If you are familiar with Princess ships, they are all the same layout, which makes one feel right at home when you board.
This cruise left from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal where there is long term parking available. We drove to the terminal without incident and parked in the long term parking. This is open air parking and there seemed to be plenty of spaces to accommodate those who drive. The cruise ship docks within in sight of the parking. Parking cost us about $140 for a 7 day cruise.
Entertainment: This cruise had the best entertainment we have seen in awhile.
• an illusionist who had been on America's Got Talent don't remember his name
• a singer impersonator, Finis Henderson. If you Google him there is a You Tube video of his work.
• a fabulous dry humor comedian don't remember his name either
• Singers and Dancers did their usual stuff which was entertaining - one night the program was music from Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Elton John, & others from the era.
Food: The usual stuff. Dining Room food always seems better to us. We ate most lunches at the International Cafe where there was always good soups and sandwiches.
Ports: We got most of our information on the ports from tomsportguides.com. He does a thorough job and had a review of every port on this cruise. We did each port on our own.
New York: we didn't do anything here as we live close and will do the city over several days another time
Newport, RI: This is a tender port. We walked to The Cliff Walk - it's about 2 miles from the tender. 2/3rds of The Cliff Walk is closed because of damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The Cliff Walk is a paved path and easy going. We did see The Breakers and some other big homes. It started to rain heavily so we got back to the tender ASAP. We did go into the church were Jackie and John Kennedy were married which is close to downtown.
Boston, MA: We took a city bus from the Design Center, which is very close to ship's port, to the bus and train center. From there we walked to pick up City View Hop on Hop off bus. Along with that came a tour of the Harbor. The Harbor tour was just OK. The bus goes by all the highlights of Boston, so it is just a matter of picking the ones you want to see up close. Even though the buses run every 12 minutes it will be difficult to see everything in just one day. So decide ahead of time what you want to see and go from there.
Bar Harbor, ME: We wanted to see Acadia National Park but we were in Bar Harbor during the government shut-down. We did take a private bus tour that runs on the state highways in the park, so we did get to see some parts of the park. There are 2 private tour companies in Bar Harbor. The best one is the one that has room for you.
St. John, New Brunswick: We walked to The Reversing Rapids. There is a path that takes you to it. It is called Harbour Passage Trail. Frankly I didn't think it was worth the loooong walk unless of course you get there at high tide. We aren't shoppers but there is Market Square with shops near the port and also City Market which is a huge Farmers-like Market.
Halifax, Nova Scotia: We rented a car from Enterprise which is an easy walk from the cruise terminal and drove to Peggy's Cove. I think the cost was $80 for the day. We had our own GPS. This was well worth the trip. Also not far from Peggy's Cove is the Swiss Flight 111 Memorial. On the way back we ate at Shaw's Landing which had fabulous lobster chowder and homemade rolls.
We aren't shoppers but I did enjoy browsing at Beale's Bailiwick in Peggy's Cove. They had lovely jewelry. They also serve drinks and breakfast type items. We were back in Halifax early enough to walk to the Citadel, see the town clock, and enjoy the beautiful day.
Leaving the ship: We opted for express walk off since our car was in the parking lot and we could handle our own bags. We Loved this option as we could keep our bags in the room and take them with us when our time came to leave the ship. We were off the ship by 8:30. This was the first time we had this choice for leaving the ship - no hunting for your bags that look like everyone else's bags.
All-in-all a great trip. We will do this one again.