Let me just preface this review by saying, the Canada/New England cruise was by far the perfect summer cruise. Anytime we can escape the hot humid south is a blessing. For 10 days we enjoyed gorgeous, sometimes a bit chilly weather. Completely opposite of NC weather. If you're considering this cruise, definitely plan it for the summer.
Embarkation: Cape Liberty, Bayonne, New Jersey
We decided to drive to New Jersey from NC, in one day. We left about 4am and took maybe 2 breaks. So needless to say, we were stressed getting there. Won't do that again, I will in the future drive to Baltimore, stay over and then finish the drive the next day. Jersey turnpike is a real 'experience' for a southern driver. Got to port fine, but just in time. Nobody was really waiting in line by 3:30pm so we breezed right through.
Champagne and Strawberries awaited us in our room. And we ordered a smoked salmon sandwich from room service becaused we were starved. It was awesome. The balcony room we had was enough for the two of us, I couldn't imagine any more people in it. Loved having a balcony....can never cruise again without one.
The usual departure stuff went well, then we napped until dinner. We had a late seating for dinner. They did a great job of seating us with two other couples who were celebrating their anniversary. So all in all, a great dining table.
The food was fine. I kept in mind that they had to serve a certain way because they're serving so many in so little time. So the soups are basically puree's, I'd avoid pasta anything. I always stayed with the most luxurious option and was pleased every time. Deserts again were good some nights, a little more 'fluff' other nights. We did mostly dining room options as I'm not a fan of the cafeteria experience on a cruise.
Loved the coffee shop, always had a great selection of snacks, cookies, sandwiches. A nice break since our dinner was so late.
We didn't do much entertainment, we basically rested as much as we could. I did bingo a couple of times, my husband did the wine tasting. We weren't uptight about constantly being busy, our goal was to not have a schedule. It was too chilly for me to want to swim.
Did a spa massage, it was nice, but I hate the up sell they always do.
Ports: Here's a quick and easy reference for the ports. Research the american ones like Bar Harbor, Portland, etc. then rent a car and bring your GPS. We found some great places to eat and tour on our own schedule. The only tours I booked were for the canadian ones and I did one for Boston because I'd never been there and didn't want to navigate a car in a city like that.
My other goal was to have lobster every day. Not a difficult thing to do in New England. In Bar Harbor, we found an incredible lobster shack by the bridge and pigged out on whole lobster, steamed mussels and steamed clams. I can still taste them today! Every port was historical and relaxing. I'm not a beach bum, so I didn't miss not being on a carribbean vacation. The New England cruise was just my speed.