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So we want to cruise the East Coast


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Well it is nice to have a Canadian Board.

We are starting to look at itineraries for The East Coast of Canada. There was one with Royal Caribbean that seemed perfect, it started and ended in Canada and the foreign port was in France. Unfortunately that cruise season was cancelled and I think the ship involved is on a scrap beach now.

We are looking for input from others who have cruised the east coast. Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

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On 4/21/2021 at 11:48 AM, Blackduck59 said:

Well it is nice to have a Canadian Board.

We are starting to look at itineraries for The East Coast of Canada. There was one with Royal Caribbean that seemed perfect, it started and ended in Canada and the foreign port was in France. Unfortunately that cruise season was cancelled and I think the ship involved is on a scrap beach now.

We are looking for input from others who have cruised the east coast. Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Do it Lyle. We did it in Sept and Oct 2015 on Aurora from Southampton. First stop was NY for couple of days, then Boston couple of days then up into Canada, not in order but Halifax, St.Johns, Sydney, Quebec city couple of days, couple of other places, Ann of green gables place.Then back to Southampton, 24 days. Great trip.

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We've done two cruises through the Maritimes and US NE. Visited Quebec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Portland, Bar Harbor and Boston. We booked a walking tour in QC at the tourism office the day we arrived. They had lots of availability. Very informative. The ships dock at or near the old city which makes walking on your own easy as well.

Been to Sydney twice on a cruise and rented a car both times. First trip we drove to Cape Breton and was able to cover about half of the east coast of the island. Great vistas and stopped for a lobster lunch as well. The second time we drove to Louisbourg fort. The ship tours go as well but was less expensive to drive on our own and have the flexibility to stay as long as we wanted and have lunch in town. The rental companies will pick you up at the terminal and then take you back. 

Charlottetown is easy to walk around as well. First time we rented a car at Avis near the terminal and drove around the island for a few hours. It's beautiful with some great golf courses but not a lot to visit in a short time. Second time we visited the museum that has a great history of Canadian confederation. The area near the port has lots of shops and restaurants.

Halifax has the Citadel, the immigration museum(right by the port) and a nice boardwalk that goes for a couple of kms. Lots of restaurants and beautiful on a sunny day. We've been to Peggy's Cove before so didn't go on either cruise visit.

Portland, Maine was very enjoyable. We took the mailboat ferry. You catch it in the building next to the cruise terminal and it leaves around 10am. It stops at about 5 or 6 islands, delivering mail and other parcels. It's also used by some of the residents of those islands to commute. We were able to disembark at a couple of the islands for 30 minutes or so to shop, grab a coffee or beer. Portland is well known for their craft beers.

Bar Harbor has a State Park you can visit. We rented a car to visit the park. It's an easy town to walk around as well. The bus system looked pretty good but we didn't use it on either visit.

No advice on Boston since you can that info from numerous sites. If you have any specific questions, I can try and help.

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Thanks for the reply. At this point in time there is a one way itinerary starting in New York and ending in Quebec city. So far that is the most interesting option, we can carry on to Montreal and Ottawa from there, maybe by train.

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Quebec City is awesome and the people are super friendly and speak in English!  We went in October and encountered some storms, so we missed PEI and Bar Harbour.  Halifax was very special to me as that is where my family first stood on Canadian soil.  I thought the Immigration exhibition was very well done.  The one way sounds great.  How long is the cruise?

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We like the itinerary it is 10 days New York to Quebec City with stops in Newport, Boston, St John, Halifax, Sydney, and Charlottetown. The hope is for the "Fall Foliage" and my wife's Birthday is in early October and it would be good to celebrate that on the cruise. This seems to be the best itinerary still available, the Royal Caribbean itinerary was really good it included The Saguenay and Newfoundland. We liked that it was all in Canada with the foreign port being in France.

We haven't  cruised with Princess yet but have friends who really enjoy that line.

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I have cruised the east coast from Boston to Montreal on Holland America - will not happen in 2021 due to Covid

There are ships that do only Canada, but cannot remember the name of the line..

 

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On 4/20/2021 at 9:48 PM, Blackduck59 said:

Well it is nice to have a Canadian Board.

