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Semi-Live Review: Grandeur of the Seas 13 - 22 June 2019

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Before the ship leaves port, I thought I would get some Portland pictures posted since the ship WiFi is slow and they often fail to upload.  I’ll write about the day later.

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And I’ll end it with a Maine lobster meal picture from Luke’s (about an eight minute walk from the ship). 🦞 

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Day 4: Portland, Maine.  First, I have to say Portland is a beautiful place.  Very picturesque like something you would see in a seaside movie.  The architecture and victorian homes were beautiful.  Temperature wise, it was a nice day but the forecast called for rain (and it did rain part of the time) so we decided to do a two hour bus tour of Portland.  We did not book through the ship but when you get off, there are numerous roadside stands at the port with different companies offering tours.  We did the light blue bus tour (maybe Blue Lobster tours but cannot be sure).  The tour was okay - not fantastic but not horrible.  It was exactly what they said it would be which was no getting off for pictures except at the lighthouse.  We went ahead with it since we didn’t want to get caught in the rain.  The cost was $31 per person.  It was hard getting pictures in motion at times, especially those from the other side of the bus.  But when we got off at the lighthouse, it was an amazing sight.  The pictures don’t do it justice. I would say the tour taught me a lot about Portland and covered a lot of territory.  As I said, before we bought the tickets, they told us it was not hop on and hop off so we knew.  I do not regret the tour and would recommend it to someone wanting a quick overview sort of tour for Portland.  After the tour, we walked around Portland.  It is a very walkable place with easy access to the ship from the city area. We walked to Holy Donuts which I had read about.  They make donuts using a potato base (and you would never know it).  The consistency is much like a cake style donut.  Definitely worth a try just for the pure sake of it.  I has a salted chocolate and DD got a cinnamon sugar and old fashion donut.  She is not a sweets person but like to donuts.  After the stop at Holy donuts (about a 10 minute walk from the ship), we went to Luke’s Lobster for some fresh lobster and a shrimp roll.  Both were plentiful in portion size and tasted great. Delicious is all I can say.  The lobster rolls at the table next to us looked pretty good too.  Luke’s is about an eight minute walks from the ship but sits far back on a pier so it could be easy to miss from the road.  One of the pictures above is of Luke’s.  It sits right on the water and has all the lobster cages in the water (not a tank) that are quite visible.  Luke’s is just past Gibson’s Chowder.  The employees there were so friendly and a lot of locals ate there.  Every single person we met Portland was so friendly.  My DD has decided this is her favorite place to visit our if all the places she has been (not just this trip).  

Back on the ship, we skipped the top tier reception as it was close to our dinner seating and we had to get ready.  After dinner, we went to the Palladium show.  It was a singer very Fran Sinatra (ish) named Mike Preston.  Initially I thought, ughh but I must admit, I enjoyed the show once he got past the first few songs.  

As we headed out of port , a heavy fog sat in so the Grandeur’s horn has sounded quite a bit tonight.

To all the Dad’s our there... I hope you had a Happy Father's Day!

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Uploading the pictures while I had cellphone reception worked pretty good yesterday so will  do the same today.  These are from Bar Harbor and Arcadia National Park. They include Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole,  the town, the Coping Stones (stones that were brought in to form a ‘natural’ guardrail, and the highest point in Maine that is the first place to see the sunrise up and down the east coast.  I will write the days events later.

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Bar Harbor is another beautiful seaside town.  Those sailing here in September are sure to see spectacular color as the leaves change!

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23 hours ago, The sea calls my name said:

The ships lobster will never be an excitment again.  Nothing like Boston ( or Maine) lobster to spoil you.

So true!  The size, freshness, and color were unbelievable.  

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Day 5: Bar Harbor Maine.

My write-up would not upload yesterday so   I am rewriting and trying again (I now know to copy write-ups just in case).  Bar Harbor was an excellent day with fantastic weather for touring.  It was sunny and in the mid 70’s.  We got off of the ship at 10:00am and walk to to the right where transportation was lined up.  We found a tour van waiting that had not been hired out and was able to hire it for the four of us for 2 1/2 hours.  Our guide Mary was wonderful.  She is a retired teacher and has a true love for the area.  Mary enjoyed the educational aspect of tour and shared so much information with us.  We went to Arcadia National Park and made stops all along the way.  Every turn brought even more breathtaking sites.  We went to the top of Cadillac Mountain which is the highest elevation at 1530 feet above sea level.  There a a geological marker in the rock at the point.  It is known as the highest of the shoreline of North American continent between Novs Scotia and Mexico and as the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise in the mornings.  Although it is high, the walking is fairly level and gravel path from the parking lot is about a five minute walk so it is very easy.  But it would also be easy to miss the marker as it is flat in the ground.  We saw a small waterfall in the rocks along the ride.  The coping stones are a natural guardrail made of granite rock rather than the metal guardrails to maintain the beauty.  We stopped at the garden but it was not in bloom so it was a lot of greenery but no flowers.  Thunder Hole was intriguing to watch.  At the bottom of a big rock formation there is a huge hole.  Water fills the hole and the elevation rises.  Once full, it squirts out in a powerful spray creating a roar.  The strength determines the sound at it sounds like thunder.  

