Our main reason for this cruise was sailing into Maritime Canada and seeing Prince Edward Island for the first time. Many years ago, I was a stewardess with T.C.A. (Air Canada) and never did see the downtown areas of Halifax, Sydney and St. John, so this was of particular interest to me and did not disappoint. The countryside all around those ports is worth exploring as much as you can, and we did it mostly with the ship's excursions.
After boarding, we had lunch in Tsars before getting into our cabin. Soups were particularly good on this cruise. In fact, the food was really quite good, as was the service. Fish was served moist and tasty, never dry. We did Mama Mia's one night and enjoyed the setting and food. Our cabin was promptly made up each day by Ronald and Leonard. Pity any fat person trying to rise from the potty as the space was tight. Our cabin was badly in need of better lighting, especially the tiny reading light by the bed. I noticed that the inside cabins had lovely big lights by the bed. I had to use my little mag-lite to find the numbers on the phone. The beds were quite comfortable however.
First port was Newport which we did enjoy, and found a tour on our own at the visitors center. When you get off the ship, turn left down the first street and you will find this informative place. We went around the town and saw many of the mansions without touring inside, and saw everything we needed for $25.00 each, by mini van.
Boston: We were quite familiar with this town, so just wandered around the Quincy Market.
St.John: Again, we just wandered aroung this cute little town and enjoyed walking through the indoor market.
Halifax: We took the ship's excursion to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. This was quite lovely, with rolling countryside and colourful houses. We had lobster sandwiches for lunch. Mahone Bay had a pumpkin festival where there was a competition for gayly decorated scarecrows. The town had those really fun characters displayed all over the town.
Sydney: We took the Heart of the Island tour which gave us a good taste of the pretty countryside and Scottish heritage. The Iona village was most enjoyable with tea and oatcakes after viewing the early settler's dwellings and farms.
Prince Edward: Unfortunately, the morning was a bit wet, but not cold as we drove to the north shore and saw the red cliffs at the National Park. There was a stop at the Anne of Green Gables House which was most enjoyable. The sun came out for our lunch at the P.E.I. Preserves Company which overlooked the Clyde River in the area known as New Glasgow. Our host Bruce Macaughton greeted us in his kilt and served up a great lunch of lobster and the best raspberry cream pie I have ever tasted.
The weather got a bit blustry sailing out the harbour and the ship was rocking a bit that night. One of the passengers had to be lifted by helicopter to Halifax, but we heard later that he was doing well.
We found the staff and service very good on the cruise. John O'Hara is the Hotel Director and is a delightful and approachable man should you have a problem. The entertainment was quite enjoyable and highlighted by those amazing gymnists. I wish NCL would go back to the mini broadway musicals which were really the best.
The NCL Jewell is a lovely ship altogether and we enjoyed the cruise, especially the sail out of New York, past the Statue of Liberty in the clearing weather.