We live on the east and we were able to drive to Cape Liberty. We parked in the lot and they now offer a shuttle from the lot to the embarkation area.
We arrived at 11am and they were already starting to board passengers. We noticed the lines were not that long. We are diamond members therefore we were sent to the diamond and diamond plus area. It took about 20 minutes for us to get through the line.
Embarkation at Cape Liberty requires a short bus ride from the port to the ship. It was a little unorganized and some people were complaining since they had to wait for several buses to fill up before they were allowed to board. We did not have the same experience. After having our Sea pass pictures taken we were on the bus within 5 minutes.
The rooms were not available until 1:00pm, so we went to get something to eat. There were plenty of tables available in the Windjammer as busy as it was. The food was good to excellent. We noticed quite a few new dishes we had not seen before. We had a wonderful window seat and an exceptional waiter who never let us run out of iced tea.
Our first port was Sydney. On the pier, there were bagpipes serenading us as we embarked. We did the ship's tour of Bell's Museum. It was a beautiful fall day and the ride was lovely. The museum is very interesting and the grounds are immaculate. We also visited the very quaint town of Baddeck.
Our next port of call was Prince Edward Island. We decided to book private tour operators for the remaining ports of call. We rode all around this beautiful island. We received some interesting lessons on the fishing life on the island. The fishing villages are so quaint and picturesque. We visited the house featured in the children's book 'Anne of Green Gables'. The grounds were beautiful. The house was lovely; I could have easily lived there. The gift shop left something to be desired but still it was very busy.
Next we went to the 'Preserves Company'. Oh my, was it packed! You can sample everything they make and sell. We purchased several jams and curds and all are yummy!
The next day we cruised up and down the Saguenay River. The water was so smooth it looked like glass. There was a narrator onboard and she gave some pertinent information on the river. We were able to see several beluga whales and other sea life. It was incredible how a ship of this size could pass through this river. The narrow areas and the low power lines make it look a little scary. The river was wonderful; it reminded us of Alaska as we cruise the inner harbor.
Our next port of call was Quebec. Our tour guide was wonderful and I feel as though I got a real feel of the island. This is one of my very favorite ports. Our first visit was to St Anne's. It's a beautiful place and the leaves were in full peak. Every picture was incredible. We stopped at the Montmorency Falls. What a gorgeous place. I was in awe of this falls. You can get so close to it and the water spraying on my face was wonderful. I think I enjoyed this falls more than the famous Niagara Falls. Our guide then took us the top of the falls. It was again magnificent. The views are incredible.
We visited the Chateau Frontenac, its a majestic presence on the island and worth a visit. The shops alone are a must see.
The shops along main the street are wonderful. Many local artists display their goods. Lots of open cafe places to eat too.
Next port is Halifax. Now this also is one of my very favorite ports. Our guide was excellent, he was full of valuable information we couldn't get enough. He took us to several off the beaten path places for some beautiful photo opportunities. We visited several quaint fishing villages. The best was seeing the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove. It was amazing. Our guide timed it so there were no bus loads of people visiting while we were there. The pictures we took are fabulous. There is a little shop as you enter the Cove area where they sell many Canada only items. The owners are very nice and the shop is lovely. Our guide then drove to the cemetery where the Titanic victims are laid. He shared with us some very interesting information regarding the sinking of the ship.
As we returned to the ship there is a wonderful shopping area at port where you can get quite a few very nice local and handmade items.
The Explorer is in fine condition considering her age. Every day there are several crew members cleaning and polishing something. All of the public areas were very clean.
Our cabin was wonderful and we booked it again for next year. The room is very spacious and there is plenty of drawer and closet space too. The balcony is huge. There were two chairs and two chaise loungers and a table out there and we still had plenty of room.
Our cabin steward was very good; he makes the tightest bed I have ever had on a cruise. The entire crew was fantastic. I can't say enough good things about them.
Our waiter and assistant waiter were both fantastic. After one night we no longer had to ask for ice tea or splenda or margarine. The food was wonderful. We enjoyed every meal we had on this cruise. Our head waiter was hilarious! He was very visible and around every day.
The captain was very personable and approachable. And has a wonderful sense of humor.
The cruise was as always the best on RCCL.