We are a semi-retired couple from Toronto, Canada. This was our 25th cruise, only 3rd on Princess. We chose this based on itinerary, price, and our available time frame. We enjoyed a relaxing cruise, visiting new Canadian and U.S. ports (some for the first time), and the weather was warming up as we made our way southbound.
We opted to travel by train from Toronto to Québec City on the embarkation day. We did not worry about missing the ship, since it stayed overnight in Québec. On the train ride we connected with 3 other couples joining the cruise. Upon arrival we bought wine at the nearby SAQ store and walked about 15 minutes to the terminal, where processing went smoothly. The terminal is modern, with free wi-fi, but the ramps to the gangway were too steep. Perhaps some equipment was not working properly and they had to resort to alternative methods.
We met Alyson, our cabin steward, who was friendly, efficient, and took care of whatever we needed. He didn’t do towel animals, but left two chocolates on our pillow every night. The cabin E312 had obstructed Oceanview in midship. The lifeboat and overhang blocked 50% of the view, but it was not a big issue for us. The shower is tiny with an awkward curtain, the cabinetry is older and scratched up, but the bed and linens were wonderful and the blackout drapes let us sleep in. On occasion we were able to hear muffled conversation from the adjoining cabin or the hallway. The lighting was adequate (no night light in the bathroom) and storage ample and easily accessible.
About 50% obstruction by lifeboat roof. The shower is tiny with an awkward curtain, the cabinetry is older and scratched up, but the bed and linens were wonderful and the blackout drapes let us sleep in. On occasion we were able to hear muffled conversation from the adjoining cabin or the hallway. The lighting was adequate (no night light in the bathroom) and storage ample and easily accessible. There was a small safe, fridge (empty) and duplicate light switches on the headboard.
Sydney – It was Sunday. There were local merchants and free wi-fi (slow) right at the cruise terminal, and strolled along the pretty boardwalk to a large monument. Then we walked to the nearest mall which opened at noon and back to the ship.
Halifax – walked the promenade along the water with strong winds from the tail end of tropical storm Philip, all the way from the Farmers Market to the Alexander Keith brewery and back. Nightlife downtown was also muted. The following day we visited Pier 21 museum, introduced Tim Hortons and Loblaws Superstore to American friends, and ended with a beer tasting at the Garrison Brewery near the port. There was free wi-fi in the terminal building.
Bar Harbor – went through the immigration process then lengthy wait for a tender (over 1 hour). Did a self-guided walking tour and spent time at the quaint public library to use the wifi service.
Boston – We been here several times, so we took the public bus to South Boston, then shopping at TJ Max near the Commons. Walked back to the ship on Summer Ave., about 40 minutes in the pleasant sunny afternoon
Newport, RI – another tender port, already toured on a prior cruise. This time we visited the Truro synagogue and the exhibits, walked on Thames Rd. and waited in a long line for the return tender to the ship.
In Brooklyn – we walked out from the port area (very boring warehouses until Atlantic Ave.) to the riverside parks leading to the Dumbo area, then over and across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan, followed by South street to Pier 11. From there we took the IKEA Express water taxi (free on weekends) to their huge store on the Brooklyn side. It was only a 15 minute walk back to the ship.
Norwalk, VA – we arrived at 11am, went to Waterside complex and MacArthur Place mall. In the afternoon we took the Paddlewheeler ferry to Portsmouth and back, then the Tide light rail for some sightseeing. Be aware that ticket machines do not dispense seniors discount tickets.