Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Holland America Maasdam to Canada/ New England

We just loved our most recent cruise on the Maasdam! The weather was wonderful for the week we were there. As for the staff, that was the best experience we’ve had. My favorite things about the ship were the Crows Nest, the Explorations Cafe, and the food! I love how the buffet at dinner offered the same menu as the dining room. I also loved how they had ice cream all the time at no charge. I am embarrassed to say that I ate a waffle cone almost every day! haha

My only complaints were the odor in the room. Holland America explained that it was caused by an Eco-friendly machine they used that caused a mild occasional odor when the balance was off . Our AC was also broken and only had one temperature, but they did fix that for us as soon as I mentioned it. These are just some of the things you might have come up with when you are on an older ship. I have to say though, that I love how this class are smaller in size than their newer ships. They have less guests and are very easy to get around. They also had all new beds (oh so comfy), new flat screen t.v.s, and DVD players.

We decided to stay an extra night in Boston and in Montreal. I feel that on a trip that requires air everyone should come in early if they can. 1. It makes embarkation day more relaxing 2. Allows time to spend time in the embarkation port city 3. In case of flight problems you are there early and won't miss the ship. I just loved my time in Boston and wish I had a few more days there. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency which was in the perfect location of downtown Boston. There were plenty of things to do in walking distance from the hotel. We walked some of the Freedom trail and had lunch at Fanuel Hall. I must tell you Fanuel Hall is like the biggest food court I have ever seen. There must have been over a hundred food vendors with food from all over the world. Our choice was the New England Clam Chowder in a bread bowl :) (YUM)

Our favorite port was Bar Harbor. We did a Lobster Bake and an Acadia National Park Tour. The tour guide kept us entertained and was highly knowledgeable. They took us to several scenic points one of which was Cadillac Mountain. Than we had lunch at a great restaurant and had whole lobsters and mussels. That was the best meal of the week by far.

Another port we just loved was Quebec City. This was like being in Europe walking down the old cobblestone streets. Getting off the ship there are all kinds of boutique shops with local artists. Then we walked up the hill (not too bad of a hike) and toured the fort and walked down some more streets of shopping. There is enough shopping to keep you busy if that is your mission! Than we enjoyed High Tea at the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac. It was a beautiful castle with a view of the city! The tea was so well done and enjoyed by all.

In Charlottetown, PEI we did a city tour with a stop at Ann of Green Gables. This was very nostalgic especially for my mother in law who read all of Green Gables books. We did this tour with the cruise line and was a bit full, the trip was on a coach with over 40 people. For this one I would recommend trying a private tour.

Halifax, Nova Scotia was one of the places I did not book a tour. That day we went to the Citadel and they took us on a free tour of the fort. Then we walked to the Maritime Heritage Museum which had a great exhibit of the Titanic.

Sydney was very windy and overcast that day so I decided to spend the day on the ship. I went to the fitness center which had all new equipment, and spent time in the Explorations Cafe. It was like going to a Borders, which is something I just love to do. I had a yummy cafe latte while I sat on a wonderfully comfortable chair and read a book.

Overall I was very pleased with this cruise and highly recommend it. Although fall is the most popular time to go on this trip I think the spring was a great time of year to visit as well. The weather was nice and cool, and the colors of green ranged from light to dark shades of green which created a fantastic view where ever we went. I also love Holland and would rate them very high amongst the other lines I have been on so far.