back home

Canada and Colonial America Cruise - October 22 to November 6

We're going on our 24th cruise, called Canada and Colonial America.   This cruise has been on Patty's bucket list for a long time and we're finally going to accomplish it starting Tuesday, October 22, 2019.   Patty arranged all of the logistics for the trip, which is a huge undertaking in itself.  The trip has us flying from Tampa to Montreal on the first day, and then boarding the Caribbean Princess on Thursday.   (See the itinerary for details).  We spend a couple of days in Montreal visiting Mario and his boys before taking a train to Quebec City and boarding the ship.  The cruise takes 13 days to travel from Quebec City to Ft. Lauderdale before we drive back to Tampa on November 6.   I hope to keep a log of our travels and activities below, but due to the unknowns of internet connections at sea, I may not be able to update it very often.

Tuesday - October 22
We both got to the airport around 10:30, checked bags to Montreal, and proceeded to the airside. For unknown reasons, neither of us were TSA Precheck approved, so we had to go through the regular security line before refilling our water bottles. Then waiting. Our plane was late arriving. Finally found our comfort seats and settled in for the flight to New York’s LGA airport. Pushback was at 12:45, about 20 minutes late. Flight was uneventful. Luckily, the arrival and next flight were in the same terminal, so not much walking between planes, and due to Patty’s status with Delta, we received an upgrade to first class. Pushback was at 4:48, 18 minutes late. Arrival in Montreal was around 6:05, pretty close to schedule. We found our bags, waited a little for Mario to pick us up, and were at his house around 7:40. He had prepared a fine beef stew meal, after which we sat around the table for talk until late.

Wednesday - October 23
After sleeping in late, we had a visit with Stephane and Jill, an afternoon of conversation, and a trip to the market, before a fine steak dinner with Marc and Jenn and the boys. I finished the evening by listening to the Lightning game on the radio.

Thursday - October 24
Temperature this morning was 52 degrees as we left for the train around 10:15, because we had bags to check. The train was a little late arriving, and we departed Montreal around 12:20. I discovered that I could track our progress in the map apps on my phone; at one point, out in the country, the app showed the train moving at 95 miles per hour, although there is no way to tell how accurate that was. Arriving in Quebec City around 4:50, the weather was overcast and drizzly, looking like a cold winter day. We caught a cab for the 1.1-kilometer ride to the cruise port. The line for cabs took around 20 minutes, the cab ride took about the same, and the bag check, security and check-in at the cruise terminal took another 20 minutes, so we were in our cabin at around 5:50. We found our assigned table for two in the dining room, met our assistant waiter Querron, our waiter Exel, and our head waiter Peter during dinner. Patty had picked an excellent table for us. The show this evening was Scottish dancers and it was excellent. Crooners Bar was not so good.

Friday - October 25
We stayed in Quebec City overnight with a day to visit the city today, so it was not an early start. We did make it to the cafeteria for breakfast around 10:30 and got off the ship around 11:30. We had a map for a walking tour, but pretty much did not follow it because it seemed like a long distance to walk. We did find a tourist area with shops and restaurants at the base of a funicular. Quebec is a city built on a hill so there is a “lower” level near the port and an “upper” level where it seems most business is conducted. The funicular is a cable car from the lower level to the upper level, which we rode up to have a look around (see the video for more). We got back on the ship around 1:30, found some lunch, submitted to the muster drill, and watched as the docking lines were thrown off around 4:30. We moved out into the St. Lawrence River after a few minutes and were moving near 18 MPH after about 30 minutes. Dinner was at 7:15. We later met a couple from Houston and watched part of the baseball world series game with them in Churchill’s Bar.

Saturday - October 26
This was our first sea day so there was a lot of relaxing going on. Patty went to a Meet and Greet with a group of fellow passengers sponsored by Cruise Critic. She met some in the group that were on our Saint John, NB, excursion, which made that tour more enjoyable, already knowing some in the group. Later, I found the Buckeye football game on my laptop, which we watched. Later it was preparation for the first formal night, dinner, and the show, which we did not get to see because no seats were available.

