Sept 14th to 24th, 2011 - Crown Princess - Canada/New England cruise.
Embarkation & Disembarkation - Smooth and efficient.
Food was a major disappointment. Horizon Court's food was always lukewarm. We had chosen anytime dinning and we felt the service was slow and most of the food not well prepared (fish dry, veal tough, etc).
Bars - our favorite was the Crooners bar. Great drinks and the waiters were entertaining along with great music being heard in the atrium.
Entertainement - we went three times and we really enjoyed the shows...2 comedians & 1 piano player/singer.
Service: We'd give it a 3 out of 5. Stewart did not do our room on 2 nights. Customer service: difficult to get responses or even someone to answer the phone.
Itinerary (2.5 out of 5) short days in most ports
We departed from New York on September 14th for a 10 day cruise. It was a great sail away with great views of New York and the Statue of Liberty.
The next day was Newport, RI. The stop was a short one, we had to be back on board by 3:30 but there was fog and we were being tendered in. So that delayed things for us to get off until about 10:30. The process was really slow, we were able to get to shore but a lot of people that we met waited for hours for their tender # to be called and finally gave up because the time ashore would be too short.
We did the Cliff Walk along the shore from one end to the other with great views of the mansions. It is a very rugged walk in certain areas. We returned to the dock to take the tender around 2:45 and there was a huge line up waiting for tenders, we waited a least one hour to get back on. Princess were only loading one tender at a time there seemed to be no coordination between the # of tenders and the number of people getting back on board.
We sailed at 4:00 P.M. to go to Portland, Maine and only got in at 11:00 A.M. the next morning. City is small, nothing much to do. We took the local bus "day pass" for $6 and roamed around. We visited the Signal House which had a great storyteller guide and a great view of the harbour but we wondered why Princess choose to come to Portland.
We then sailed away to Boston...so we questioned why we left Newport early bypassing Boston and now we were going back south. It would have made sense to go to Boston and then stopping in Portland on our way north . Shorter port times, longer sea time going back and forth, this did not make sense to us. We arrived in Boston at 7:00 A.M.
We loved our time in Boston, the weather was amazing. Princess offered a bus transfer for $15/return per person with drop off near Quincy Market. We walked the city and enjoyed the Harbour front, Little Italy, the Commons. It is such an easy city to walk around in and there are points of interest everywhere. Our departure was at 4:00 P.M. - wish we had been able to stay longer.
Our next stop was St John, New Brunswick, we had visited St John before but had not been to the Bay of Fundy and the Flowerpots so we decided to take the ships tour. The drive was over 2 hours, we had lunch for 30 minutes (perfect because we wanted as much time as possible seeing the flower pots). Our guide was very knowledgeable and even had a video on an I Pad to show us how quickly and how high the tide rose every day. Great communication tool. The ride back was another 2 hours with a few photo stops along the way. It was interesting to see how much the scenery had changed with the high tide.
Our next stop was Halifax, Nova Scotia. We arrived at 10:00 A.M. and walked the city. The harbour front was very nice and we visited the Citadel which was very interesting and interactive. We left at 7:00 P.M. for Sydney...but during the night we hit really high winds and the boat was rocking & rolling.
When we got up the next day the captain told us we would not be able to go to Sydney because of hurricane winds and waves of 25 ft. He did a manoeuvre to turn the boat around that had everybody hanging on...it was actually exciting. The captain did a great job in keeping us posted on everything that was happening and making sure that everyone was OK. So we had a day at sea. Going south for a while and then when it was safe to go north the captain changed directions so smoothly we did not even notice.
We were told at the end of the day that Princess had negotiated to go into Sydney the next day. That we would not be going to Corner Brook, NFLD...we were a little disappointed because we were looking forward to seeing Gros Morne National Park on the ship's tour. We were also advised that we would be tendering because Holland America was in port.
We rented a car in Sydney, Nova Scotia and drove to the Cabot Trail, we did about half of it in then doubled back because we knew that it would be too much of a risk to drive the whole way around. The views are beautiful but the fall colors had not started yet so the effect of the drive was not as beautiful that it could have been. I would guess that the 2nd or 3rd week of October would have been ideal for the fall colors.
We had a day at sea then we got in to Quebec City for an overnight stay. This was the best of all of our stops. The ship was docked directly in the old port, we walked the city. The Old Port, Place Royal, Parliament, Chateau Frontenac having a great lunch on Grande Allée and much more. Every corner is really enjoyable to discover...great walking city, beautiful day. It was really the highlight of our trip.