We are starting to look at itineraries for The East Coast of Canada. There was one with Royal Caribbean that seemed perfect, it started and ended in Canada and the foreign port was in France. Unfortunately that cruise season was cancelled and I think the ship involved is on a scrap beach now.

We are looking for input from others who have cruised the east coast. Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

We did one a few years back with Holland America.  It started in New York City and ended with an overnight in Quebec City.  We stopped at different ports in the US on the way up and then hit PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada before going on to Quebec City.  As on all fall cruises, everyone is hoping to see the beautiful fall colouring but you cannot be guaranteed that the colour show won't be early or late.  It was a wonderful cruise overall and we would do it again if the opportunity came up.  With ships not being able to cross the border between Canada and the U.S. this year, I would think that you would be looking at fall of 2022.

 

Barb

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Thanks Barb, actually it will not be 2022, we are down under (if they will let us in) for 5 weeks in January so that is the end of our vacation time for 2022. Probably 2023, and the hope is still to have my wife's birthday during the cruise. My wife's brother lives in Louisburg so we hope to at least spend a few hours with him so the itinerary has to include Sydney. We will have to keep an eye on the new itineraries as they are released.

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On 4/26/2021 at 8:42 PM, Blackduck59 said:

Thanks Barb, actually it will not be 2022, we are down under (if they will let us in) for 5 weeks in January so that is the end of our vacation time for 2022. Probably 2023, and the hope is still to have my wife's birthday during the cruise. My wife's brother lives in Louisburg so we hope to at least spend a few hours with him so the itinerary has to include Sydney. We will have to keep an eye on the new itineraries as they are released.

Then you will certainly have something to look forward to in the years ahead.  Our HAL cruise did stop in Sydney and it doesn't look like Louisburg is too far from that port.  Enjoy all of your cruises!

 

Barb

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  • 2 weeks later...

Living in the greater Montreal area, I was looking for a cruise living from home.

 

Although many cruise lines offer interesting itineraries in the fall because of the foliage, I knew that the fall on the St-Lawrence could be quite cold, which did not quite meet our needs.

 

Besides, pandemic set aside, cities like Montreal, Quebec and in the maritimes are more vibrant in the summer because of all the festivals.

 

So we chose the only line then offering a summer cruise out of Montreal: HAL. Our itinerary, Montreal, Quebec, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor and Boston.

 

In Quebec, the ship docked in the old port. So, within walking distance were all the boutiques, restaurants, Château Frontenac, Assemblée Nationale, Musée de la civilisation etc. So we did not use any excursions and really enjoyed our visit. Québec city is one of my favorite cities in Canada.

 

In Charlottetown, we did something similar. We walked to a fairly large shopping center, then enjoyed a leisurely lobster sandwich lunch, at a restaurant with tables on the wharf.

 

In Sydney, on July 1, some of the shops in town were closed. So we went on a sailing excursion on the Bras d’Or Lake. Really enjoyed it as well as the little town where the Sailing yacht was moored.

 

In Halifax, we did the Peggy’s Cove excursion. Our guide was phenomenal and really made our day. She even showed us how to distinguish a female from a male lobster.

 

In Bar Harbour, unfortunately the excursion to the National Park was full, so we just walked in town, boutiques, stores and even discovered a fabulous olive oil store. We ate lunch in town and made it a day, and a nice day it was.

 

Arriving in Boston on July 4th was also an interesting experience. However, we only did a bus tour of the city prior to fly home.

 

For us, this cruise was really calm and relaxing, because we knew quite a few of the areas and did not feel stressed or compelled to take any excursions. We met really nice people in every port! 

 

Of note, the St-Lawrence River, Gulf and Estuary, can be cold and windy in early spring and fall, which may impact the size of the waves at sea.

 

For your consideration.

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On 4/24/2021 at 11:31 AM, nanwel said:

I have cruised the east coast from Boston to Montreal on Holland America - will not happen in 2021 due to Covid

There are ships that do only Canada, but cannot remember the name of the line..

 

I'd be interested in knowing which line does only Canada if you can remember. 

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57 minutes ago, kmerlin14 said:

I'd be interested in knowing which line does only Canada if you can remember. 

 

It was a Royal Caribbean cruise, I can't remember the ship but I think it has since ended up on a scrapping beach. The foreign port was St. Pierre and Miquelon (French territory). I don't think that itinerary is available anymore. It included Saguenay and Newfoundland and not much in "Maritimes". We liked that itinerary but of course I think it has been withdrawn.

