On Monday, April 23, 2018 at 8 a.m. we left Vernon for Kelowna, driving with our neighbours, Mark and Eva, for the first leg of our flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and the beginning of our 10 Day The Atlantic Coast Cruise scheduled to begin on Wednesday.  Vernon was sunny and 2 C [36 F] and Seattle was 14 C [57 F] upon our arrival, also sunny but windy upon arrival with our Alaska Airlines flight.  The airport procedures of Passport Control and luggage retrieval was routine as was our hotel check-in followed by a late lunch.

 

The Atlantic Coast Cruise would be our first visit to the East Coast.

 

Tuesday, April 24

 

Up very early for our 8:10 a.m. Alaska Airlines flight to Fort Lauderdale.  Our flight was smooth and without incident arriving in Florida under sunny skies and warm temperatures.  Again the hotel check-in procedure was routine after which we enjoyed a leisurely dinner and watched some TV in our room before retiring.

 

Wednesday, April 25

 

At 7 a.m. the skies were sunny and clear with a temperature of 21 C [70 F] rising to 30C [86 F] the predicted high.  Engaged a taxi to take us to the cruise ship terminal for our late morning check in process to board our ship.  The embarkation procedure was quick and efficient … in our stateroom by 11:45 a.m. and at 12 noon in the Dining Room for lunch.  Unpacking then followed.  We were in a Lanai Stateroom for the first time.  The Mandatory Passenger Emergency Muster Drill at 3:15 p.m. completed our pre-sail routine and we then paid our first visit to the Ocean Bar for a relaxing drink.  Met our table mates at dinner, a couple from Orlando, FL and a Canadian couple from Medicine Hat, AB.  Prior to retiring we listened to the fine music of Adagio.

 

Our ship, the Veendam, 719 feet in length, carries 1,350 passengers plus a crew of 500 and has a maximum speed of 22 knots.  She has twelve decks, served by 2 banks of elevators.  Onboard facilities include a pool and hot tubs,4 bars, casino, medical centre, photo gallery and retail stores.  Live entertainment is offered nightly and the Wajang Theatre offers daily movies.  Onboard dining is in The Dining Room, while buffet meals are provided in the Lido Restaruant.  The Pinnacle Grill offers an elegant, sophisticated dining experience featuring premium Sterling Silver beef, inspired seafood dishes and many selected wines.

 

This was our first time cruising on this ship.  Due to cooler temperatures and windy conditions after departing Fort Lauderdale, Richard was unable to spend time on the outer decks doing his daily walk on the Promenade Deck.  Instead he chose to walk indoors this time around.

 

Daily at 4 p.m. we enjoy Happy Hour in the Ocean Bar before our evening meal.  From 4 to 5 p.m. one pays $2 for the second drink.

 

Thursday, April 26

 

We awoke to clear skies this morning and our first sea day.  Dress code is Formal tonight, our first for this cruise.  The head Bar Steward in the Ocean Bar is the same person who served us in January 2017 on our Hong Kong>Singapore Cruise.  Oliver is his name and he is 1 of 5 staff on board that we’ve previously cruised with.  At 2 p.m. the Captain announced a medical emergency that the ship couldn’t deal with.  Following consultation with head office in Seattle we were advised that our course heading would be changed for a 4 hour diversion to near Charlotte, VA where the patient would be transported to hospital by helicopter.  Captain further advised us that this diversion would affect our arrival in Boston and he would further advise us further on this later.  The ship’s Singers and Dancers were live on stage this evening.

 

Having not visited the East Coast previously we chose to tour each port and so purchased expensive shore excursions [tours] from the offerings on board our ship.  Expensive in the sense that pricing was in U.S. dollars for which we, as Canadians, need pay a high premium.

 

Friday, April 27

 

Another sea day and we awoke to cloudy skies which had turned sunny by the time we finished breakfast in the Dining Room.  Richard obtained the Guest Passenger Count by Nationality from the Front Office.  Fred Bevill, comedian, performed live for us on stage after dinner.

 

Saturday, April 28

 

Our cruise itinerary had us in Boston today with arrival at 10 a.m. and an 8 p.m. departure.  This did not happen due to the earlier medical emergency.  Our Boston arrival occurred at 9:30 p.m. and we were there only to take on new passengers, departing about one hour later.  This late arrival would also affect our upcoming arrival in Bar Harbor and also in Halifax.  Having missed out on Boston as a destination, Holland America, as a gesture of good will provided each guest with an onboard credit of $50 and, of course a refund was processed for our planned shore excursion that had previously been bought.  Aside from this we woke up to it raining and this changed to a mixture of sun and fog as the day progressed.  Pianist David Howard provided great music on stage tonight.

