Cruise to Canada & New England

August 31 to Sept 8, 2013

(RCCL - Explorer: Cabin 6600 balcony - H/C)


Port of Calls


Bayonne, NJ


At sea


Boston, MA


Portland, ME


Bar Harbor, ME


Saint John, NB


Halifax, NS


At Sea


Bayonne, NJ


Final Thoughts




Aug 30th - our drive down to New Jersey

We had a great day for driving, sunny and dry.  There was light traffic but nothing to bother us.  Customs went smooth, being the beginning of the last long weekend of summer.  We are in a hotel (Best Western) in Ramsey, NJ.  We have about 45 minutes to drive to reach the port tomorrow to start our cruise and meet our friends.

Aug 31st - Boarding the ship in Bayonne, NJ

We left our hotel around 10:30am.  We have a good night at the hotel, so we have booked the same room for the next 3 times we come down this way.

According to our GPS we had about 45 minutes to the port, which is not too bad, but when you make a mistake, that cost us about 30 minutes.  There was a fair amount of traffic for a Saturday; I guess everyone was out and about.  When we saw the port in sight that was a relief.  The drive to the terminal can be long on boarding days.  For us it was about 20 minute to get to the unloading tent.  I let Norman off with our carry-ons and gave the porter our suitcase and a case of coke.  Then I proceeded to the parking.  Parking is $19/day and we are doing an 8 night cruise so our cost was $152.  This is the first time that we parked at the terminal.  We usually stay at a hotel that has a shuttle to the port, but that is getting harder for Norman as he can't climb stairs anymore.  For all future cruises we will be parking at the port.

It is a short walk back to the terminal to find Norman and our carry-ons.  We went right into the security with no problem; then a short line to register and get our sea passes.  In Bayonne, you must take a short bus ride to the ship.  It is handicap accessible so Norman just drives on.  Then on the ship, by this time our rooms were ready so proceeded to our room.  We found decorations on our door; Vicki and Bob had put it there to welcome us.  On this cruise we are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my 65th birthday.

We had the muster drill at 3:30pm, we don't have to wear our lifejackets but they do show us how to put them on, if needed.  We assemble at our station which is right under our lifeboat.

Sailaway was right after, so we invited Vicki and Bob to our cabin to watch NYC go by.  We could see the Statue of Liberty.  The NYC skyline was pretty foggy so my pictures show that.  Every time we cruise from here that is what I get.  You would think that I could have one time where it is sunny.

Vicki and Bob had invited us to Portofino's for dinner to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday as they were milestones.  Both events were back in June.  We all took the fillet mignon, that was very tender piece of meat, it almost melted in your mouth and the deserts are to die for...  We had a very nice time with our friends; it was a very nice way to celebrate.

While we were at dinner, we heard a medical emergency and later the captain told us that the emergency needed to be attended in a hospital, so we would turn back to the port where an ambulance was waiting for the sick person.  We then left and back towards our first destination which is Boston.  The captain said that we would arrive in Boston on time.  We do hope that the sick person is ok.

We were both so tired as we did not sleep well the night before, not because of the room, but I had health issues.

Sept 1st - At Sea

It is a beautiful day today, sunny and a warm breeze.  We were up early this morning as our Meet and Mingle was at 9:15AM.  We had room service, which is much easier when you have to be somewhere early.  We went to the M&M which is a group that I will meet from the Internet at  We chat months and sometimes over a year with the people that will be on our same cruise.  The cruise director and activity manager were there to greet us.  The event coordinator held a raffle for some prizes.  Vicki won $50 internet minutes, so she gave it to me as I could us it more than she could.  It was very nice of her and much appreciated.

We sometimes organize events for our group, this time we had a slot pull where we pool our money $15 each and we get 5 pulls.  We all split the proceeds, we each won $6.06 but we have fun doing it.  It is a chance to put faces to the screen names.  One of our group, Debbie, made door magnets for our cabin door, they were so nice.  I will use it on my next cruises for sure it is a nice way to find our cabin.

