Cruise to Canada & New England

September 17 to 26, 2009

(RCCL - Explorer: Cabin 2320 OV - H/C)


Port of Calls


Bayonne, NJ


At sea


Portland, ME


Bar Harbor, ME


Saint John, NB


Halifax, NS


At sea


Boston, MA


At sea


Bayonne, NJ




Sept 17th - Boarding the ship in Bayonne, NJ

Since we are on a B2B a member from Guest Relations met us, gave us our new Sea Pass, escorted of the ship to go through Immigration then back on the ship.  The process takes about 30 min.  Then we are free to roam and go to our cabins.

At noon, Windjammers opened and we were able to have lunch before the mad rush for the passengers boarding.

The Muster Drill was conducted at 4:15PM.  We did not need to bring our lifejackets.  The crew take our names and cabin # and show us how to put on our lifejackets.

After Muster Drill, we were meeting our Cruise Critics friends at the Sky Bar on Deck 12.  The weather was absolutely the best, as you will see in our photos.  It was fun meeting for the first time the people we have been talking with for quite some time.

Then we were off to our dinner, we have early sitting, and for this cruise, that means 5:30PM.  We are at a round table for 8.  The 3 others couples are all from Pennsylvania.

The entertainment: "Welcome Aboard Show" with the Dancer and comedian "Richie Minervini".

After the show, we went to Schooner Bar to listen to Steve Green, the Man of 1,000 songs.

Sept 18th - At Sea

The weather was absolutely perfect today, many people in the pool, it is warm, sunny, just great all around.

Royal Caribbean had our official Meet & Mingle for the Cruise Critic, where we get to meet our fellow CCers.  It was nice seeing people that we have been talking with for many months.  We all received a nice bag as a souvenir.  I also took some pictures of couples.  Kevin and Janice took group pictures.

The entertainment: "Wild, Cool & Swinging" production show.  We saw this show on our Bermuda cruise, but it was still nice to see again.

Sept 19th - Portland, ME

Arrived in Portland around 9AM, perfect weather with a few clouds, temperature was 20C/69F.

We ordered room service for breakfast, it is much easier when we have an early tour.

We took the "Kennebunkport and Scenic Cruise" which we saw beautiful views of Maine's famous rocky coastline as well we visited the charming coastal village of Kennebunkport.  This historic and charming coastal village of Kennebunkport gained worldwide exposure as the summer home of President George H. Bush where world leaders often gathered.  Located just 45 minutes from Portland, we enjoyed a scenic drive through Kennebunkport passing the stunning Federal and Victorian style mansions that were built by wealthy sea captains and merchants in the 1700s and 1800s.  We stopped in the center of town at the Dock Square to embark on a 50 minute scenic cruise to enjoy the panoramic views of Walker's Point and Maine's rugged rock coast as few people have experienced by sea.  Our Captain had a lobster trap a long side of the boat.  He caught a couple of lobster and we were able to see how it is done and they showed us the lobsters.  On our way back we saw, from afar, President and Barbara Bush walking down to their boat.  The secret service was all around them in a boat that would go with them along side.  Once we finished with the scenic cruise, we had some free time in Dock Square before returning to the ship.

The Entertainment was "David Morgan & Chucky", he is a comedian and not a ventriloquist.  He was really funny, great show.

Sept 20th - Bar Harbor, ME

Arrive in Bar Harbor at 7AM this morning.  The sky was perfect, very few clouds.  The temperature was around 19C/70F.

Again we ordered room service for breakfast.  Our tour today was "Best of Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island".  This is a tender port, so we were meeting on shore for our excursion.  This tour encompasses all of the highlights of Acadia National Park, the scenic areas of Mount Desert Island including Northeast Harbor, Somersville and Seal Harbor, with a lobster lunch included.  This is one of the most scenic drives on the east coast.  We drove along the 27-mile Park Loop Road offering spectacular coastal, mountain, and forest scenery.  We made a photo stop along the ocean's edge at the famous Thunder Hole (which was quiet today).  We continued to Northeast Harbor, where we passed the sandy beach and hidden cove of Seal Harbor, where Mount Desert Island's most famous residents enjoy their summer homes including Martha Stuart, the Rockefellers, and the Fords.  We went to Jordon Pond House where we could enjoy the view of the Penobscot Mountains and Bubbles Hill from the observation deck continuing to the summit of the 1530-foot Cadillac Mountain.  Here we stopped again to enjoy the sweeping vistas and natural beauty of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park

The Entertainment tonight was "Fast Forward" Production Show.  Since we just saw it, last week, we opted not to attend.

Sept 21st - Saint John, NB

Another gorgeous day here in Saint John.  Clear skies, temperature about 18C/68F.

We had a quick breakfast in our cabin as our tour started at 8:30AM.  Definitely too early...

