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Eastern Canada And New England Cruises
Eastern Canada And New England Cruises
Want to cruise, but not interested in the Caribbean -- fall is the time of year to visit ports-of-call between Boston, Massachusetts and Quebec, Canada. Several of the major cruise lines now serve this beautiful part of the world in leaf peaking season.
In recent years, many families planning a vacation through Eastern Canada and New England have opted for cruising on a luxury liner instead of a driving trip. Lounging around a ship such as Holland America Line’s ms Maasdam sure beats being stuck in a car where someone has to keep their eyes on the road while another is trying to make sense of a map. The captain of the cruise ship will ensure you get from port to port and, best of all, you and your family don’t have to fight over directions.
Holland America Line offers a number of cruises throughout New England, a popular one being the Maasdam’s seven-day cruises that alternate departures between Boston and Montreal. Each year from mid-May to late-September the company offers a variety of 7 to14-day cruises with ports-of-call that include Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax and Sydney, both in Nova Scotia; and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and Quebec City in the province of Quebec. The departures during September, for "fall foliage cruises," are usually the most popular.
HAL's s"Signature of Excellence" Ship
With a capacity of 1,258 passengers in 698 staterooms ranging from standard cabins to luxury penthouse verandah suites, the Maasdam is one of the more “intimate” ships in the HAL fleet.
Amenities include as pillow-top Mariner’s Dream Beds, flat screen TVs, DVD players and deluxe terry cloth robes, magnifying make-up mirrors with halo lighting, hair dryers, massage shower heads and a complimentary fruit basket – just in case you need to snack between the multitudes of meals offered during your cruise and the 24-hour room service that is offered. The Signature of Excellence upgrades are part of a continuous program, with the final phase of the most recent upgraded features expected to be completed by 2013.
Club HAL is the fully supervised club catering to kids from ages 3-12 with age-appropriate activities. Little ones can enjoy art or play on a fun slide, while older siblings play in a separate area featuring arcade games, Internet access, Xbox and Wii and so much more. Teens 13 to 17 have their own hangout space called The Loft.
Some of the other onboard points of interest include The Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, where guest chefs will show passengers tricks from their trade; Explorations Café, powered by The New York Times; and the Greenhouse Spa and Salon – an exceptional spa with a full range of services among their thermal suite, hydro-pool, and a large fitness facility.
Exploring Northern US and Canada Ports-of-Call
In addition to the wonderful activities onboard, Maasdam offers a wide variety of port tours and excursions when off the ship, or you can explore on your own. HAL will gladly book hotel and tours for you pre- or post cruise in Boston, Massachusetts and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In order to explore the port you leave from, plan to arrive a day early.
A great view of Boston can be seen from the Prudential Skywalk Observatory, and once you’ve seen the city from above, you can catch a Boston Duck Tour at the base of the Prudential Center. It is a fully narrated land and water tour in an authentic WWII amphibious vehicle that takes you on the Charles River. After being on the water, you may want to learn what comes out of the sea with a visit to The New England Aquarium and a stop at the Simons IMAX Theatre. A short walk from there is Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Market Building, a great place to pick up souvenirs.
Bar Harbor is a quaint coastal town in Maine known for nearby Acadia National Park. Cars are not allowed in the park, so plan to bike, hike, or take a carriage tour. You can even go by horseback.
Halifax is the capital city of the province of Nova Scotia and an historic city tour featuring the Province House and the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. There are tours of Halifax that also include a drive to the picturesque fishing town of Peggy’s Cove, which is one of Canada’s most photographed sights.
Sydney is known for its miners and its music – internationally known Celtic songstress Rita MacNeil lives about a block from where the Maasdam docks. Tours include a trip to the Cape Breton Miners Museum and a seven-hour jaunt on the scenic Cabot Trail.
Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island. Once on land in PEI, you can’t but help notice the soil is a rich red, as rich as the history itself. Fans of Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books can visit Cavendish where you can actually walk through the homestead of this beloved fictional character. You leave believing the little red head girl really must have lived.
The charm of Quebec can be seen in the below video:
When the ship docks in Quebec City, it is like stepping back in time, into the first French city in North America; the old part of the city is rich with historic buildings, chic boutiques and cafes on every corner. Quebec City is a great place to brush up on your high school French.
To book a Holland America Line Maasdam cruise to Eastern Canada and New England contact your travel agent, call 877/932-4259 or visit: www.hollandamerica.com.
Other Canada & New England Cruise Options
Keep in mind that most cruise companies only offer this itinerary in the spring, summer and fall seasons, then move ships to Alaska or the Caribbean in summer. The homeports of Norfolk, Virginia; Newark, New Jersey; New York and Boston have the greatest selection of sailings, as noted in these options.
Carnival (888/CARNIVAL) has shorter four or five-day Canada/New England cruises with stops at Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada; Portland in Maine; and Boston, Massachusetts aboard the Carnival Triumph through late-fall.
Celebrity Cruises (800/647-2251) has longer 13 and 14-night cruises leaving from Bayonne, New Jersey and stopping at four ports in Canada.
Crystal Cruises (888/722-0021) is offering a variety of themed itineraries on 5 cruises throughout New England and Canada with stops at Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Cunard (800/728-6273) has autumn themed cruises that include cities like New York City, Bar Harbor, Saint John, New Brunswick and more. Cruise durations can range from 5-20 nights.
Norwegian Cruise Line(866/234-7350) offers seven day or ten day excursions from either Boston, New York, Philadelphia or Quebec City. Ports include Saint John, New Brunswick; Charlottetown; and Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia.
Princess Cruises (800/PRINCESS) offers seven to 12-day cruises between New York City, Quebec and Ft. Lauderdale.
Royal Caribbean (866/562-7625) has 7 to 11-day Canada & New England cruises that depart from Cape Liberty Cruise Port, New Jersey and Baltimore, Maryland, with stops in Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine as well as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Boston.