Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Canada and New England Cruise 2014 Part 2

Last week we cruised on the Holland America Maasdam heading from Montreal to Boston. This was actually a continuation of the previous week’s cruise because this was a back to back cruise (14 days).

Day 5 (9/24/14 Sydney)

Here is the link to the pictures.

DSC_0002Yesterday we went to Sydney and I went back to the craft fair to visit the knitters. One lady knitted little people and I liked them so much that she gave me the pattern! Then we went back to the ship because we were invited to an Indonesian luncheon which was fabulous. I don’t know what I ate but it was amazing! After lunch we went to the movie theater but the speakers were broken and we couldn’t hear the movie so we left and walked around town some more. At 4, we went to happy hour in the Ocean Bar and then at 5, we moved to the Crow’s Nest happy hour. While there Don spotted some whales so we had the whole bar in an uproar! After dinner we went to the show which featured the comedian Derrick Cameron.

Day 6 (9/25/14 Halifax)

Here is the link to the pictures.

DSC_0016Since we were just here last week, we walked around town some more. We tried to find out about this FRED (free rides everywhere downtown) that someone told us about but the visitor center said that it ended a few years ago. So, we walked all the way to the casino and found an elevated walkway that went from building to building. It took us almost to the citadel at the top of the hill which was nice. On the way we went through the Scotia Mall and we walked around. We returned to the ship for lunch and then had a nap until happy hour. It was formal night at dinner and then we went to the show called Road House where the singers and dancers sang country songs. It was an enjoyable day!

Day 7 (9/26/14 Bar Harbor)

Here is the link to the pictures.

DSC_0006It was an interesting morning. We had to go through customs on Deck 8 at 8:15 because we were entering US soil and then we went for breakfast. We thought this would give the crowds to empty from the tenders. After breakfast we went to the showroom to get our tender number at 9:45. We didn’t get on the tender until 11:18! By the time we got into Bar Harbor, it was almost noon. We walked around town and admired the changing leaves. We had some issues with our rental house and spent some time coordinating things with our daughter and son in law (who are absolutely wonderful for taking care of things for us!). After we had walked around town, we took the tender back to the ship. After lunch we packed our suitcases and then rushed to happy hour! All four of our dinner mates were there! We are so lucky to have had 2 weeks with fantastic dinner mates! At dinner, the waiters sang a traditional song to me for my birthday (two different times) and they gave me a birthday cake! It was a wonderful evening.

Day 8 (9/27/14 Debarkation)

We were told to be ready to get off the ship by 8:15-8:30 and we were called around 8:20. We got off the ship and quickly found our bags. It was fast and easy to get off the ship! Then we found the taxi stand and easily got the second taxi out of a long line of taxis to the Hampton Inn (Boston Logan Airport). It cost $27 + $3 tip to the hotel about 15 minutes away. (I would not recommend this hotel for a park and cruise package because they only offer the shuttle to the ship and you have to take a cab back to the hotel.)

Summary of Overall Cruise:
1. Service: The service was excellent all around the ship. No matter where we went, crew members always greeted us and were smiling. Anything we wanted or needed was given to us immediately.
2. Dining room – Our service was wonderful! Sulaeman was our main dining steward and he did a great job considering he was stuck with us for 2 weeks! He was always patient and helpful. The service was quick enough but not rushed so we could make the show and get a good seat. Ketut was always there outside to give us mints and ginger as we left the dining room.
3. Stateroom: Our cabin felt large with a bed and a sofa in it. Our cabin steward was excellent and our room was cleaned around breakfast time while we were gone and then dinner time.
4. Ship: The size of the ship was perfect for us. It was not too small where we felt bored or confined but small enough where we saw other people we became friends with and could talk about the day or excursions that were taken. The ship was clean and well taken care of!
5. Tender: Absolutely dreadful! We waited over 90 minutes in the showroom to get off the ship. Some people waited two hours! There had to be a better way of organizing this because we have done this on other ships where it was done quickly and efficiently.
6. Food: There was a great variety of food on the ship and they tried hard to vary the dinner menu from the first week so we didn’t just have a repeat of the first week. This was a really nice thing to do.
7. Entertainment: The shows were good along with the singers and dancers. I looked forward to going to them. We also saw a couple of comedians that we enjoyed. They also changed the entertainment from the first week so it wasn’t a repeat also.
8. Cruise Director: Jeremy Whited was absolutely awesome! He was very personable and always took time to have a conversation with us. He had a great sense of humor when speaking to a group. On the day we had to cancel Bar Harbor due to weather on the first week, we heard him speak about the Halifax explosion and he made it interesting to hear.

Things I Learned:

1. Pauline shared with me how to cook a “jacket potato” her way. First I punch holes in it and cook it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Then cover it in oil or butter and salt. Then cook it in the oven at 350 degrees until done.
2. St. Georges Island in Halifax was used as a prison by the British for Acadiens.
3. Halifax was founded by the Portuguese.
4. I never noticed before that the nickel and dime do not have the number value printed on them. Our dinner mates from the UK asked about them and I guess I’ve always taken it for granted and never noticed it.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

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