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17 hours ago, Blackduck59 said:

 

It was a Royal Caribbean cruise, I can't remember the ship but I think it has since ended up on a scrapping beach. The foreign port was St. Pierre and Miquelon (French territory). I don't think that itinerary is available anymore. It included Saguenay and Newfoundland and not much in "Maritimes". We liked that itinerary but of course I think it has been withdrawn.

too bad because it sounded great. I can drive most places in the Maritimes so I'd be more interested in the ports it did go to. Right now I'm still too nervous to go to a US port to board.

 

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I saw a one way Montreal to New York in Princess that included a stop in Cornerbrook. I liked the itinerary but would prefer to start in New York and end in Canada and we could add some other places after the cruise. I would like to see Ottawa maybe by train from Montreal. Any cruise involving Canada is not going to happen until March 2022.

I would be more concerned about the regular perils of New York city than Covid a year from now. I have my first dose of Pfizer and I guess the second dose will come in due time so the Vaccine should take care of Covid. I'm afraid it will be useless against a myriad of other perils.

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Well 2 itineraries look pretty good. There is an 11 day out of Boston on way ending in Quebec City and this one includes a stop in Cornerbrook. this is with HAL in Nieuw Statendam. The other is 10 days out of New York no stop in Newfoundland this is in Caribbean Princess. I have never sailed on either of these lines.

This is rather a conundrum, I would like to see New York but I miss out on the Rock and there are some interesting places in Boston as well.

The HAL price is quite a bit more money. Any helpful thoughts?

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Well my mind is jumping here and there. It has become increasingly obvious that our down under adventure will be cancelled again so the shift will be to stay closer to home, if you can call the East coast of Canada close to the Wet Coast (not a typo). We could fly into New York and see the things that interest me there and then take the train to Boston for  couple of days and then board the cruise Which ends in Quebec City and spend a couple days then take the train to Montreal and Ottawa then fly home. This could work out really well.

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I think your last idea is a good one.  You could spend a week in NYC without half trying.  We absolutely loved Quebec City but maybe I've said that before.  Our cruise was on Celebrity Summit round trip out of Bayonne which I know you don't want to do.

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So we are starting to look at this in earnest now, I emailed our TA about pricing for the cruise. Then I can shift my "planning" focus to something that may actually happen as it looks like New Zealand and Australia will have the NO VISITORS sign out for some time to come.

Thanks for the encouragement TeaBag but I don't think I am up for a week in New York, I'm a small town kinda guy living on an Island. There are a few places I would like to see of course they are the standard "tourist" places...Empire State building, Chrysler building, Ground Zero and Katz's deli and maybe someone like @BRANDEE who is the only New Yorker I have regular contact with may give some local knowledge. I'm also wondering if @Fouremco may have some helpful thoughts on the Maritimes.

Also the front runner for the cruise is HAL in Nieuw Statendam. The big reason is that the HAL itinerary has a stop in Cornerbrook, Baie-Comeau, and Saguenay. The Princess cruise has Newport, Bar Harbour and Sydney (which is where my brother in law lives). So we have the more interesting itinerary or the one which would let my wife have a few hours with her brother who she hasn't seen for many years. Both cruises stop in Halifax.

Thanks again for any help.

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10 hours ago, Blackduck59 said:

So we are starting to look at this in earnest now, I emailed our TA about pricing for the cruise. Then I can shift my "planning" focus to something that may actually happen as it looks like New Zealand and Australia will have the NO VISITORS sign out for some time to come.

Thanks for the encouragement TeaBag but I don't think I am up for a week in New York, I'm a small town kinda guy living on an Island. There are a few places I would like to see of course they are the standard "tourist" places...Empire State building, Chrysler building, Ground Zero and Katz's deli and maybe someone like @BRANDEE who is the only New Yorker I have regular contact with may give some local knowledge. I'm also wondering if @Fouremco may have some helpful thoughts on the Maritimes.

Also the front runner for the cruise is HAL in Nieuw Statendam. The big reason is that the HAL itinerary has a stop in Cornerbrook, Baie-Comeau, and Saguenay. The Princess cruise has Newport, Bar Harbour and Sydney (which is where my brother in law lives). So we have the more interesting itinerary or the one which would let my wife have a few hours with her brother who she hasn't seen for many years. Both cruises stop in Halifax.

