Arriving in a rainy Montreal on October 6th after two uneventful flights on Delta, I was ready for my trip to begin. Traffic from the airport to my hotel, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, was very slow, taking nearly an hour to reach the hotel. Check-in was swift and the details of my reservation were accurate. My 10th floor room had a wonderful city view, overlooking the Cathedral. Dinner that night was at The Keg, which was directly across the street from the hotel. October 7th was also rainy, so a half-day city tour was an appropriate activity along with exploring Montreal's underground mall. Dinner that night was at The Beaver Club within the hotel, a 5 star dining experience whose cuisine and service lived up to its reputation. October 8th dawned cold and windy with occasional showers that discouraged my plans for visiting Old Montreal and the Old Port area. I did more exploring of the underground mall, began reading my book, and looked for a restaurant for dinner. Settling on Les 3 Braissurers, a brew pub type of establishment, proved wise. I enjoyed very good food and freshly brewed beer along with good service.
The hotel was being used by HAL as their pre-cruise hotel. Finding out what time the first bus of guests were being shuttled to the pier, I left for the pier 15 minutes before that time. Getting to the pier proved to be an adventure. Even though the doorman told the taxi driver in French where he was to go, the driver had no clue as to where the Maasdam was docked. He missed the first turn to the Old Port and when we did arrive at the port area, we were downriver from the pier. Having studied a map of Montreal, I knew where to go and directed him to the pier. Arriving at the pier at 11:15 A.M., the baggage was quickly taken by the porters and the few guests already there were directed to a waiting area until check in began. That started within 5 minutes of my arrival. Being a 4 Star Mariner, I was directed to the check-in area for the Deluxe Verandah Suites, was quickly processed, handed an invitation to the Mariner Embarkation Lunch, and directed to a seating area to await boarding. Boarding began at 11:30 A.M., so from taxi to ship, my embarkation took only 15 minutes!
The Embarkation Lunch did not begin until Noon. Since this was my first time aboard the Maasdam, I walked through the public areas of the ship, becoming acquainted with the ship and waited in the Explorers Lounge until it was time to enter the dining room. Lunch was delicious with gracious, unhurried service. What a wonderful way to begin a cruise!
#748 is well located on Dolphin Deck. It is quiet, hearing no noise from adjoining cabins or from above or below. People talking loudly in the hallway can be heard. Plumbing worked well. Lighting was excellent. Sofa in the room needs to be replaced; its cushions were mashed down and fabric worn in places. The safe could not be used. Its placement in the closet was too close to an adjoining wall and a credit card could not be fully run through the device that locks/unlocks the safe.