Sunday - October 27
We’re in Sydney, Nova Scotia today with a tour booked to start at 1:30, so there was no rush to get going. The tour was on a bus from the cruise terminal through parts of Sydney and the country to the Alexander Graham Bell Historical Site and Museum. Bell is well known for inventing the telephone, but he was also quite an inventor of other things. The museum includes many of those things along with an extensive discussion of his family and their life in nearby Baddeck, where we stopped for a visit to the gift shops and surrounding area. We got back to the ship in time to clean up and get to dinner at 7:15.

Monday - October 28
Today we’re in Halifax, where it is pretty cold. We got to breakfast around 9:30, then to a shuttle bus which took us to the nearest HOHO stop. We were lucky that there was a bus waiting for us, which we boarded for a drive around the city. Our first “hop-off” was at the Maritime Museum, which we walked through. Back on the bus, our next hop-off was at the Citadel, an old fort. We arrived just in time to watch the changing of the guard and join a group for a discussion of life at the fort including a shooting demonstration, a walk through a powder magazine, and finally a climb up onto the ramparts for views of the city. With a little breeze up there, it felt even colder. After climbing back down, we had to wait some time for the next HOHO bus for the rest of the tour and back to port and the shuttle back to our ship. For future reference, the HOHO busses were rather small and cramped, and the ride was generally slow, and the stops seemed long. There were four ships in Halifax today, which may have added to the crowd. We did get back in time to attend the Captain’s Circle cocktail party at 6:00 and then dinner at 7:15.

Tuesday - October 29
Next up was a visit to Saint John, New Brunswick. Our tour today was a private one discovered by Patty through Cruise Critic, called Fundy Harbor Hidden Gems. The tour started with a visit to a park that looks over the Saint John River, which generally flows to the ocean. During the morning visit, the tide in the ocean was rising so the river was actually flowing in reverse – water was flowing into the river. We’ll visit again at the end of the tour. After a few minutes, we were off to St. Andrews, where we saw a huge blueberry field and an old RAF airbase, and then off to Beaver Harbor, where we met 85-year old Jimmy, who told us about life in the old days. We saw the boats in the local harbor before moving on to the lunch spot, a friendly local restaurant. On the way back to town, we stopped at a beach, which at high tide is covered with water, but was now dry because the tide was going down. We were able to walk on the beach, which our guide called the “Floor of the Atlantic Ocean.” Moving on, we stopped again at the same Saint John River overlook, which now had the river flowing out to the ocean. It was weird to see the water flowing in both directions on the same day (see the video for more). We made it back to the ship in time for dinner and the night’s activities.

Wednesday - October 30
We’re back in the USA this morning at Bar Harbor, Maine, so the US Immigration Service was onboard early to do the processing. We had no tour scheduled for today, so it was a leisure morning before lunch in the cafeteria and finding our way to the tender into town. Patty had a bit of a cold, so we found a Walgreens in town for some cold remedy before finding Agamont Park for some relaxing. We found a local bar for a beer and a wine before walking back to the tender dock for the ride back to the ship around mid-afternoon. Some reading finished the day. Just before dinner, the captain addressed all of us with news that the weather would be bad the day after tomorrow, so the decision was made to skip the stop in Newport, and that meant that we would not leave Boston until late tomorrow. Tonight, was game 7 of the world series, so after dinner we moved to Churchill’s bar to watch the game.

Thursday - October 31
We’re in Boston today with a scheduled 2-hour tour on the Old Town Trolley, and then tickets on the HOHO. After getting off the trolley, we walked to stop 5 to board the HOHO, which we rode around to stop 8, which is right in front of the Bull & Finch Bar, also known as Cheer’s. We had lunch there, before riding the HOHO back to the ship at mid-afternoon. With the extra time this afternoon, we watched the movie Rocketman, about the life of Elton John, before heading down to dinner.