Thanks again for any help.

Have fun planning,  Currently in Montana on our three week road trip  Having a wonderful time but wifi is hard to find where we are travelling.  Either cruise sounds great.  The east coast of US and Canada is beautiful.  Later.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Blackduck59 said:

So we are starting to look at this in earnest now, I emailed our TA about pricing for the cruise. Then I can shift my "planning" focus to something that may actually happen as it looks like New Zealand and Australia will have the NO VISITORS sign out for some time to come.

Thanks for the encouragement TeaBag but I don't think I am up for a week in New York, I'm a small town kinda guy living on an Island. There are a few places I would like to see of course they are the standard "tourist" places...Empire State building, Chrysler building, Ground Zero and Katz's deli and maybe someone like @BRANDEE who is the only New Yorker I have regular contact with may give some local knowledge. I'm also wondering if @Fouremco may have some helpful thoughts on the Maritimes.

Also the front runner for the cruise is HAL in Nieuw Statendam. The big reason is that the HAL itinerary has a stop in Cornerbrook, Baie-Comeau, and Saguenay. The Princess cruise has Newport, Bar Harbour and Sydney (which is where my brother in law lives). So we have the more interesting itinerary or the one which would let my wife have a few hours with her brother who she hasn't seen for many years. Both cruises stop in Halifax.

Thanks again for any help.

I'd be happy to share a few thoughts.

 

First of all, the Nieuw Stantendam is a great choice. Our final pre-pandemic cruise was the 14-night Voyage of the Midnight Sun aboard the Nieuw Statendam, enjoying both the ship and the splendours of Norway. We've also sailed very happily on her sister ship, the Koningsdam.

 

The Nieuw Statendam offers two similar Newfoundland & New England Discovery cruises, the 11-night version that you are considering and a 10-night version that would be my recommendation. Both offer the same number of ports, but the longer one has an added sea day because of the route taken. Also, the 11-night starts in Boston and ends in Quebec, whereas the 10-night runs Quebec to Boston. 

 

Comparing ports, I love Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, and have spent many days there on land holidays as well as on a cruise. I've not visited Portland, but you can't go wrong with Bar Harbor.

 

Saint John (11-N) versus St. John's (10-N). Absolutely no comparison IMO, St. John's winning hands down. I've spent quite a bit of time in both cities and surrounding areas, and there's no question which I would return to. Whether you decide to walk around the city, rent a car and explore, or take a shore excursion, you'll love a day spent there. There are some worthwhile places to visit in or near Saint John as well, but many of the better known attractions, such as the Reversing Falls, are tide-dependent.

 

Charlottetown (11-N) versus St. Anthony (10-N). Again, we've spent time in both, including 4 days in St. Anthony on our last land holiday in Newfoundland. The big attraction there is the historic Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, about a 35 minute drive from St. Anthony. Rent a car, it's an easy drive with lots of interesting detours on your way back. Charlottetown is a lovely old town, but the last time that we visited on a cruise we rented a car and toured the Points East Coastal Drive. PEI has lots to offer for DIY drives, many easily completed within your time ashore.

 

Saguenay (11-N) versus Havre-Saint-Pierre (10-N). I've not visited either one yet, but from my past research, Saguenay seems to be the better choice. Score one for the 11-N.

 

So there you have it, my scoreboard definitely favours the 10-N cruise. But that is based on things that we enjoy doing, and your tastes may be very different.  Also, both Bar Harbor and St. Anthony are tender ports, something that is of no concern to us but might be for others.

 

While your preference is to start in the US and finish in Canada to accommodate additional holiday plans, you could probably reverse them if you find the 10-N appealing

 

Finally, while we would opt for the 10-N, we would still enjoy the 11-N and would book it without hesitation if the other wasn't available.

 

Edited to add that, if you have trouble deciding between the two, go for a B2B!

Edited by Fouremco
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2 hours ago, Fouremco said:

 

 

Saguenay (11-N) versus Havre-Saint-Pierre (10-N). I've not visited either one yet, but from my past research, Saguenay seems to be the better choice. Score one for the 11-N.