After the park, we went into the town of Bar Harbor and had lunch at West Street Cafe.  The lobster roll was plentiful and delicious.  And the blueberry pie rave is completely accurate.  Unbelievably good!!!!  It was served warm with a side of vanilla ice cream.  Next we went shopping along the main road that runs from the port and uphill.  It is an easy walk with tons of shops.  After shopping we stopped at Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium - an ice cream shop that Mary said is the best ever, all homemade with unique flavors like the Maine blueberry (awesome much like the blueberry pie) and lobster ice cream which was vanilla butter flavored with pieces of lobster meat.  Sounds gross but after a sample taste I went with it because why not.  I am in Maine and will probably never see lobster once cream anywhere else.  The lobster pieces were hard from the ice cream and reminded me of candy pieces.  I would recommend trying it at least once.  You will recognize the place the the gigantic lobster holding an ice cream cone out front on the sidewalk.  We bought some t-shirts and headed back to the ship to shower and get ready for the evening.  The show was a hypnotist but I skipped it so cannot give an opinion of the show.  We hung out with a couple we met onboard and had great conversation and turned in early as we have an early tour in St. John’s.

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Day 6, Saint John (New Brunswick):

Another beautiful day!  Sunny and temperatures in the low 70’s.  We started the day out early as we had a tour booked a six hour through GoFundy.  It was a 6 passenger private tour and was absolutely wonderful.  We did not have the crowds of the bus tours and saw so many amazing sites.  

We headed out during low tide to get our first view of the town’s scenic attractions.  I can’t name them all but some of the sites were the Reversing Rapids, a light house, a suspended bridge at Salmon River, covered bridges (there are many) Fuller waterfalls, a few rock formation to include the Indian Head and the Flower Pot, cliffs along the sea/bay, caves sea floors, and than on our way back to the ship we saw the same sites later as the tides came raised.  The water lowers and rises at such a rapid rate that a few hours can can be the difference between boats sitting on a dry inlet base or floating in a full river.  It is pretty amazing to to nature at its best.  

Walking across the suspending bridge reminded me of the old suspended bridges I would see as a kid.  It wiggled from side to side (more if you jumped or shook it 😇).  I had a good laugh at my teens at the first shake.  I cannot describe the beauty but parts of it reminded me of the scenery in Virgin Gorda and the Caribbean which took me by surprise being we are in Canada.  Alexei, our tour guide had timed the day perfectly.  He went the extra mile with the little things he did like having the hot coffee and hot, a cooler filled with bottles of cold water, fresh muffins, and lots of goodies for us to take home like Canadian maple syrups, maple hard candies, a magnet, and more.  I would 110% recommend him to anyone trying to figure out what to do in NB.  The rental is a flat fee, he does not combine groups, and holds up to six people. We had four people so we were roomy.  I am sure the pictures won’t do justice but I will try to post the same picture at low tide and high tide so the difference can be seen.  Going into today, the Reversing Rapids were the one thing I wanted to see and I thought they would be my highlight but they ended up being near the bottom of the list among the sites I saw today.  They were cool and seeing the complete change in direction was fascinating but the other sites were just so beautiful.  Doing it again, I would not cut them out but I did not realize how many other sites there were to see in NB.

Back onboard the ship, we saw the evening show, a juggler named Scotty Cavanaugh.  He was excellent- humorous and great juggling.  The show went by quickly as he kept you entertained - he jumped right into his act and kept going until the end.  Tonight was also the adult Quest show.  My 18 year old and a friend went with us to the show and they both loved it.  The laughed and had a good time.  I spotted my 16 year old in the Centrum playing cards with a group of teens on my was back to my room.  They were all quiet but enjoying themselves so we kept going and she never noticed us. This was a great day.  

As a side note, I talked to two different families today that were disappointed with the hop- on/hop-off bus in NB.  Both said that even though we were the only ship docked, the bus was over crowded and from any stop along the route, it was an hour wait to get back on and at times the full bus would pass by people waiting because there was no space on the bus. I had never read that online so I thought I would share.

 

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Look at the water level on the three boats in this picture compare to the picture above of the exact same three boats in the above post due to changes in the tide.  The pictures were taken about two hours apart.  You can also see the difference in the lighthouse pictures by looking at the rock formation in the background.  The water covers almost the entire formation as the tide rises.  Neither of these are at max high or low tide.  