Our tour today was "Accessible Saint John City Sights".  We were in an accessible mini-coach and we were 8 for this tour, which was nice, compared to the 40+ on regular buses.  Once everyone boarded we were off to view some of the prominent landmarks and historic buildings.  Our first stop was at Woolastook Park, which is a great place to survey the harbour.  Next stop was the famous Reversing Falls at Fallsview Park.  Our guide explained that twice daily the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy rise faster than the river can empty.  When this happens, the mighty tides push the river water upstream, causing the rapids to run in the opposite direction and the St. John River to flow backwards.  We did not see this as we were there at low tide.  We passed by Fort Howe, which sits atop a cliff and have fine views of the Harbour below.  Our next stop was the Old City Market then back to our ship.

There was a BBQ on deck today for lunch.The entertainment tonight was "Hal Frazier", Headline Showtime.

Sept 22nd - Halifax, NS

Another beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, temperature around 24C/72F.  We had breakfast in the Windjammer then got ready to go into port.  The Gangway was on Deck 4.  Pretty steep ramps but we made it.  Had coffee with Hélène from the Halifax Office, it was nice seeing her again.

Our tour today was "Titanic - The Continuing Mystique".  Our guide was wearing the Nova Scotia tartan skirt.  This is a very captivating journey of a great marine tragedy, the sinking of the Titanic.  It is a story that has fascinated many even after ninety six years.

While the Titanic lies approximately two miles below the surface of the North Atlantic it is possible to reach out and touch the Titanic story while in Halifax.  It was never intended that the Titanic and Halifax should meet.  However the two are now inseparable.  What the Titanic gave up on April 15, 1912, the City of Halifax now embraces.  Our first stop was the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic where they have a large selection of wooden artefacts from the Titanic. We then visited the 121 gravestones of Titanic victims in the city's Fairview Lawn Cemetery.  We also found out that there was a J. Dawson, but his first name was James and he worked in the sewage area of the ship.  We also saw the grave of the Unknown Child that they learnt later that his name was Gösta Palsson and the crew paid for a headstone.  They were able to identify him with a DNA sample.  His family decided to leave the name on the grave stone of Unknown Child to commemorate all the children that were lost.  We also passed by the sites of the aftermath of the sinking such as the morgue that accepted the body of John Jacob Astor, the church from which the unknown child was buried and the pier from which the MacKay-Bennett, the death ship, sailed to the sinking site of the Titanic 700 nautical miles east of Halifax.

The Entertainment was "Charles Peachock", a juggler and comedian.  Excellent show even if it was the second time we were seeing it.

Sept 23rd - At sea

Another beautiful day at sea, the temperature was about 24C/76F.  We ate breakfast in the dinning room.  It was a very relaxing day.

Today, there was also the "Captain's Corner" where you could ask questions, very interesting.

Entertainment tonight was "Invitation to Dance" production show choreographed by Louis Van Amstel from ABC's Dancing with the Stars.

Sept 24th - Boston, MA

Another fantastic weather today, there are a few clouds but nothing to worry about.  The temperature was 25C/75F.  Today we had to go through customs on the ship for all non-US citizens since our last port of call was Halifax.  Immigration decided that all US citizens did not have to go.  So we had to get up very early and our tour was only at 11:45PM.

Our tour today was "Historic Salem and Witch Museum".  The seaside city of Salem is well known for its infamous Witch Hunts three centuries ago and its special nautical heritage dating back to the China trade.  On this tour we visited the Salem Witch Museum where a dramatic presentation recounts the tragic events of the Witch Trials of 1692 and a narrated exhibit gives a first hand look into the mysterious life of Pagans, Wiccans, midwives and healers.  We passed by the Witch Memorial, and the Point Burying Ground where one of the "witch" judges is buried (an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne).  We next stopped at the Salem's picturesque Derby Wharf, dating back to the fable China Trade period after the Revolutions when Salem's Yankee Clipper ships sailed around the globe to Canton and the South Seas. Salem was the wealthiest city in the United States.  We also drove down Chestnut Street, considered by many to be the most beautiful residential streets in America.  The homes are of Federal Architecture and have a plaque with dates the homes were built and the original owner's name.

The entertainment was "Hard Days Night" a Beatles tribute.  This was the third time we saw this show and always great.  If you have a chance to see this show and are a Beatles fan, don't miss it.

Sept 25th - At Sea

Today, another nice day, temperature is 23C/74F.  Being at sea, it is a little breezy outside.

This was our last day, which means we have to pack (sniff! sniff!).  We have had a great cruise.

The Entertainment was "The Comedy Jimmy Carroll plus The Royal Caribbean Singers & Dancers"

Sept 26th - Bayonne, NJ

Another nice day.  Our debarkation was delayed about 2hrs, some computer problem, so we sat on Deck 5.  We had a shuttle voucher back to the hotel, it was with the Yellow Cab Company.  Once back at the hotel Country Inn & Suites, we loaded our van and were on our way home.  It takes 6.5hrs to drive home.  We had great weather all along.

About this cruise

We had 2,997 passengers from 29 countries.  The food was very good in the dinning room, in the Windjammer, surprisingly the food was hot and very good, that has improved.  The shows were excellent, worth seeing, great weather and seas. And of course, we met many wonderful passengers, including our Cruise Critic friends, our tablemates and at the shows.

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