 

I agree with Fouremco’s comments on all the ports.

 

Regarding the nuance between Saguenay and Havre St-Pierre, I would like to add a few details:

 

Havre St-Pierre is a smaller town than Saguenay, and it’s located on the edge of the Gulf of St-Lawrence, where the Gulf is wide enough to look like an ocean. If I’not mistaken. Havre St-Pierre will offer beaches (very cold water 4C year long. The St-Lawrence is quite deep in that area, which makes it interesting for whales and other mammals.

 

Saguenay is in the heart of French Quebec. It’s a mid size town. To navigate on the Saguenay river between the St-Lawrence to the town of Saguenay, will give you almost a small taste of Norway due to the Saguenay Fjord.

 

Furthermore, once in Saguenay, you’re really close to Lac St-Jean. (about 75 km) which is a huge circular lake, in the shape of a crater. There you will be at the heart of a small pocket of French Canadian Culture referred to as Les Bleuets). [Blueberries). The nickname comes from the delicious wild blueberries available in the area. The spoke French of the population will differ from the French used in Quebec and Montreal. You can see in that area a ghost village called Val Jalbert and if things have not changed too too much, the town of Dolbeau used to be famous for a western fetival.

 

In conclusion, Havre St-Pierre is a small town on the edge of the ocean, while Saguenay thanks to its fjord, will give you the impression to be in land.

 

Good luck in choosing your cruise and enjoy! 

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On 5/12/2021 at 9:01 PM, Blackduck59 said:

 

It was a Royal Caribbean cruise, I can't remember the ship but I think it has since ended up on a scrapping beach. The foreign port was St. Pierre and Miquelon (French territory). I don't think that itinerary is available anymore. It included Saguenay and Newfoundland and not much in "Maritimes". We liked that itinerary but of course I think it has been withdrawn.

 

A few months before the pandemic I had lunch with some cousins that had booked a Canada itinerary on Grandeur July/August 2020, if I recall correctly. Of course the cruise never happened.

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1 hour ago, broberts said:

 

A few months before the pandemic I had lunch with some cousins that had booked a Canada itinerary on Grandeur July/August 2020, if I recall correctly. Of course the cruise never happened.

 

That sounds like the cruise. It had no US Stops, included Saguenay and 2 stops in Newfoundland as well as the usual suspects in the Maritimes. We liked the no US stop for reasons best not mentioned here and seem to be drifting into the past quickly.

Right now we are trying to sort out a new itinerary and the smoking policies are making the choice difficult. Holland America had the itinerary we like but the smoking policy in the casino of Nieuw Statendam makes that a difficult choice; especially when you have to walk through the wide open casino to get to the theatre. Princess has an itinerary which is okay but I haven't figured out if there would be an issue with smoking in the casino. Celebrity is the obvious choice for non smokers but all their itineraries a return out of Boston and we want 1 way. We just have to figure out which compromise works for us.

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As non-smokers who stopped booking with HAL for a period of time until they finally banned smoking on cabin balconies, we understand your concerns. But for our full 14-night cruise on the NS, we experienced no issues. First of all, the NS is one of the fleet ships that allows smoking in the casino but only on designated nights. I don't remember the number of smoking versus non-smoking nights, and I don't know if there is a consistent ratio, but we never experienced any smoke.  

 

Secondly, as the World Stage is at the very bow of the ship, you have a couple of options to avoid the casino altogether. First, you can make your way to the Plaza Deck using any elevator bank or stairwell and then walk forward to the lower entrance to the theatre. You can then sit at the lower level or walk up to higher seating. Your second choice of approach it to walk forward on any deck other than the Plaza Deck, on which the casino is located, and take the forwardmost elevators/stairs to the Promenade Deck. You are now forward of the casino and can enter the World Stage at the upper level without a need to walk through it. As there is an entrance to the casino near the elevators, on a smoking night you may get a sniff of smoke for the few seconds before reaching the theatre. Immediately following the performance, this might be a bit more of a problem as people wait for the elevators, one of the reasons why we usually entered from the Plaza Deck.

 

While I would much prefer to see all of HAL's casinos entirely smoke free, if not their entire fleet of ships, I would never pass on sailing on the Nieuw Statendam because of the current approach as it's so easy to avoid the casino. 

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