Winters in NZ Posted October 17, 2013 #1 Share Posted October 17, 2013 Boarding any ship in Manhattan always gives me goose bumps when considering the departure. Statue of Liberty always on the starboard side, with Battery Park, the new Freedom Tower, and Brooklyn on the port side, and then passing magically beneath the Verazzano Narrows Bridge as we enter into deep water. The excitement on board is contagious...all of these passengers dashing from side to side surely must drive the Captain bananas. We average about 2 cruises every year, and have been doing so for the past 15 years....and if you are searching for any negative comments, stop reading now and find another thread. We had a sea day proceeding towards Boston... I can't understand the reason for that. Perhaps it gives the HAL folks an opportunity to operate the casino...who knows. But relaxing nevertheless. In Beantown, we took a short walk from the Black Falcon and hopped onto an excellent Silver Line bus that quickly brought us to South Station...at which point we purchased our Day Pass to roam around from place-to-place on the efficient subway system. A light rain in the PM did not deter us, but actually added to the aura of the Boston Common, Louisburg Square, the Paul Revere House, and of course Harvard. Bar Harbor had 2 ships visiting, so the shops were packed. We walked a bit further to the Grand Hotel, through some side streets to view some spectacular properties, and on the way back down Desert Street to inspect the library. Redeemer Catholic Church was having a rummage sale. They promptly gave us some fresh-baked cookies, made hot tea for Maureen...and I shared a coffee and gab-fest with Father Jack O'hara, the parish Priest and native Bostonian, who had studied for his ministry at St. Paul's Seminary in my home town of Ottawa. A small world indeed. And since Canadian Thanksgiving was coming up on Oct. 14, I bought 2 delightful Pilgrim Bounty statues, now on our mantle. 2 bucks for the pair! They grew up in Maine, but it looks as though they will be residing in Canada from now on. Arriving in Halifax on the Sunday morning, hardly any passengers were on deck to be 'serenaded ' by the bagpiper and drummer. It began as a cool morning and developed into an absolutely beautiful autumn, sun-soaked day. We walked towards St. Mary's Basilica, and we were just 5 minutes late for the beginning of Mass. We walked to the Public Garden on Sprinbrook Road, got to visit both Dalhousie University as well as St. Mary's University. Stopped in the Garrison Brewery across the street from Pier 21 for $2 draught. We were also quite fortunate to have on board the Eurodam, Father Bill Gold, a retired priest, born in Pittsburgh, from his parish in San Diego. We discovered that he had a Masters Degree in Religion from Fordham University. Every time we have cruised aboard HAL, we have been extremely blessed to have a Catholic Priest on board for daily Mass. Fr. Gold has been sailing HAL ships this year for over 200 days ! Wow ! Sydney is a very quiet little town, although a real economic basket-case. Very friendly folks. There was a lineup of folks from the ship at the Tim Hortons downtown. This tells you all about the opinion reflecting the nature of cruise ship coffee in a nutshell. I dropped into the local court-house to view some trials in progress. Always better than watching a movie. Being a dyed-in-the-wool Canadian hockey fan, I eventually found my way to the home arena for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, who play in the QMJHL, a superb junior league which produces many NHL players. A kindly soul allowed me into this local cathedral of hockey in Sydney. Yes, sometimes ( usually ?) hockey in Canada is the predominant religion. No entry into Charlottetown on this cruise. Strong winds prevented a safe docking, so onward we sailed for Saguenay. The Saguenay River is an absolutely beautiful fjord...but unfortunately, sailing at night, we didn't see too much of it. I'm tempted to book the Maasdam in May which spends a full day in the fjord, on its way from FLL. Quebec City is Quebec City. Historic, beautiful, preserved. We , as in Boston, bought a day pass for the local buses....directly across the street from the cruise terminal. Montmorency Falls was just a 35 minute trip on Express Bus #800, which goes through a cute suburb of Quebec City. It is a spectacular sight, twice as high as Niagara. We went along with some tourists from Britain ,Australia and Texas, but our help was not required. The bus driver was extremely helpful, pointing us in the right direction, and she was particularly proud of her excellent use of English. We used the frequent and efficient electric Ecobus, also included in our day pass, helping us to avoid steep hills in Old Quebec, and making our travelling that much more efficient and quick. As usual, we had expedited disembarkation on Saturday morning. No fuss, no worries, no hassles. Fortunately both Maureen and I are adept at shuffling around our own 40 lb suitcases. Who needs a gym ? Food on board was what we have always come to expect aboard HAL ships. We had most of our meals in the Rembrandt Dining Room, although, we also enjoyed eating 3 times for lunch in the Pinnacle. Excellent food, excellent service, although we did bump into a couple who were seemingly always complaining...about everything perhaps. My Complainer-Avoider system kicked in and we never saw them again. Entertainment was very good, but short...45 minutes. Comedian was very funny, but I was surprised that the audience sat on their hands for the energetic and extremely talented BB King. Do these folks perhaps prefer Wheel of Fortune.....on a nightly basis ? Anyways, chalk one down as another enjoyable HAL cruise for this couple. Peter Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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