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Day 7 - Halifax, Canada:

We have been very fortunate to have great weather on this cruise.  Another Sunny day in the 70’s.  After a long day of touring yesterday, we were all tired and decided to sleep in today (the teens longer than us).  I went down to Cafe Lattitudes to a latte and cappuccino to hold us over until everyone woke up.  I have gone there everyday and hands-down, it is the best coffee on the ship and the guys that run the stand are so friendly.  I especially like Santi as he greets me by name and knew my drink by the second day.  We had our first meal, lunch, in the Windjammer.  It offered lots of variety and was good.  By the time we got off of the ship it was about 1:30pm so we decided to stay in the city limits for our sight seeing.  We took a taxi ride around the city to see Halifax.  The cab driver was interesting.  He was not shy and shared his views of the surroundings.  We found him to be comical, informative, and he told us about living in Halifax - both the good and the bad.  We drove past the gardens, the citadel, and some of the housing areas that have historical significance.  We saw some churches that had architecture designs that stood out.  After the taxi, we walked the boardwalk from the casino back to the cruise ship stopping for ice cream at Cows and rum cake at another store along the boardwalk.  The rum cake was very tasty.  At the terminal we shopped for souvenirs in the shops. We boarded the ship at 5:30pm and headed to Chops to make reservations for the evening.  We had never had eaten in any of the specialty restaurants so this was a change that we very much enjoyed.  The food was very good and the wait staff was attentive.  The food was very filling.  They brought us out a special cake to celebrate our 26th anniversary which was such a nice surprise.  In the evening we went to the karaoke session and than up to the Viking Lounge.  On previous cruises we had on the Grandeur, the Viking Lounge was always the late evening hotspot with dancing but on this cruise, it has been dead.  The bartenders said the last cruise it was packed so I am not sure why it has been empty all week.  Maybe because of all the port days on this itinerary (5 ports). But the bartenders in the Viking Lounge are awesome and in my opinion, make the best drinks on the ship.  I enjoy chatting with them. Clocks get turned back an hour tonight (they were turned forward an hour yesterday).  While in Canada, the ship went by local Canadian time (versus Eastern time which we started in) for debarkment from the ports.  The next two days are sea days so we can attend more ship activities.

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Thank you for this review! Looking forward to the rest. I’m considering this cruise for next summer. 😊

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1 hour ago, FirstAnthem said:

Thank you for this review! Looking forward to the rest. I’m considering this cruise for next summer. 😊

I am glad you are enjoying it.  The cruise has been great and I love the longer length as it really has given me a chance to relax and have a break from work.  I find that typically just as I start truly relaxing I only get a few days before I need to pack up.  This is so much more enjoyable.

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Some pictures from Halifax... a Canada sign for photo ops (I liked the frame at the end for people 😀), a street view from the boardwalk, a a guard at the Citadel.

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So awesome of you to take time on your cruise to post your review!!  Enjoying the ship info and your gorgeous photos!!  😀

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4 hours ago, retiredgram said:

Beautiful pictures.  Thanks for allowing us to tag along.

Thank you for following. 💕

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2 hours ago, Love PalmTrees said:

So awesome of you to take time on your cruise to post your review!!  Enjoying the ship info and your gorgeous photos!!  😀

Thank you, glad to share my experience and viewpoints.  It has been a nice way to summarize the day’s activities and now, a way to pass time waiting in line for Bingo!  Narrowing down the pictures (and getting them to upload) has been the most difficult part.  WiFi on the ship is  -s-l-o-w- and it has timed out more than once.

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Day 8, Sea Day:  Today was a sea day and the ship had plenty of activities to keep us entertained.  We woke up and headed up to Chops for breakfast.  We had a nice seat by the window.  It was foggy outside so the visibility was not great.  Last night we saw dolphins splashing around while eating dinner but with the fog, not a chance.  After breakfast we went back to the room to freshen up, watch my girls do Zumba in the centrum, and than watched the egg drop competition.  It was fun to watch as contestants dropped eggs from the eight floor the the centrum (fourth floor) using supplies from the ship to see if the egg could survive.  Some pretty clever designs were presented.  We walked around a bit than went to lunch.  After lunch, we roamed a bit and than headed to one of our favorites- The Love and Marriage Show.  It is always comical hearing the responses.  The couples are selected to participate- a newlywed couple, mid-range (20 to 30 years) couple, and the longest married couple (for our show, 57 years).  The couple are than asked to record answers to questions and than the responses are shared with the audience.  From there, it was straight to Bingo.  Both were crowded.  We didn’t win anything at Bingo but enjoyed it nonetheless.  After Bingo, we went to get changed for dinner.  Tonight was the second formal night and lobster night for those wondering (the first formal night did not serve lobster).  The meal was good but after having huge lobsters in Maine, it looked so small.  We than had a few pictures taken and than changed back into casual cloths for the evening. We met friends and shared a bottle of champagne while the 70’s show was going on in the centrum.  The Palladium had a Motown show but we did not go to it.  In all, it was a fun day.  No pictures from today.  I will attached a picture of the cake they brought us to celebrate our 26th anniversary. 

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We have docked!!!  Waiting to get the all clear to begin debarkment.  I will write about the last Sea day and a general overall experience later today.  To anyone that may be boarding today (or in the future) I wish you all a great vacation!  The Grandeur is a great ship with a great crew.

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