August 2010: New England/Canada Cruise
Join us on our cruise from Boston to Montreal and Back aboard the Holland America Line MS Maasdam. We wanted to drive to Boston and, after the cruise, continue on a drive through New England. We chose the 7 Day Canada/New England North Bound back to back with the return South Bound trip. The ports of call were: Boston, Massachusetts, US; Bar Harbor, Maine, US; Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA; Sydney,Canada; Charlottetown, Prince Edward CA; Cruising Gulf of St. Lawrence; Quebec City, Quebec, CA; and Montreal, Quebec, CA.
Saturday August 21, Leaving Boston
Avoiding the hassle of air travel. we drove to Boston, dropped off our luggage at the pier, and parked about a block away in the parking garage. We had lunch while we waited for our luggage to be delivered to our cabin. It was a beautiful Saturday. We watched the many small craft in Boston harbor. As we backed out of the pier and into the harbor, official boats cleared a path for us as did the sound of the Maasdam's horn.
Sunday August 21, Bar Harbor
We approached Bar Harbor about 7:00 AM. We did not have an planned excursions. We just tendered to shore about 10:00 AM and walked along the short seaside path that starts next to the dock. This led to a quiet walk through the trees into the main shopping street in Bar Harbor. I picked up the obligatory little stuffed red lobster, which appears in some of my photos. You are invited to follow our track, particularly the beach walk, and enjoy my photos of that experience.
Monday August 22, Halifax, Nova Scotia
We departed Bar Harbor Sunday afternoon, crossed the mouth of the Bay of Fundy about 8:00 PM, and approached Halifax, Nova Scotia about 6:00 AM the next morning. My excursion for the day was a sea kayaking trip . This was something I had always wanted to try and was a wonderful experience. Because kayaking can be a bit wet, my camera and GPS stayed in the cabin. Consequently, this segment is a bit short on tracks and pictures. You are invited to view our tracks and photos of our approach to Halifax.
Tuesday August 23, Sydney, Nova Scotia
Monday afternoon, we left Halifax and traveled to Sydney on the northern end of Nova Scotia. We approached Sydney harbor about 6:60 AM on Tuesday. By the way, as this page is being prepared, the Google Earth image shows Sydney harbor covered with ice. The Maasdam is a good ship, but not an ice breaker. The harbor was actually clear and the weather was warm with beautiful clear skies. After breakfast, we decided to take a stroll through the historic section of town. I was fortunate to get some nice photos including a picture post card shot of the Maasdam from a little park overlooking the pier. That afternoon, we took a motor coach excursion. For me, the highlight of the excursion was a visit to a First Nations heritage center. I took my camera on the excursion, but unfortunately left my GPS behind in the cabin, so all the photos are located on the Maasdam. You are invited to view our tracks and my photos of our experience in Sydney.
Wednesday August 24, Prince Edward Island
Returning to the cabin after dinner, the first of our daily Towel Art animals was waiting for us on the turned-down bed. Our cabin steward had prepared it as a surprise for us. We began our approach to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island at about 6:00 AM on Wednesday. My favorite shot of the trip was taken at 6:45 AM as we approached the pier. It shows the harbor reflected on the calm water. We took a quiet stroll through town in the morning and a motor coach tour in the afternoon along the southern shore stopping at the Confederation Bridge. We departed about 4:00 PM and followed the South shore of the island. We passed under the Confederation Bridge just before sunset. I was able to take a spectacular sequence of photos of as we approached and passed under the bridge. I stood at the bow of the Maasdam on Deck 7. It was not very crowded so I was able to get a number of clear shots of the sunset and the bridge. One of them was taken just as we passed under the bridge. My favorite was a shot looking back at the Sky Deck filled with people. There was a cheer from the crowd as we passed under. There was not a lot of space between the them, and the bridge. Some larger passenger ships can not pass under the bridge. You are invited to follow our track and view my photos of this day.
August 25-26, At Sea
After passing under the bridge we continued on through Gulf of St. Lawrence and up the St. Lawrence River which we reached about 7:00 AM on Thursday. This was a day at sea. We were treated to the Crew Appreciation show that afternoon. We proceeded through the evening and night toward Quebec. You are invited to follow us on that segment of our trip.
Friday August 27, Quebec
We approached Quebec about 6:30 AM on Friday. After lunch, we went on a motor coach excursion of the city which included the fortifications and battlefields from the French and Indian war. We also strolled through parts of the Old City and enjoyed the art work for sale there. You are invited to follow our tracks and view my phots from our visit to Quebec.
August 27-28, St. Laurence River
We left Quebec about 5:00 PM and proceeded up the St. Laurence toward Montreal. Shortly after, while we were having dinner we passed under Quebec City bridge. We were fortunate to be on the Maasdam because this bridge is also an obstacle to taller passenger ships. This was the night of the Master Chief's dinner, which was one of the highlights of the trip. I took pictures during the dinner which ended with the Backed Alaska parade and the presentation of the Backed Alaska desert. Each course is spotted on the map at the point it was served, truly a "Movable Feast" :-) (I'm sorry I can not help myself). In my opinion, there is nothing more luxurious than having a delicious meal while we looking out the restaurant window at a beautiful scene, in this case the beautiful St. Laurence. You are invited to follow us on this very pleasant journey up the St. Laurence.
Saturday August 28, Montreal
We arrived in Montreal about 6:00 AM on Saturday. Later that morning we took a motor coach excursion around the city. It included a stop on Mount Royal which provides a beautiful view of the city. That afternoon we took a stroll. We were fortunate to be able to attend a folk life and history festival a few minutes from the Maasdam. The theme was civic and folk life in Montreal prior to the French and Indian War. It was very interesting and something we seldom hear about. You are invited to follow us on this really fascinating visit to Montreal.
August 28-31, Returning
On the way back from Montreal, we mostly relaxed and enjoyed being on the ship. You are invited to follow our track as the Maasdam stopped at Quebec and headed back to Charlottetown.
Tuesday August 31, Charlottetown
We approached Charlottetown about 6:00 AM on Tuesday. We took our second motor coach excursion, this one to the northern shore of the island. We stopped in New Glasgow, which as you might have guessed from the name was settled by poeple from Scotland. We visited the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, which specializes in well fortified preserves. The site had a beautiful garden path on the River Clyde. We also stop at the girlhood home of hL. M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, and the old fishing villege, North Rustico. We depart from the island about 4:00 pm. You are invited to follow us on our tour of this beautiful and historic island.
August 31-September 2, Returning to Boston
Shortly after departing from Charlottetown the Captain makes the announcement that Hurricane Earl and the Maasdam are both due in the Boston area on Saturday, September 4. To avoid Earl, we have make a "radical" change of plans and are going to proceed directly to Boston arriving Thursday afternoon. We will have to give up three planned stops, but not one person objects! We take the shortest route and proceed at a good speed. We finally approach Boston at about 3:30 PM, Thursday September 2 and dock at about 5:00 PM. By that time the threat of Hurricane Earl has diminished. We remain on board until Saturday morning enjoying the facilities of a luxury hotel and special entertainment programs. In the meantime, Hurricane Earl has moved out to sea leaving us with only a few early morning showers on Saturday. You are invited to follow our path as we make our way back to Boston.