As usual, the cabin stewards and dining stewards service and food were excellent. I enjoyed visiting Montreal, Quebec City, the maritime island ports and especially Bar Harbor, Maine. There just wasn't enough time to enjoy most of the locations.
The itinerary for the cruise lists port departures, but the Captain seemed too often to move the time up and we left earlier than 4:00. There was a hurricane working it's way up the coastline and was in North Carolina on July 4th when we were in port at Bar Harbor. Several of the excursions were cancelled because the Captain announced we would leave Bar Harbor at 1:00 to go on to Boston. The Captain said services would be limited, ride would be a little rough, but passengers would be safe. My son who used to be in a Coast Guard was with us and was watching the weather reports and didn't want any of the family to ride on to Boston. He said the ship would be safe, but there are a couple of us who get sea sick easily so we weren't looking forward to the evening trip to Boston. My son made arrangements for us to leave the ship at Bar Harbor and we found a local waterfront hotel to stay for a couple of nights. We cancelled our tours with HAL in Bar Harbor. More on that below.
All the shore excursions were for the most part, an over-priced disappointment. The visit to Peggy's Cove was a big disappointment. Upon arrival, we were told the bus would be leaving in 20 minutes to return to the ship. While we stayed in Bar Harbor, we learned that buses run every 30 minutes up to Cadillac Mountain and other locations into the Arcadia National Park for free. I think the HAL tours on the same routes were over $50 per person.
If you take this trip, save some money at Bar Harbor and get on the free buses and just watch your time to get back to the ship.
We did the Coal Miner tour which is an unusual shore excursion. My family did enjoy the guide who provided an oral history of the coal miner history. He started to work in the mines when he was 14 years old. It is a combo of class struggles, oral history of personal experiences, and the Irish immigrant experience.
My 9 year old grandson enjoyed the trip because he is a Club HAL fan. I think there were almost 100 children in his age group on board.