My wife and I booked this cruise back in March. It was very much worth the wait! In the past we have done two cruises with Princess from New York to Halifax and back (7 day itineraries). This time we wanted to do the ten day itinerary from ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise back in March. It was very much worth the wait! In the past we have done two cruises with Princess from New York to Halifax and back (7 day itineraries). This time we wanted to do the ten day itinerary from New York to Quebec. What a wonderful cruise it was. We were able to see some new ports of call in Portland, Maine, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and the best and most amazing port of call, Quebec City. We also had stops in Newport, Boston, St John's and Halifax along with one sea day.
To give you a brief description of us, my wife and I are in our early 60's and are both retired. We took our first cruise to Alaska back in July of 2006 and have been hooked ever since. We have now cruised 21 times, 19 with Princess and 2 with Norwegian Cruise Line. Princess is a perfect choice for us, we have never been disappointed.
Our cruise journey started on Monday Sept 22 (day 1) with a non stop flight from Milwaukee to New York's La Guardia Airport on Southwest Airlines. We then caught a taxi cab to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal ($45.00 with tip) to board the Ruby Princess for our 10 day adventure. We arrived early around 11:00 AM. The check in process went smoothly after waiting maybe 30 minutes. We did spend another hour in the elite lounge where we waited till 12:45 to board. It wasn't a bad wait as the time went fast talking to other passengers. Once onboard, we headed to our cabin to drop off our carry on bag. Most cabins were still being cleaned and made up for our cruise at this time. The previous cruise had just arrived from a 14 day cruise across the North Atlantic. New cruise personal were coming and others leaving the ship. The Ruby did not depart till after 7:00 PM that evening. We were so happy about this late departure so we could see the sunset on New York and the amazing skyline lite up that night. I was able to capture some great pictures that evening on my camera.
Our cruise had a big international flavor to it. It consisted of 1900 US citizens, 600 Canadians, 250 Brits and around 200 Australians. Forty Two countries were represented on the passenger side that totaled 3100. Another 1125 crew members were taking care of our needs, they did an excellent job with a friendly smile. It was mostly a senior cruise with folks in their 60's or 70's. I heard only five children were onboard, I think I only saw two the whole cruise.
We had a great cruise staff with Peter Tredgett being our cruise director. Angela the deputy cruise director was awesome along with her assistant's Dave, Ashleigh, James and Cass. They made it a fun cruise at all the game shows and trivia. Our captain was "Commodore" Giuseppe Romano, head of the Princess fleet. He was very much out and about greeting passengers during the ten day cruise. All the Princess personal were always available to help you. The service onboard as mentioned earlier was excellent.
During the cruise each night, we saw really good entertainment. The singers and dancers were outstanding with four production shows during the cruise. They were "Colors of the World", "Once Upon a Dream", "Stardust" and "Broadway Ballroom". One of the headline singers, Clarissa Spiller, put on a fabulous performance by herself in the Explorers Lounge. Comedian Scott Wyler also put on a great show in the Princess Theater one night. He was so funny, we couldn't stop laughing. The Ruby Princess Orchestra also played some special shows in the Explorers Lounge highlighting the jazz and blues sounds of New Orleans. One other dynamic entertainer was Chris Walkins known as the "Fireworks on Four Strings". He was from Wales and could play a violin like I never saw. He had an amazing personality to go along with his show. The women in the audience fell in love with him. One woman said he looked like a David Beckham with a violin. My wife even bought his CD as many others did.
Our second day (Tuesday Sept 23) started out in Newport, Rhode Island. We have done a few mansion tours in the past so we decided to just wander around looking in stores. We did find a nice Irish pub, "O'Brien's" for a drink. I enjoyed one of the local beers, a "Hurricane Amber Ale" from the Newport Storm Brewery. I wanted to go tour the brewery, but found out they are closed on Tuesdays. The weather was beautiful in Newport that day (mid 60's and sunny). We got to ride on top of the tender boat while returning to the ship. Was able to take some great pictures of the Ruby Princess.
