Like all embarkations, this one involved large groups of people being processed in limited space, but we all were got on board without too much drama. Holland America representatives met us at the airport and took us by bus to the ship. On ... Read More
Like all embarkations, this one involved large groups of people being processed in limited space, but we all were got on board without too much drama. Holland America representatives met us at the airport and took us by bus to the ship. On the short trip, an excellent and knowledgeable tour guide told us some interesting facts about Montreal. One of the travelers asked why all the roofs in Montreal were flat--the wind! Snow blows off the roofs so they have them flat.
On the ship, our luggage was waiting for us in our staterooms and we met the staff assigned to our stateroom. They were courteous and helpful, getting the distilled water and power bar we needed to plug in all of our electronic devices. (One reviewer described the staff as 'Phillipians'--I think he meant Filipinos--but they were Indonesian [Helps to know something about Dutch history in the Java Sea!]) In any event, they were eager to please and did so. We went directly to the cafeteria where most of the other passengers had gone as well, and it was the only time on the cruise where there were more passengers than tables available. However, we were welcomed to tables where other couples were already seated.
Our first stop was Quebec City, and the ship docked directly next to the old city below the upper city. We enjoyed shopping and site-seeing on our own. After a day at sea, we next landed in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. Be sure to visit the Northern Watters Knit store. (Yes, there are two "t"s in Watters.) They have the only knitting machine of the type left in North America and the woolen goods are made right on the premises. (You can watch the knitters work the knitting machine.) The woolens are expensive, but if you buy a shawl cardigan in Boston or NYC, they're about $100 more than at the factory. We got the un-dyed wool made from sheep who are equally two-toned. Their slogan is "We are indeed a hundred years behind the times and wouldn't have it any other way."
We stopped at Sydney Nova Scotia next, and walked along the shore. It boasts a giant fiddle and the wonderfully gracious Canadians. Next we went to Halifax and walked to their The Maritime Museum is full of fascinating images and artifacts. On the eve of docking, we attended a lecture on the great Halifax explosion during WWI that destroyed a major part of the town. The museum had parts of the exploding ships that were thrown for miles. The museum also had a video and artifacts from the Titanic. Later we had lunch at a restaurant in Halifax that we learned had been a makeshift morgue for the bodies recovered from the Titanic.
Bar Harbor, Maine is a nice little town where the many shops reflected the area. The dock is too small for the ship; so we were taken ashore on water taxis; which turned out to be the ship's life boats.
When we arrived in Boston, our disembarkation was very simple.
The entertainment director was wonderful, and she had a different show for us every night ranging from musicals to comedians. We attended all. We enjoyed exploring the ship and our walking monitors indicated that we walked about 5 miles per day, including the walking tours we did on our own at the ports.
The food was excellent! We had lots of variety and the only dud was the sushi in the cafeteria. The dinners in the formal dining room provided variety and excellent preparation. We got to keep the after-dinner cordial glasses; so we made sure we had a set of the glasses once we docked! Read Less