My family took the 9 night cruise up the NE into Canada out of Baltimore. Without airfare, it made the trip far more economical. We paid around $3,700 before our final tab at the gift shops, bar, gratuities. Gratuities really add up at ... Read More
My family took the 9 night cruise up the NE into Canada out of Baltimore. Without airfare, it made the trip far more economical. We paid around $3,700 before our final tab at the gift shops, bar, gratuities. Gratuities really add up at $14.50/person/day. I don't debate they are deserved; just factor those in as you budget.
I was on this ship in the late 90's and it's still the same. It's had a face lift, or several, but if you start looking close, you can tell it's tired. I will say that it's clean, which is what I care about most. The staff are excellent and work hard to make sure the experience is good!
Age. Wow, there are a lot of older folks on this trip. It slows movement down around the ship. Not a complaint; just be aware of it. Kids activities were better than we expected based on what we had read. Our 9 and 12 year old enjoyed the kids room, pools and the rock climbing wall. Just be aware it's not a Disney cruise.
The gym on this ship is terrible. Small and older equipment that needs to be replaced. I'm not sure what they would do to make it larger, but it's very much in need of a facelift and expansion. The ship is crowded. I am on the second to last day - on the ship now. When you are at sea (and you are the last two days of this trip), the place fills up quickly. Hard to find a place to sit other than your room. Two days, back to back, at sea is not ideal on this ship at all.
The stops? Boston, Portland, Bar Harbor and Halifax were excellent. St. John's was our least favorite. Nice enough City, but couldn't really find much we wanted to do. Perhaps that's us? The rest were excellent stops! Avoid the "whale watching" tour they sell you at Halifax through RC. Listen, I full appreciate you can't always see a whale. However, it's positioned by RC that the likelihood you will is high. We paid nearly $200 for four of us to go and we basically went on a two and a half hour boat ride. Saw nothing more than a lobster and a crab. Terrible waste of money. Terrible.
The food? It's not bad, but after 7-8 days, it gets old. You can tell what's going on. 10-15 year ago, you went on a cruise and got fed very well. Now, if you want that same experience? You are paying extra and going to their specialty restaurants. Add in the drinks and internet, you start to feel like you're getting nickel and dimed to death. It does get old in that regard. I did try a steak from their specialty restaurant. It was average, at best. Certainly not worth the up charge. I will also say, 9 days of food is hard to manage. You can only do some much to create variety. We made it a habit to have lunch off the boat in town each day. Try the café back by the gym. Great spot for an Egg McMuffin at breakfast, a light sandwich/snack in the afternoon, etc. Great food and it wasn't crowded as I don't think most people knew about it.
The internet? Well, it works. It's not so slow that it doesn't run your machine, but it's certainly not blazing fast. At best, I was getting about 4mbps down and 2 up. At worst, it would manage 1 down and .5 up. It was quick enough to run FaceTime, etc. We bought a two device package. It's a real pain to connect/disconnect. About once a day, we would have to go to the customer service desk as it would "jam" and tell us we were connected even though we logged out. It would then lock us out of our account. A real pain to deal with every day. Overall, though, it's much better than I remember it being a few years ago. Useable if you need to be connected.
Overall, we had a nice time. It was a great way to see many different spots that would be expensive to go to singularly. The age of the ship didn't create near the stir we thought it would. RC has done a nice job with it, frankly, and the staff was excellent. Read Less