Day three (Wed. Sept 24) was spent in Boston, Ma. It was another beautiful day near 70 degrees and sunny. We shuttled down to the Quincy Market area that morning and looked around in the shops and bought a few souvenirs. My wife enjoyed a lobster roll and I indulged in a small Boston cream pie from a bakery stand in Quincy Market. All I can say, delicious! Later that afternoon we headed towards the ship on the shuttle . The bus driver was kind enough to drop us off at the Harpoon Brewery a few blocks from the cruise terminal. We really enjoyed the atmosphere here. It has a large beer hall and bar area. It also had a large gift shop for there products and wear. You can take a tour of the brewery if you like, but we passed on it. We did meet the manager Michelle who filled us in on the history of the brewery, etc. No food is available other than their large home made pretzels served with different sauces. It was the best pretzel I ever had along with some great beers. It was a great day in Boston.
Day four (Thursday Sept 25) we docked in Portland, Oregon. This was the first time we have ever visited this fine city. We again walked around on another beautiful day. We did our own brewpub tour on this day. We were able to visit three places, Gritty McDuff's Brewpub, Seabago Brewing Co. (brewpub) and the Shipyard Brewing Company. We had a good day enjoying the different beers, but felt the effects some bit later in the day. All the beers were quite good I must say. In between stops, we did manage to find a great donut bakery called the "Holy Donut". All the donuts were made with Maine potatoes. People were lined up to get inside. Believe me, they were worth the wait in line, really tasty and even better between beers. Portland really is a neat sea side city to visit.
Day five (Friday Sept 26) we made it to Canada and docked in beautiful Saint John, New Brunswick. The weather continued to be fantastic. The best place to visit here is the old "City Market" building in the downtown area. It's a historic building with all kinds of crafts, meats, seafood and vegetables. My wife was anxious to get here to look up the woman who sold her a Halloween decoration (a witch character) from last years cruise. She was still in business and we were able to buy a pumpkin character this cruise. This woman creates all her decorations, very talented work.
Day six (Sat. Sept 27) was spent in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The weather was getting better each day, another sunny one with temperatures in the low to mid 70's. Being a Saturday, all the markets were open in town during the day, people everywhere you went. There was three cruise ships in port which made it more congested. One was called Alda I never heard of before, it was as big as the Ruby Princess. I talked to one German passenger from this ship and they said it sailed from Germany, but the ship's name sounded more Italian to me. Halifax has a beautiful waterfront that you can walk on for a good mile or more. Many restaurants and stores are located here. We walked quite a bit on this day. We walked all the way up to the Halifax Citadel over looking the city high up on a hill. It's a National Historic Site (fort) built in the early 1800's. The views up there were amazing. Later that afternoon we headed back to the ship to catch a special performance around 4:30 PM in the Princess Theater. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipes & Drums band played for us. They also had folkloric dancers perform with them. This show was outstanding to see, if ever on this cruise itinerary and they are performing, don't miss it!!!
Day seven (Sunday Sept 28) we arrived in Sydney, Nova Scotia. This was a tender port. The area is known for Alexander Graham Bell and the museum of his inventions. You can still see Bell's 132 room estate "Beinn Breagh". Most stores were closed in town being a Sunday. The cruise port terminal did have a nice smaller convention hall filled with vendors and their crafts. It was cooler this day (mid 50's) but windy. We headed back to the ship early so we could watch our Green Bay Packers play the Chicago Bears that afternoon on the "Movies Under the Stars" screen up on the top deck. It was a great day as my Packers crushed the Bears.
Day eight (Monday Sept 29) we docked in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. We finally hit a over cast day that had some chill in the air. It wasn't bad walking around, but we finally wore coats. Charlottetown is the capital of this province with many historic buildings. My wife bought the book "Anne of Green Gables" here. Charlottetown is where the Green Gables National Historic site is, the 19th century Green Gables Farm where author Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote the novel. We also enjoyed Canada's best ice cream here at "Cows", voted the best ice cream in Canada. It was good! Charlottetown is really a nice city to visit with a population of around 60,000 people.
