Comments regarding our 9/11 cruise to New England and Canada:
Embarkation was long (as it was for us in May).
Organized Cruise Critic meet and greet where we met the Captain and other high ranking personnel. John (Hotel Director) does read his Dear John letters. We were also invited to see the bridge later that week – very impressive and I was surprised that we were allowed to go to the bridge.
Activities – OSA (Organized Staff Activities – trivia, napkin folding, sports, etc…), attend and participate, get signatures, redeem for mugs or cards or shirts or pens. We enjoy participating and meeting others.
My husband purchased one of the spa passes to be able to use the sauna, jacuzzi, etc... There are a limited number of these passes sold on the first day.
Huge large screen in Atrium showed football games (and the bar there distributed free popcorn).
Older clientele - since we are in our 50’s, we felt like young’uns! There were less than 15 kids on board, we were told. 2 weeks earlier, there were hundreds of kids. We had sailed on the Jewel in May and there were tons of kids at that time.
We hardly ever saw our room steward, but the room was always cleaned early in the day (usually while we were eating breakfast). Loved those towel animals (elephant, monkey, dog, etc…). Enjoyed having a balcony – we were the furthest balcony towards the stern on Deck 10.
Meals in main dining room – many evenings, there was a line so we had to get buzzers and wait 15-20 minutes or so. This was a little aggravating. We shared a table once or twice (and met interesting people), but then just requested a table for the 2 of us. After awhile, the hostess at Tsar's recognized us and knew about our seating preference. Chin Chin was wonderful although I don’t see us doing it again if the kids were with us due to its extra cost.
Entertainment – had previously seen some of the acts when we sailed in late May so we skipped the entertainment some nights, but overall we do enjoy the acts. Just get to the theatre 30 minutes ahead so that you can get good seats.
We had great weather throughout the cruise (temps in the 60’s and 70’s), slight whitecaps in the Strait of St Lawrence. The last day at sea, Igor raised some more waves. I was surprised (and slightly disappointed) that no leaves had changed. We did play some of the cheap slots at the Casino.
Newport – got a 1 day bus pass at visitor’s center. Got off at far end of Cliff Walk and did about 2/3rds of the walk. Caught a bus and rode back to the Tennis Hall of Fame and stopped to grab a bowl of chowder at a nearby restaurant. We caught the bus back to downtown and the tender. (This was the only place that we had to tender.)
Halifax – as there were 2 other cruise ships docked the same day, the Jewel docked in a restricted area which meant that we had to take a bus out of the restricted area to the public area. The ride was a few minutes. There are some shops nearby and then we walked along the water to downtown (about 15-20 minutes or so). Since we had already been in Halifax 2 other times, the person at the visitor’s center suggested that we take the ferry across the harbor to Dartmouth. It’s a 10-15 minute ride and if you come back within 90 minutes the return trip is free! Just make sure you ask for a transfer when you get your ticket. So a round trip for the 2 of us was less than $5. An indie movie was being filmed near where the ferry docked so we watched that for awhile. We walked around and then caught a ferry back. Walking along the water in Halifax was relaxing and we popped in some shops here and there.
Quebec – what a beautiful place! I was there in March (along with lots of snow), so I was anxious to see what the city looked like at this time of year. The narrow streets and old buildings were lovely. We took the funicular up the hill ($2/person). It certainly was a nice easy way to get up to the “new” city. At the top of the hill, there was a free archaeology exhibit showing a dig and since I am married to an archeologist, we wandered through it. Lots of street performers – singers, mimes, animated silver woman, etc…
Sydney – not too much to do in this city. It was a Sunday and most of the shops weren’t open. We had been here once before, so just walking around was okay.
Corner Brook – was cancelled. This was the only place that we had booked a shore excursion and we were disappointed when the port was cancelled. Oh well – another time, I guess.
One of the highlights of this 10 day cruise was seeing whales spouting while sailing in the St Lawrence Seaway. We would definitely do this itinerary again.