harbor, ME - tender: P/C, Light Breeze, 79F, Formal, arrive 7am, leave 3pm
Arose at 6, docked at 7, this was a tender port. In port with the Veendam. Had breakfast in the Lido Dining Rm. Was going to go ashore but met a gentleman who said that he had been ashore, had been to Bar Harbor before and when I told him I was doing the cruise roundtrip, he said that I would have the opportunity to see it next week. Had lunch in the Lido then read my E Reader. At the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet, it appears that HAL did not have advance notice. Central Texas Traveler or Mary was given a template by Laura S who is in charge of the HAL group for Cruise Critic that said "you know me as " "my real name is " HAL ended up supplying us with cookies and free drinks. After the M&G I went to my cabin, dressed for formal dinner' At supper Tom told me of the tours he took. After supper it was Showtime with "Bob Mackie's Broadway"; we were informed to turn our clocks ahead 1 hr.
Mon. Aug. 19; Halifax, Nova Scotia; P/C, Light Breeze, 76, Smart Casual, arrive 8am, leave 5pm
Had an omelet in Lido then walked along Harborwalk. It was a nice day. Returned and along the way back met Signora -Amy & Nick. Had lunch with them in Lido. It was about 2:30 when we finished. At supper tonight in addition to Tom, were Diane and Jim from FL. Diane was not satisfied with the chocolate served and said "you would think that HAL (a Holland Co. that's located near Belgium ((as she stated)) ), would serve half decent chocolate". At Showtime was Comedy Magician Rich Purpura followed by Cape Breton Fiddle Concert. Rick was good & he left the audience wondering "how does he do that".
Tue. Aug. 20; Sydney, Nova Scotia: Light Breeze, 68, P/C, Smart Casual, arrive 10am, leave 5pm
Today they had a Fiddlin Flapjack & French Crepe Breakfast in the Lido. We arrived at the Sydney Port Pier which has free Wi-Fi. So I spent some time cleaning up my email list. Went back to the ship for lunch. Supper with Tom, Diane & Jim.
I didn't have breakfast, met the group at 8:30 then met the tour leader Duncan of Duncan's Tours. He gave us the short tour, about 5 hours, leaving Charlottetown via route 2 then route 6 to the PEI Nat'l Park, to Brackley Beach, Route 6 to North Rustico, route 6 to Green Gables then route 13 to 224 to Milton and from there to Charlottetown. It was a good tour, fantastic scenery, and I'm glad I took it. Duncan said that PEI lobsters are better than Maine lobsters because PEI waters are colder and the colder the water the better tasting the lobster. Supper with Tom, Diane & Jim. Diane & Jim went to a Windows 8 class today as Jim wants to know more about Windows 8 and Diane said she needs to get a new computer for her tax office, would like to keep Windows 7 but the new technology is Windows 8. Showtime tonight was Piano Showman Ryan Ahern; Diane, Jim and myself did not care for that type of music as we prefer classical. I found the acoustics rather loud, have not been aboard a ship yet with decent sound. At 11pm the Indonesian Crew Show. It was humorous; perhaps because it was better than the Piano Showman.
Thu. Aug. 22; Cruising Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Sea Day, Strong Breeze, P/C, 73F, Formal
Breakfast at Rotterdam Dining Room. Finished reading the book on my Nook, went to open another only to find that it needed to be downloaded so I purchased 250 minutes then found I could not connect. Asked the internet manager, to make a long story short the problem was Wi-Fi was down. Supper with Tom, Diane, Jim and tonight was lobster night. We decided to have escargot first, shrimp cocktail second, surf & turf third followed by baked Alaska for dessert. Showtime tonight was Encore; classical and soft music that was very good; the audience gave a standing ovation. We turned our clocks back for Eastern.
Fri. Aug. 23; St. Lawrence River Cruising & Quebec City; P/C, E3, 73F, Smart Casual, arrive 7am, leave 5pm
Breakfast in Lido, went online for Nooks "Free Friday", lunch, roamed around town, went to 4:30PM in Wanj Theatre for 14 day passengers (per cruise director most passengers only take the 7 day cruise), final supper with Tom, Diane, and Jim. Diane said that on their tour today the guide informed her that church doors do not face east because that is where the wind comes from. Also, settlers used to find their village by counting the churches. Showtime tonight was "Dancing with the Stars".
Sat. Aug. 24; Montreal
Guests 1289, HAL says capacity if 1258
Captain Arno Jutten
Staff Captain Craig Ravesloot
Safety, Environmental & Health Officer James Griffiths