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7 Night Canada & New England Discovery
Holland America's Rotterdam

Itinerary:
Departing from: Montreal, Quebec
Quebec City, Quebec
Cruise Gulf Of St. Lawrence
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Sydney, Nova Scotia
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Bar Harbor, Maine
Boston, Massachusetts

Review of ship/cruise

Ship: This is our third time on HAL's Rotterdam. The ship had some updating over the years. One thing they did was remove the sink in the dressing room. I always like that little sink. But otherwise the stateroom was exactly the same. So was the location of everything on the ship. I don't have pictures of the ship here. You can look at our previous trips for those. Most of the changes were little cosmetic, painting, art, etc.

We had a Neptune Suite and as always, loved the attention in the Neptune Lounge and the concierge service. We ate almost every breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill - which is only open for suite guests in the morning. And we had 2 dinners there. We never made it for lunch. The food is always better in the Pinnacle. As 3 star mariner guests we got 25% off the dinner charges.

We had a couple of good shows onboard. There was a very funny commedian (Carl Guerra) for 2 nights, an acrobatic duo, and the BBC Earth presentation made especially for HAL.

Montreal

We arrived in Montreal the day before and stayed at the Le Square Phillips downtown. It was a very nice, comfortable, 4 star hotel. While searching around online in our room I found a cat cafe just a short cab ride away. Being cat lovers we decided to check it out. We sat at a table and immediately a cat jumped up and asked for our attention. We felt very special because he didn't do that at any other table. I'm sure most of the people there loved cats, but this one just seemed to pick us out. The cafe was called Le Chat Heureux (Happy cat). It was a fun experience.

Le Cat Heureux

Quebec City, Quebec

We took the Montmorency Falls & the Island of Orleans tour. A bus took us to the bottom of the falls and a cable car took us to the top. There was a manor house/hotel at the top that served us cake and coffee. We then walked to the top of the falls and back. The bus picked us up at the top. The falls were not as big as Niagara but were very impressive. We then went to an authentic sugar shack to learn all about the making of maple syrup. It was a small privately owned place and a very informative talk. I learned a lot I didn't know about maple products. From there we went across the only bridge to the Island of Orleans and to Mauvide-Genest Manor house built in 1734. Period costumed guides walked us through the daily life back then. The tour bus guide was very entertaining and informative about the history of Quebec and it was an enjoyable tour.

Charlottestown, Prince Edward Island

This was a tender port. We took a 4 hour bus tour - PEI Coast, Lighthouse & Cellar. We stopped at two lighthouses and were allowed inside. The "cellar" was a very small winery that made fruit wines and some blended whites and reds. There was a brief explanation of the process and a few tastes of their fruit wine. All in all it was a rather dull trip. Not worth the cost. And the fact they got us back to the ship late was irritating even though the ship had to wait for us. I would not recommend this tour. We did have a chance to walk around the town in the morning before the tour. It was filled with the usual gift shops and restaurants. We did eat at a great floating fast food restaurant just outside of the port building but I can't remember the name.

Sydney, Nova Scotia

We were signed up for a one hour Sydney Harbour Hopper (an amphibious boat) but it was cancelled due to bad storms and rough water. We just walked around the little harbor town and visited some of their many craft booths. It is a quiet town with some well preserved historical houses. It seems many of the people there earn (or supplement) their income selling their handmade crafts. We bought a painting of what it looks like with the fall colors.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Weather was better and we were able to take our pre-booked Halifax by Land & Sea tour - another amphibious boat. This was an independent tour, not from HAL. We toured the town by land and then the harbor by water. Our guide was a local archaeologist who shared the town's history and told us about many artifacts he uncovered.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Another tender port. Bar Harbor is a very expensive, quiet harbor town with many wealthy and well known residents. We took the Acadia National Park & Lobster Bake tour. We toured Acadia National Park but the colors of the trees were disappointing at this time of year. The summer had been too warm. We were supposed to visit Cadillac mountain - the first place on North America that gets the sun - but for some reason our bus did not go there. We did find that other tours did go up there. The lobster bake was good food but not very nicely presented. You had to go up and get your drinks at one area and then you went up and got your food in another line. They slapped on a half ear of corn, a couple of potatoes, some muscles and a whole lobster on your plate. Most of us didn’t know what to do with the lobster until one of the servers came around and took it apart. The guide and tour was a bit disappointing.

Boston, Massachusetts

The port is very close to the airport. It only took us about a 15 minutes by cab. And the cab was much cheaper than the transport by HAL.