Cruise to Canada & New England

Sept 11 to 20, 2014

(RCCL - Explorer: Cabin 2320 Oceanview - 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


Final Thoughts




Sep 10th - our drive down to New Jersey

We had a great drive, sunny all the way, not much traffic, easy boarder crossing.  We arrived at our hotel in Ramsey, NJ around 3PM.

Sep 11th - Boarding the ship in Bayonne, NJ

We left the hotel at 9:45AM after having a nice breakfast at the hotel.  Our drive to Bayonne was about 45 minutes.  When we got to the port the traffic was moving and we got slowed down near the tent as some people were still getting of the ship.  I unloaded our luggage and Norman with our carry-on before I went to park.  I only had 3 cars ahead of me to pay.  I parked and walked back to the tent where Norman was waiting for me.  Once I reached Norman, I saw Bob and Vicki pull up to the tent to disembark their luggage.  It was nice to see them again after a year.

We went through the boarding process which did not take much time as we are sent directly to the handicap line.  We had 3 in front of us.  Just enough time to fill out our Canadian Customs papers.  That was the first time that we have ever filled the customs papers even before we left the dock.  We then headed for our short trip by bus to the ship.  Once on board, we headed up to the Windjammer's for some lunch and Vicki and Bob joined us later.  At 1:30PM our rooms were ready so we could go and drop off our carry-ons.

Muster drill was at 3:30PM and was compulsory for everyone but no life jackets are required for the drill.  We registered and then waited for the process to begin.  Once all done, we were scheduled for our Cruise Critic Sailaway at the Sky Bar at 4PM.  No one showed up from Cruise Critic, so the 4 of us had a Bahamas Mama (courtesy of Vicki) to toast our Sailaway.  We stayed there until we passed under the bridge, took photos then went to the Diamond, Diamond+ and Pinnacle which was at Cloud Nine Bar Deck 14 AFT.  It is a tiny space and no place left to sit, so we just went to the Viking Lounge just outside of Cloud Nine.  We get 3 free drinks per day that is on our Seapass.  These drinks can be consumed at many bars around the ship except for eating places.  In the Diamond Lounge you can have as many drinks as you want between 4:30 and 8PM and that goes for the other bars also for the 3 free drinks on your Seapass.

Vicki and Bob had reserve dinner at Portofino (Specialty Restaurant) for 6PM which cost $25pp but since they are Diamond+, they each get buy on and get one free so they shared that with us.  We had a wonderful dinner.

The only Show for tonight was Welcome on Board Show at the Palace Theatre.  The show was the Comedy of Kelly McDonald.  We missed the show but I was told that he was not very good.

We were in bed by 9PM.  It is a very hectic day when boarding, so we were both tired.

Sept 12th - At Sea

Today we were up early, as we had our Cruise Critic gathering at 9:15AM at the Maharajas Lounge.  We ordered breakfast in our room.  It is sunny with temperatures 24C/75F and calm seas.

We arrived at the Cruise Critic gathering, about 50+ were already there.  Not much mingling, the moderator (from the activity group) pulled some raffle tickets for gifts and then that was it.

The Slot Pull was being held at 11AM in the Casino, but we decided not to join in.  There were 20 people who participated but they did not win.

We had lunch at the Windjammer and relaxed for the rest of the day after all that is what sea days are for.

Tonight is our first formal night.  The menu choices were very good tonight.

The Captain's has his Welcome Aboard Reception which is held in the Royal Promenade at 7:40PM but we did not go, it is always like a zoo.  Instead we listen to a band playing 40s music, very enjoyable.

The Show tonight is one of the Production Shows: "Wild, Cool & Swingin" Broadway type show from Las Vegas to New York with the Royal Caribbean Singers & Dancers.  The show was good, not exceptional.  Some of the sets we have seen last year but we think that some of the numbers where changed.

Sept 13th - Portland, ME

It was sunny with some clouds.  It was about 62F/15C and we had room service for breakfast.

We met Vicki and Bob outside the ship at 8:45AM to walk (Bob and I took the Pedicab both ways and Vicki and Norman scooted) to meet our ferry that does the mail run around the islands (which included Little Diamond, Long Island, Great Chebeague, Cliff) where we dropped of people and merchandize.  They also picked up merchandize that was going back to Portland.  The scenery was very nice, took lots of photos.  The whole trip was 3hrs return.  The costs for seniors was $14.50 each return trip.

On our return from the ferry we walked over to Dimilio's which was another couple of blocks further down on Commercial St.  We all had some clam chowder or fish stew soup it was delicious.  On our way back to the ship I was able to get another Pedicab which was great.