Destination Lecturer with Mark Rich talked about the History and famous Lighthouses of Portland looking into the 19th Century New England and the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  He then describes the setting and history of the Portland Head Lighthouse, built in 1787 by order of George Washington.

Tonight is Formal night.

Production Show: "Invitation to Dance" which was choreographed by Louis Van Amstel from ABC's Dancing with the Stars which we watch all the time.  We saw this show on our 2009 cruise, good dancing show.

Sept 2nd - Boston, MA

Today I had a tour, so we ate in our room again.  It apparently rained early this morning but we have not seen any so far.  The ski is overcast but no rain.  The temperature today was 28C/82F.  We had breakfast in our room again.

I did an excursion from the ship called Old Town Trolley which is a regular trolley bus that takes us around the city of Boston.  The driver comments on what we are seeing and the tour last 1.5 hours and we are dropped of at the Quincy Market.  Quincy Market is 4 blocks long with all kinds of shopping.  I walked around a little then took the Trolley shuttle that was provided for us, back to the ship.  What was nice about this type of vehicle was that there where no windows so easier to take photos.  I really like Boston, it is a nice city, and if we come back I will do another tour, for sure.

Once back on the ship, I met up with Norman and we had lunch in the Windjammer.

Tonight is casual dress.

Every night we have a Diamond cocktail.  Even though Vicki and Bob are Diamond Plus, they come and join us for a couple of glasses of wine.

Headline Show Time: The Comedy of Steve Smith - He is a very clean comedian; he entertained us for 60 minutes with no profanity.  I never laughed so much.  Great Show...

Battle of the sexes: is a game where the audience is divided between sexes.  Some of the show is like Family Feud where the moderator, Katrina, asked a question and they have to guess the 5 most popular answers.  In between the Family Feud part, members of the audience do some sort of game to see witch side will win, tonight it was the men that won after 6 consecutive weeks the woman had won.


Sept 3rd - Portland, ME

Our day started very overcast, we thought that we would have rain but we didn't. The temperature was 24C/75F, just a perfect day.  In the afternoon the sun even came out.  Since we were doing a tour on our own, we had breakfast in our cabin.

I met Vicki and Bob at 10AM to start our day, our object was to visit the VICTORIA MANSION.  Bob and I took a pedi-cab to the Victoria Mansion; they charged $20 to get there.  It is all uphill so it was the best way for us to do it.  Vicki was on her scooter so she followed us.

We walked back to the ship but stopped on the Lakeshore for lunch. 

We had dinner at Dimillios which is a boat converted into a restaurant.  Very nice.  I had clam chowder that was so think and very tasty.  

When we got back we went back to our respective cabins to relax from our long walk.  We met up with Vicki and Bob at the Diamond lounge for a couple of glasses of wine and some nice chit chat.

Tonight is casual dress.

Production Showtime:  "Wild Cool & Swinging" this show is based on shows from Las Vegas to New York.   We found the signers a little off tonight.

Sept 4th - Bar Harbour, ME

Today is a tender port, so we are staying on the ship.  We slept in as I had another bad night.  We missed breakfast.

Vicki called and we met for lunch in the Windjammer.  After we went to the Solarium to do some Internet as on this ship the wi-fi is in hot spots.  It is slow today I guess lots are using it at the same time so I will give it a break.

We are anchored outside of Bar Harbour and we have the huge tender that take the guests into town.  They tell us to expect a delay of 45 minutes to get to town.  We are having beautiful sunshine today, no clouds and temperatures of 22C/72F but I think it got higher than that.

Tonight is casual dress.

Headliner Show: John Joseph & Johnny B - Music & Comedy

70's Disco Street Party in the Royal Promenade which we did not attend.

Sept 5th - Saint Johns, NB

Today is much cooler than we have had the temperatures for today are 14C/58F.  We slept in this morning as we were going off the ship and looking around the shopping area.  We had lunch in the Café Promenade.  We left the ship to do some shopping and it was drizzling out. There were lots of interesting shops to look at.

We did some Internet as they had free Wi-Fi in the terminal.  Lots of the crew take advantage of this and so did we.

