My husband and I are both fit 40 year olds with no children. We are early risers and can walk a lot. This is our 8th cruise and our 1st on Holland America. We stayed in an outside-unobstructed cabin. We felt it was roomier than other cabins we’ve stayed in including some suites. We had open seating and ate in the dining room 3 times. We didn’t have a wait to be seated any of the times but service was slow. We ate the rest of the time in the Lido and found the food quite good up there with the same food served in the dining room. The staff in the Lido was exceptionally friendly too. The bars seemed lively with various types of music in each one. They have a happy hour from 4-5pm. We are not big on shows (we go to bed early) but we did see the comedian/juggler and enjoyed it. I liked that the captain updated us everyday and the cruise director was always walking around. The Maasdam was just refurbished so I would have expected whiter towels and better chairs up in Lido. Overall, I really enjoyed cruising with Holland America and this won’t be my last cruise with them!
1 night pre-cruise at Embassy Suites
Montreal –We flew in a day early and took a taxi to our hotel in old Montreal at the Embassy Suites. The ride was a flat rate of $38 and took less than 20 min. The next day, we checked out of our room and had the hotel store our luggage as we ventured out to explore streets of Old Montreal. We toured the Basilique Notre-Dame, Place Jacques Cartier and walked Rue St. Paul. Overall the walk was about 2 miles and easy for us. We picked up our luggage and even walked to the port to check in.
Quebec City –The “Royals” were visiting the same time we were. We got off the ship by 7:30 and started walking. Things were still quiet. We planned on going to the Citadel and stopped in the info center. They directed us but when we got to the Citadel, it was closed because of Prince William and Kate. So we walked around the entire ramparts. By this time things were getting hectic and streets were closing. We headed to lower town. We are not shoppers so we went back to the ship to have lunch. We never cut our port days short and were disappointed with Quebec City.
Charlottetown, PEI – we rented bikes and rode towards Victoria Park and then cut across town to ride a portion of the Confederate Trail. Once we returned our bikes we walked into town for lunch and to see the Province House and several of PEI’s churches. We had a beer at Gahan and then ice cream at Cows Creamery.
Sydney, Nova Scotia – We took the ship’s tour to the Fortress of Louisbourg. Our guide was very informative about the history of Louisbourg and Cape Breton Island. The tour is 5 ½ hours long and you could easily spend the entire day there. Back in town, we had lunch at the Governors Pub and listened to the local entertainment. We walked around the historical section of Sydney.
Halifax, Nova Scotia – We walked towards the Citadel going through the old burring grounds and Spring Street. The climb didn’t seem that steep. We toured the Citadel and then walked down the hill to the historic properties. We spent 30 min. or so at the Maritime Museum. We walked back towards the ship along the waterfront. We toured the Pier 21 museum. This day was the most rushed in my opinion.
Bar Harbor, Maine – We needed to go through customs before getting off the boat. It was well organized by floors. We walked through with no wait. Then we went to get our tender ticket and that was a bit of a wait but nothing out of the ordinary. We were off the boat by 9:15. We scheduled a 2 ½ hour tour to Acadia National Park through Acadia Park Tours. The tour was informative with 3 15- min. stops to Cadillac Mountain, Sieur De Monts Spring & Thunderhole. The tour finished and we strolled the shore path to Main St., about 1 mile. The tender line back to the boat was short with no wait.
2 nights post cruise Renaissance Waterfront
Boston, MA – We scheduled ourselves with express disembarkation and had to carry all our bags ourselves off the boat. That was the easiest thing and we were off the boat by 8am. We took a taxi to our hotel –The Renaissance Waterfront. They held our bags until it was time to check in. We then took a taxi to the Bunker Hill Monument. We were going to walk the Freedom Trail backwards. We got to Kings Chapel and decided we were done. We walked back to our hotel -That was a bit more walking then planned for that day (not the Freedom Trail but to our hotel) and I was tired.
The next day we took the subway to Boston Commons and finished up the Freedom Trail and walked around Beacon Hill and the Public Gardens. We took the T to Harvard and walked around Harvard Yard/Square before taking the T back to our hotel.