Tonight's show was A Salute to the Temptations which was very good, the group was called Tribute.  We enjoyed the show very much.  We like that era of music Motown.

Sept 14th - Bar Harbour, ME

Today was another sunny with some clouds 64F/17C.  Since this is a tender port, we are all staying on the ship today as the tenders will not take any wheelchairs or scooters on board.

We slept in and then met Vicki and Bob in the Windjammer for lunch.  We chatted for awhile then we went for the Ben & Jerry ice cream which is located on the Promenade.

We went to a history and culture with guest speaker James Clement: The Story of French Canada.  It was very interesting we went over our history lessons from way back when the East Coast was discovered.

Tonight there was no real show in the Palace Theatre instead they had a Cocktail Cabaret & Big Band Dancing with the Royal Caribbean Singers and the Explorer of the Seas Orchestra.  This was held in the Maharaja Lounge as there was a dance floor and the guests could dance.  The venue is small so no seats available when they started.  The music was good and some of the guests danced.

Sept 15th - Saint Johns, NB

Today was sunny with some clouds 63F/16C.  This port we arrived early 7AM and we leave at 3PM.  We ordered breakfast in our room and met Vicki and Bob at 9:30AM at the elevators on deck 4 where we were disembarking.

We walked over to the Market Square and went inside were there are a few stores, we did some shopping then decided to visit The New Brunswick Museum which is on 3 floors with each floor having their own theme.  Click on the link and you can see what it is all about.

Before entering the ship, there are tents outside the terminal where you can buy different kind of souvenirs.

We had a Cruise Critic Bar Hop organize by Jane, we were only 6 but had a great time.  We decided to stay in Viking Lounge.

The show tonight was a Production Show called Fast Forward with the singers & dancers with the Explorer Orchestra.  This show consisted of songs and dances from Flashdance to Saturday Night Fever.  We enjoyed the fast pace of this show even though we have seen it a few times.

They also had a 50's & 60's Rock'n Roll Party with the C Wind Band in the Maharajas Lounge.  It was a lot of fun, very lively.

Sept 16th - Halifax, NS

Today, the weather was cloudy when we started an about 64F/18C but during the afternoon it warmed up to 70F/21C and sunny, just a perfect day.

Today we had a SOMO FOOD TOUR and we were just the four of us, so a private tour.  The tour operator Emily brought us to six different restaurants to taste there specialty.  Our starting point was at the Market which was located just about a block from where we were docked at Pier 21.  Our first tasting was at the market at Norberts Good Food which they served us a nice salad with their own special dressing.  They grow their own ingredients on their farm.  Our next stop was along the boardwalk where we stopped at SUGAH! where they make their own candies, we had a nice variety to try out, it was so good and just next door we had a tasting of rum cakes.  Next was The Halliburton House Inn where we were able to taste a special dish with scallop covered with a special recipe, it was very tasty.  We ate on their patio.  Next was Morris East where we tried a peach pizza made with their special recipe in their wood burning oven that came directly from Italy.  It was the best pizza crust that I have ever tasted.  Our next stop was ACE BURGER Co where they specialize in hamburgers; the one we had was tasted great, the bun was so fresh which made all the difference.  Our final stop was Café Chianti where we were treated to a dining room which was very elegant and we were served risotto which was so delicious.  We also toured the rest of the restaurant and saw some great paintings that were transferred from a previous location.  Check out my photos. Emily also, along the way gave us some history of the different restaurants we would be visiting and also what we were seeing along the way.  We finished our tour where we started off.  It was a 2.5 hours tour at a cost of $30pp and worth every penny.  If you ever come to Halifax, you must try this tour, I know all four of us enjoyed very much.

Back on the ship we went for cocktails at the Aquarium Bar which is located just outside the dining room on Deck 4.

Our show tonight was The Action Comedy of Rick Novell.  This is a comedian that rides a unicycle, juggles and just makes you laugh from start to finish.  If you ever get a chance to see him, don't miss it.

After the show there was Battle of the Sexes Game Show, there the two genders are put to different tasks and see which gender would comes out the winner, the woman won 5-4.  It was funny and very entertaining.

Sept 17th - At Sea

Today it is cooler 59F/15C and partly cloudy.

Vicki organized a luncheon for our Cruise Critic Roll Call in the main dining room 16 showed up out of 40 that had said they were coming.

Our lecturer James Clement was talking today about Boston, cradle of the Revolutionary War, the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere's ride to warm of the British Invasion.

