For most passengers this was a 7 day cruise, for some, including me, this was roundtrip from Boston or Montreal. This is the Montreal-Boston cruise.
There were plenty of activities throughout the day to keep you busy even during port days.
I was disappointed 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, and 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 main cabin door open. The same is true for the bathroom door. This is quite different from the ships I’ve been in. The tub is actually a Jacuzzi/shower and rather difficult to get in/out of.
Arno Jutten, We heard from him at least once per day. He explained that the St Lawrence River depth changes and pilots are needed all along the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.
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 Activities: No experience here.
Clubs: No experience in this area.
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 also for cruisers that did not want to dress for Formal Night. The first 48 hours of the cruise you were served by stewards because of health reasons. My dining room at night was The Rotterdam Dining Room table 41.
About a year ago I purchased a Microsoft 8 Surface as that is easier to carry than a laptop. That has an app for Barnes & Noble Nook E reader (similar to a Kindle) which came in handy.
Embarkation & Disembarkation:
I live in the West End of Boston near Massachusetts General Hospital. So I caught the Red Line from MGH to South Station & the Silver Line from South Station to the pier. I was in the Lido for lunch at 12:30. Embarkation was a breeze. Disembarkation was also a breeze as I was one of the first off. Finding my luggage was another thing.
There was something each night, most of it good.
Fitness & Recreation:
A relatively big area considering the size of the ship.
There were 2; I noticed very few tuxedos, most men wearing either a suit or jacket and pants
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. Some got up late at night & went to the top deck in blowing wind to see the ship nearly make it.
Adequate, not as expensive as you would think HAL to be.
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 really do not have any choice).
About the only place I noticed this was in the Casino or outside.
At the ports of Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, and Charlottetown private tours by taxi and bus are available.
Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, Quebec and Montreal all are equipped with Wi-Fi. If you are in question as to whether one is available, ask the internet manager.
Value for Money:
Overall: Very satisfied.
Sat. Aug. 24; Montreal clear: Sunny, W9, 75F, Smart Casual, Leave 4PM
To go through customs we did not have to get off the ship, customs came to us. They were in the Explorer’s Lounge. We entered through the Casino, the officers looked at our Passports and that was it. At the Mariner’s Lunch met Pat who took the Bora Bora cruise which I take in Feb 2014. On her cruise Christmas Island was substituted for Fanning Island, on ours Fanning will be substituted for Christmas Island. I asked her about school supplies & she agreed stating that they are needed. She also said there is a shuttle service from the pier to a plaza that has Walmart, Macy’s and other stores including restaurants. Tonight’s Showtime was “Listen to the Music” hosted by Cruise Director Michael Harvey.
Sun. Aug. 25; St. Lawrence River Cruising & Quebec City: P/C, E6, 77F, Smart Casual, Arrive 7, Leave 5
I did not do anything today because of medical problems. Had breakfast in Lido, went to the front office & left the form saying that on the 31st I would be walk off at 8am (this was later changed).
Mon. Aug. 26; Cruising Gulf of St. Lawrence, Cloudy, Light Breeze, 65F, Sea Day, Formal
Stomach bothered me so I did not do much. Don’t know about the tour tomorrow, but the tour only lasts 1 ½ hours & I will not have breakfast so will take a chance. Went to the M&G at 11am but HAL had is scheduled for 5-6pm, so we did not have one. People in the Crow’s Nest were looking out for whales, some were spotted. Tonight I washed which should take me till the end of the cruise. Time to start packing. We turned our clocks ahead 1 hour for Atlantic time.
Tue. Aug. 27; Charlottetown, PEI, Mostly Cloudy, SW9, 73F, Smart Casual, arrive 8am, leave 5pm
I was one of the first off the ship as I had a City Highlight’s by Double Decker Pink Bus tour. The ride was not the smoothest as can be expected & the guide gave way too much information for the 1 ½ hour duration. The driver let me off at the Water-Prince Corner Shop (on the corner of Water & Prince Sts.)
where at 10am I purchased a lobster sandwich, potato salad & a diet coke for $17. Charlottetown is a small city and quite walkable; the weather was cloudy but was not raining and a bit warmer than Montreal or Quebec. There are old places in this city, but there is a McDonalds that sells McLobster’s. At supper tonight I saw some dolphins. Went to Showtime, they had bagpipes. I tripped & only my pride was hurt. I will probably feel the pain tomorrow & that will change plans for Sydney, Halifax, & Boston where I planned to take the bus home. Tonight was Comedian Brian Bradley & he was well received, used audience participation to his advantage.