Friday - November 1
This was the extra sea day we were told about a couple of days ago. After leaving the harbor at Boston around 6:00 AM, we headed south, then southwest, and finally westward. At his noon update, the captain said the seas were estimated at about 4 meters, or 12 to 13 feet, and it was rough all day. It was a good thing we didn’t try Newport today, because it is a tender port, and those little boats would have been bouncing around a lot. We had lunch in the dining room for a change today, which took longer but was a good experience. Reading our novels was the task for the day, which we did until time to get ready for dinner. For the evening entertainment, there was a production show with the singers and dancers, which was sold out last night, but we were able to get seats for tonight.

Saturday - November 2
The temperature reported this morning was 44F in Brooklyn, our port. That was a little chilly for us, but we made the meeting time for our tour at 8:30, which was a bus and boat tour around Manhattan Island. We rode the bus for a while getting to the Circle Line Pier 83 where we boarded one of their boats for a cruise down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty. Our guide sounded like a local as he was telling us about the sights on both sides of the river and some interesting things about the statue. We were back at Pier 83 around 11:00 and re-boarded our bus for a ride through midtown and downtown. Shortly after starting out, we experienced engine problems, and sat on the side of 5th Avenue at 57th Street for about 30 minutes until a replacement arrived. The rest of the bus tour went fine, and we returned to the ship mid-afternoon for lunch in the cafeteria. Back in our cabin, I was able to find the Florida vs Georgia football game to watch on my laptop before dinner and the show.

Sunday - November 3
Today we’re in Norfolk, VA for our last port call on this cruise. This is the largest Navy base in the country, so the Navy influence is all around. We arrived shortly before noon and we quickly disembarked and found the Nauticus Museum, which included a visit to the battleship Wisconsin moored next door. We were able to see some of the below-deck spaces where the sailors lived; it must have been quite crowded for all the guys on this boat as it fought during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. It was interesting to me to see all the old technology in use 75 years ago. After leaving the Wisconsin, we found our afternoon small boat tour of the harbor, which included a whole bunch of Navy ships, from submarines to aircraft carriers. After leaving the small boat tour, we walked to the Douglas MacArthur Memorial and Museum, which has one his old corn-cob pipes on display. We walked back to the ship in time for dinner and the show.

Monday - November 4
This is the first of two sea days to finish up the cruise. The weather warmed considerably, so it was a shorts and t-shirt day, except for the dining room lunch and the wine tasting in the middle of the afternoon. We also checked our shipboard accounts and did a lot of novel reading before our normal dinner and show.

Tuesday - November 5
Today is the second sea day and also packing day for our departure tomorrow. Lunch was again in the dining room, with a lot of reading as well. I was able to finish my book before packing. We were both able to fit everything in our luggage before watching the movie "Once Upon a Time In Hollywood", a strange movie, but it did star Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. It was a long movie, but we made the final dinner, and a visit to a couple of entertainment areas that we had not visited previously.

Wednesday - November 6
We awake early this morning in Ft. Lauderdale with disembarkation ahead. We left our cabin around 8:00 for breakfast, then to the elite lounge around 9:00, and lining up for walking off the ship around 9:30. We found our bags and queued up at the rideshare area about 10:00, and then got to the local airport and found our rental car and started home around 10:30. A little over 4 hours later we dropped the rental car at PIE. After a short Uber ride, we were home.

General Stuff
Patty made an excellent decision to pick this cruise. We got to visit relatives in Canada, see a lot of new places and see a lot of the country around those new places. Most of the excursions were Princess sponsored, but a couple were picked by Patty from local tour companies. These tours were excellent, taking us to places we couldn't get to on ship excursions. The weather was a little cool at the start, but we mostly missed the rain and it did warm up as we moved south. While we missed some of the fall color, there was still enough color to make it a wonderful cruise. My thanks to Patty for making most of the arrangements - it was excellent.

The Movie
The movie of the cruise is offered below. Click the arrow in the lower left to start it, and click the symbol with 4 arrows pointing outward to make it full screen. There is audio, so be sure your speakers are connected and turned on. Enjoy, and sent email to gsuther@gmail.com with your comments.