We were invited to the Crown & Anchor Member Exclusive Top Tier Event where Vicki and Bob received recognition for their 280th point mark.

It is also the second formal night but since we booked the Mystery Theatre Dinner ($55pp) which is casual.  There were 74 at this event.  This event starts at Dizzy's Jazz Lounge where we see the characters intermingle with each other until we hear a shot and the murder is committed then we move to Portofino's for dinner and solve the murder.  We are served wine which flowed during the meal, an antipasti then choice of soup or Caesar salad.  Before our main course all the characters come out and we do find out who was murdered.  So now we have to solve the mystery.  Each character is claiming innocence and they are blaming each other.  One of the girls, who happened to be the girlfriend of the murder victim, comes over to Norman and starts stroking his hair well we all got a chuckle out of that.  We now get our main course which was beef tenderloin which was very tender or tiger shrimp.  When that course is finished, the characters all come out again and we get 45 seconds to ask each one questions, they come one by one at our table, again the same one strokes Norman's hair, but when the wife of the murder victim comes to our table, she also strokes Norman hair.  This was so funny to watch.  We now fill out our ballots to name the murderer and the reason.  The characters leave again and we are served coffee and our desert.  After desert, all the characters come out again and one of them, who happens to be a FBI agent under cover, explains what she has found out and names each character and says that they are innocent and why and the wife, who did kill her husband, and why.  All the ones that got the right answer, all their ballots were put into a pot to pull the winner who got a nice gift basket.

The show tonight was The Two and Only - Jay Johnson who appeared on the TV program SOAP.  We missed the show as the Mystery Theatre Dinner lasted 3hrs.

Sept 18th - Boston, MA

We woke up very early this morning the sun was not out yet.  Since we are Non-US citizens we needed to pass through immigration this morning, we were told to meet at 6:45AM.  We got to deck 5 and the line was as long as the Royal Promenade.  We stood there for ages before the line started to move.  All toll it took us an hour in line.  This is all because we were in Halifax NS yesterday and today Boston.  If Halifax was the last port we would have only gone through immigration in Bayonne, NJ on debarkation day.  Now we will still have to go through immigration again in Bayonne.  By time we left the ship it was close to 69F/20C, we did not need any sweaters and there is not a cloud in the sky.

We had breakfast in the Diamond Balboa dining room.  It is a small room for only Diamond and above.  We are served a nice breakfast, we met other people, it was enjoyable.  Other days we don't get up early enough to go there.

We took a taxi to Quincy Market.  We were able to get a H/A van for our way down.  We walk around the market for a few hours, had some lunch then decided to flag a regular taxi back to the port.  We enjoyed our outing.  It was an easy one for Norman.

Tonight's Production Show: Invitation to Dance choreographed by Luis Van Amstel from Dancing with the Stars, starring the Royal Caribbean Singers & Dancers.  It is a great show even thought we have seen it a few times.

Sept 19 - At Sea

Our last day today, it was sunny at 59F/15C.  This has been a very smooth sailing every day.

Our talk today by James Clement was on the Titanic. We always learn something new about the Titanic, very interesting talk.

Farewell cocktail organized by Jane of our roll call was in the Schooner Bar.  Being Diamond we get three free drinks per day from 4:30PM to 8:30PM.  Since we are not drinkers this is sufficient for us.

Our show tonight was Farewell Variety Show with the "Godfather" of Boston Comedy Don Gavin and also featuring the singers & dancer with the orchestra. We enjoyed Don Gavin very much, loved his jokes.

Sept 20th - Bayonne, NJ

Today we leave this wonderful ship.  The weather is perfect about 68F/20C.  The numbers were called early so we left the ship with Vicki and Bob, got a porter but he refused to take us to the parking lot so I left Norman with all the luggage, got the van, loaded the van and off we were around 10:30AM.

Our drive home went well, lots of traffic leaving the port area until we got on the Garden State Parkway then the traffic thinned out.  We had dry sunny weather all the way home, had about a 15 minute wait at the boarder then home around 6:30PM.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed our cruise, being with Vicki and Bob made even more enjoyable.  We had nice outings that we will always remember.  The ship is starting to show some wear and tear but it is going into a six week dry dock in November.  The food in the Main Dining Room was not WOW but was OK.  Our room was very nice even though it was an Ocean View, we had this room before.  We always love the production shows even though we have already seen them before.  We are looking forward to our next cruise with Vicki and Bob that will be in Sept 2015.

Until next time...

back to top