We sail at 4PM today as we have to be out of here before the tide goes out.  It is a very short day in port.

We have an Exclusive Top Tier Event tonight that is being held in Studio B (that is where the ice skating rink is found).  They give out prizes for the top tiers but we don't qualify for any.  So the next time we go to that event, we will qualify until then we will skip it.

Tonight is formal.  At dinner our Head Waiter had a bottle of Champagne for us as a treat as I have had a few problems with my meals.

Production Show: "Fast Forward" from Dirty Dancing to Footloose and from Flashdance to Saturday Night Fever.  This is a very energetic show, dancers and singers changing costumes for every performance non-stop.

The Love and Marriage Game Show which is always a very entertaining show.  It was right after the Production show.

Sept 6th - Halifax, NS

We arrived in Halifax ahead of schedule.  It is a bright sunny day today with temperature of 16C/60F.  We met Vicki and Bob around noon at the Café Promenade to start our day.  We walked out to the boardwalk and walk awhile.  They have done a very nice job of sprucing up the port with a nice boardwalk, shops, and flowers.  We can see the lighthouse and marina.  Just a very nice walk.  It became warmer in the sun, I am sure we reached 19C/70F.  At the terminal itself, there is a very nice shopping area, I always like looking at all the unusual things that they have.

To get off and get on the ramp is very steep.  Norman had help going off and we asked again for help pushing him up the steep ramps.  A security guard pushed him up and passed everyone in the line.  We made it without any trouble.

We will be meeting Vicki and Bob at the Diamond event for cocktails before dinner.

Tonight is Casual.  Our head waiter, Ozcan, gave us a special for surf and turf, we got fillet mignon (which is sold for $14.95) complementary for the four of us with a lobster tail.  The fillet was so so tender and cooked to perfection.  We had a few problems with our meals at the beginning of the cruise, so he wanted to end our cruise on a high note, mission accomplished.

Headliner Show Time: the incredible sounds of motown by the Spectrum Quartet live.  They were a great group of 4 singers doing all the most famous motown songs with their coordinated moves dressed in black tuxedo.  It was one of the best shows of the cruise.

Quest Adult Game Show was in Studio B this is always an interesting game where the audience is divided into groups and then the cruise director John sends each team leader for a quest, which can be very funny.

Sept 7th - At Sea

The temperature today is 16C/63F.  We slept in today we met Vicki and Bob in the dining room at noon.  While we were waiting for lunch, I did all my packing so my suitcase was ready to go outside tonight.  We will get our hour back tonight that we lost when we hit Atlantic Canada.

For the ice show, your time is determined by your muster station so ours was at 1:30PM we were scheduled for the ice show Spirit of the Seasons.  This is always a very nice show, amazing how they can do what they do on a ship. We had seen it before but that was 4 years ago, so some of it seemed new to me.

We have our diamond event every night at 4:30PM.  We all met up there before our dinner.

Tonight's show: Farewell Variety Show which featured the singers and John, our cruise director who has a great singing voice.  The motown group Spectrum also gave us some more of their songs.  For a farewell show, we really enjoyed it.

Sept 8th - Bayonne, NJ

Today was disembarking day.  We got up at 8AM, took our time to get ready and we were to meet in the Palace Theatre.  When we got there, our number was called and we left, took the short ride to the terminal where Vicki and Bob were waiting for us.  We got a porter and he brought all our luggage to both our vehicles as we were both parked in the handicap parking.  We left there at 10AM and got home at 5:30PM after a 30 minute wait at the border.  The drive home was good, not too much traffic.

Final Thoughts

This has been the smoothes cruise, we did not feel the ship moving, we have to look outside to see the seas go by.

Our food in the dining room has been just so-so except for Friday when the Head Waiter arranged the filet mignon for the four of us.  That was great.  The night before, he gave us a bottle of champagne to make up for some of our problems with dinner.  They did try hard to please us.  Our waiter, most nights, would show up some napkin folding which Norman enjoyed.

Our cabin was great and all that we asked for was done.

We love this cruise, the ports, so we decided to book it again for next year on September 11th, 2014.

Until next time...


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