Wed. Aug. 28; Sydney, Canada, Overcast, W16, 70F, arrive 8am, leave 4PM, Smart Casual
Went to breakfast in the Rotterdam Dining Room at 8am. I sat with Paul & Pat from Minneapolis, Jim & Mary from Arizona. In the cabin I could not walk but was able to once I left. At breakfast, all that sitting down did a number on my knee. It took several minutes of standing to get back to normal. I was surprised that I was able to take a shower as the tub is rather difficult to get in to. I went to the front desk informing them of my disembarkation change. At 11:30 went to the Rotterdam Dining Room Deck 8 aft for the Collector Voyage Luncheon, an Indonesian Rijstaffel where wine or soft drinks were free. Supper to the music of bagpipes. Upon leaving Sydney I noticed several wind farms. Tonight’s Showtime was the Comedy Magic of Rich Purpura. Tonight on our way to Halifax the fog horn blew which probably kept some people up.
Thu. Aug. 29; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Overcast, N9, 70F, Formal, arrive 8am, leave 4pm
I went to breakfast in the Rotterdam dining room at 8am and sat with Gerda & Frank from NJ, Judy & Gerry from Kingsville, Ontario, Canada in Essex County. Then went outside, asked local tour guides where I could get a lobster roll, they did not know saying that a supermarket may have them. A guide book said there was a seafood restaurant near the pier but the weather was overcast & windy so I returned to the ship. I met a retired CBS media gentleman who used to work on 20/20 with Barbara Walters & Hugh Downs; we had a nice lunch. At supper where I had 2 filet mignons & 1 lobster; it should have been the other way around. Tonight was the last formal night so I started packing and discovered a pocket that I did not know existed in the new luggage. Tonight’s Showtime was Encore. Tonight we turn the clocks back 1 hr.
Fri. Aug. 30; Bar Harbor, ME, P/C, W8, 68F, Smart Casual, arrive 8am, leave 5pm
I went to breakfast at 8am in the Rotterdam Dining Room with an interruption to go thru customs. Had breakfast with 4 people from various parts of Michigan. Took the tender ashore into a place selling lobster rolls, 1 for $11.99, 2 for $15. I was debating when a girl walked in and was told the same thing. I mentioned that I would split & that would cost us $7.50 each; she was in a hurry, ended picking up the $15 tab and by the time I realized what was done, she was gone. The weather was beautiful so I walked around then took the tender back & went to the Lido for an extra lunch eating with a couple from Australia that have been gone 5 weeks. Made out customs declaration & baggage tags. Catherine Johnson knocked on my cabin as I was going to supper. She said she changed to a Neptune Suite at the last minute which is why she was not in 420 as she originally emailed me and said she was at the 8/26 M&G but no one was there. She was on one side & I on the other. I told her that HAL scheduled it for 5-6.
Sat. Aug. 31; Boston, MA Overcast
I took the Silver Line to South Station, then the Red Line the MGH stop and walked home. (see embarkation/disembarkation)
Guests: 1242, Maasdam capacity 1258
Master: Captain Arno Jutten
Staff Captain: Craig Ravesloot
Safety, Environmental & Health Officer: James Griffiths
Security Officer: Edwin Wilson
Culinary Operations Manager: Andreas Nemayr
Guest Relations Manager: Annie Sy
Dining Room Manager: Bagus Sugiantha
Hotel Director: Francois Birarda
Chief Engineer: Erwin Leijen
Cruise Director: Michael Harvey
Purser: Carol Lagmay
Executive Housekeeper: Cecep Sukarna
Executive Chef: Pedro Lontoc
Event Manager: Linda Ellenberger