Day nine (Tuesday Sept 30) was spent at sea, our only sea day of the cruise. It was nice to kick back and relax after all the port stops day after day. After sleeping in a bit this morning, we had breakfast at the Horizon Court Buffet. Most mornings we ate there, usually getting a omelet made on the spot. I also love the breakfast sausage they prepare. Anyway, after breakfast we went to the Culinary Demonstration in the Princess Theater around 10:00 AM. We always enjoy seeing this show with the executive chef and maître D'. They make it so entertaining with their stories and unending jokes, just a good time. Later that day we tried bingo, but no luck there. We did manage to make it in the casino a few times. I was down maybe $50.00 during the cruise, but my wife won a hundred dollars this day on a slot machine and came home a winner. We also did the Grapevine Wine Tasting this day in the Michelangelo Dining Room. Met some nice people at our table, lot's of fun, the wine wasn't bad either. We actually had a busy schedule this day attending different events and shows. We managed to see the "Marriage Match Game Show" in Club Fusion. It's always entertaining to watch, but I wouldn't want to participate. It was good day to be cruising down the St Lawrence Sea Way as it was breezy, overcast and cool outdoors. To wrap up our night, we attended the "International Crew Talent & Variety Show" in the Princess theater. Some very talented crew members. The final act is always the best with the cruise director and his staff doing the gig "If I Were Not Upon the Sea". It's hilarious.
Day ten (Wed. Oct 1) was the best and most anticipated place to visit of our cruise. We arrived in Quebec City at 7:00 AM this morning. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and temperatures in the low to mid 60's. Quebec is truly an historic city. Old Quebec has the narrow cobblestone streets with many boutiques, stores, cafes and pubs. The buildings are historic and decorative. We logged several miles walking this day, trying to see as much as we could. We enjoyed crepes at a authenticated French restaurant for lunch. We walked up to the La Citadelle fortress high above Quebec for beautiful views of the St Lawrence Sea Way. The center piece of Quebec is the massive Chateau Frontenac Hotel . It's such a majestic hotel standing so high and tall. A beautiful boardwalk is built along side the hotel and the cliffs of the St Lawrence. It's a great place to sit and relax or take a stroll. We really had a fantastic day in Quebec. Eventually we headed back to the ship to pack up for disembarkation the next morning. That evening in the Princess Theater we saw another great local folkloric show. It had French Canadian folk dancers, traditional music, jigs, square dances and song. It was very entertaining, a great performance by this group.
The next morning (Thursday Oct 2) was the ending of our cruise adventure. We did have a Princess excursion booked though, before heading to the airport. We got on a bus to see more of Quebec City from the old town area to the newer sections of town. Our last stop before heading to the Quebec Airport was seeing Montmorency Falls. The falls are 272 feet high, higher than Niagara, but much narrower. We walked out on a suspension bridge for some great photos. What a beautiful view looking out into the St Lawrence Seaway. Afterwards (1:00 PM) we headed out to the Quebec Airport for the beginning of a long day. Our flight wasn't till 5:25 PM which only took us to Philadelphia. We had a 3 hour lay over there, but the nice part was we were able to catch the Packers / Vikings game on TV while waiting for our flight to Milwaukee. My Packers won 42-10 which made the wait go fast. We finally made it home that night (actually morning) after 1:30 AM.
We had a wonderful cruise on the Ruby Princess. This ten day cruise to Canada and New England was everything we hoped for, a great itinerary. Hope to do this cruise again some day in the future. We highly recommend this cruise for anyone thinking about it. You can't go wrong, we even saw fall colors during this time period.
My final words, thank you Princess for another great cruise. Were looking forward to boarding the Ruby again in January, one of our favorite ships in the fleet.