The reason for this rather cryptic title will become apparent as you read the narrative.
We had two reasons for taking this trip from Montreal to Boston. First of all we have always wanted to visit L’Anse aux Meadows, and secondly because we had sailed on the Zaandam around Cape Horn in 2018, and really enjoyed the ambience of a smaller cruise ship, despite a serious problem. Generally speaking we enjoyed our trip, but a couple of developments took the shine off it somewhat.
We enjoyed fine weather during our trip along the St. Lawrence, but after we had rounded the Northern tip of Newfoundland the weather worsened with NE winds of Force 5, gusting to Force 6 and seas producing 5-6 feet waves, making it impossible to tender ashore safely. Consequently our trip to St. Antony was cancelled, so we missed the chance to visit L’Anse aux Meadows. This was disappointing, because visiting the Viking site was the main reason for us to take this trip, but nobody can argue with the weather. The captain made the only possible decision given the circumstances, and we entirely agree with that decision. As a result of this itinerary change, we gained an extra sea day, and a free drink on HAL, and a refund of our excursion costs and port fees.
We had a spacious cabin on the Dolphin Deck (deck 1) starboard side. it was close to the elevators and within easy reach of the Lido buffet and the Main Dining Room. It also allowed us a good view of the efforts to remove the stern thruster.
Baie Commeau – a small town that grew around a pulp and paper mill that produced newsprint for the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Baie Commeau has one other claim to fame because it has produced one Canadian Prime Minister (Brian Mulroney). The large harbour is located about 10-minutes’ drive from the town centre, so we were transported in a fleet of school buses. In town there really isn’t much to see, except some murals painted on buildings and a moribund fountain plus a few craft and antique shops.
Havre St Pierre – a very interesting and welcoming small town. It’s really just a short hop from the quay into the town itself. There are craft stores (good quality, but expensive), a wonderful Parks Canada museum and some interesting walks through the town.
Corner Brook – buses took us into the town centre where we visited the museum and an outdoor craft market. Entering and leaving along Humber Arm is interesting, and you might want to get on deck to enjoy the views (weather permitting).
St. John’s – in the busy harbour of St. John’s it is always interesting just to sit and watch the ship movements. St. John’s is very hilly, so we took a taxi up to The Rooms. This is an enormous museum and art gallery complex and is well worth a visit, but we think you would probably need two days at least to see all of it. A visiting Newfoundland dog made friends with passengers on the quayside.
Halifax – We decided to walk to Point Pleasant Park, but with hindsight that was a mistake. It’s quite a long way along Marginal Road from the docks to the park, skirting the railroad sidings. It would probably be wiser to take a taxi to the park, and then walk back to the ship. The Halifax Cruise Terminal has a good range of vendors selling all sorts of souvenirs.