 

Sunday, April 29

 

At anchor off Bar Harbor this morning with a 10 a.m. arrival.  Foggy upon waking and 14 C [57 F] the predicted high.  Richard participated in the tour “Acadia National Park” after taking the tender ashore.  Anita stayed on board.  Weather on tour was a mix of sun and cloud.  Watched the movie, “Pitch Perfect 3” in the Wajang Theatre.  Clocks were set ahead 1 hour tonight.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Bar Harbor                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Harbor,_Maine

 

Monday, April 30

 

In port at Halifax, Nova Scotia for our first time, arriving at 10 a.m. under cloudy skies and the occasional rain shower.  Both Richard and Anita enjoyed the shore excursion “Peggy’s Cove & Titanic Combination” with a visit to Peggy’s Cove the main attraction.  Very cold and windy in the late afternoon for those who chose to walk in Fairview Cemetery best known as the final resting place for over one hundred victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic..  We stayed on board in the coach.  Only 7 C [43 F] was today’s high.  We enjoyed comedian Bud Anderson on stage after dinner.

 

 

 

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Halifax, Nova Scotia                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax,_Nova_Scotia

 

Peggy’s Cove                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peggy%27s_Cove,_Nova_Scotia

 

Tuesday, May 1

 

Arriving at 10 a.m. we were in port at Sydney, Nova Scotia.  Again we awoke to cloudy skies.  At breakfast over the ship’s PA system came a medical distress call requesting all go to a certain stateroom.  When exiting the ship for our planned tour we encountered two ambulances on hand for the sick guest(s).  Our excursion “Big Pink Sydney Highlights” was indeed in a pink bus … you couldn’t miss it!  Cold and windy while on tour, 2 C [35 F] as we boarded the coach and 7 C [45 F] some 3 hours later as we rejoined our ship.  Saw the movie “Only The Brave” before calling it a day.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Sydney, Nova Scotia              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney,_Nova_Scotia

 

Wednesday, May 2

 

In port at Charlottetown, P.E.I. under a mixture of sun and cloud and another cool day.  Our tour today “Island Drive & Anne Of Green Gables” and sad that this tour did not take in the Confederation Bridge as part of it.  Oh, and yes, the soil really is red here!  Temperature was only 13 C [55 F] at 3:30 p.m. when the tour ended.  Did not enjoy the singer, Tricia Kelly onstage tonight and walked out after only 5 minutes.  Clocks were set back 1 hour tonight.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Charlottetown, P.E.I.                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlottetown

 

Anne Of Green Gables           https://www.tourismpei.com/anne-of-green-gables

 

Confederation Bridge              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederation_Bridge

 

Thursday, May 3

 

A sea day and the last of this cruise.  We awoke to more cloudy skies.  Formal Dress code for dinner tonight.  Watched the movie “Battle of the Sexes” tonight in the Wajang Theatre.

 

Friday, May 4

 

In port at Quebec City and we awoke to cloudy skies and a light rain falling.  Our shore excursion today is “UNESCO Historic Sites” and Richard was pleased to finally see the Plains of Abraham site for the first time having studied it extensively when taking Canadian History in school.  Today was also packing day as our cruise ends Saturday morning.  Richard received Passenger Guest Count by Nationality from the Front Office.The movie “Home Again” was our evening’s entertainment before bedtime.

 

 

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Quebec City                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_City

 

Plains of Abraham                   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plains_of_Abraham

 

Nationality

Total Count

Total Count

 

Pre-Boston

Post Boston

 

 

 

Argentina

2

4

Australia

30

33

Belgium

3

3

Brazil

6

6

Canada

165

173

China

5

5

Germany

9

9

France

4

4

United Kingdom

15

15

Hong Kong

 

1

Ireland

3

3

Japan

14

14

Sri Lanka

2

2

Mexico

8

8

Netherlands

8

7

New Zealand

1

 

Panama

1

1

Peru

4

4

Russian Federation

2

2

Sweden

2

2

Ukraine

 

1

United States

705

752

 

 

 

Total

989

1,049

 

 

Saturday, May 5

 

We were up bright and early for breakfast prior to disembarkation.  We left the ship 1 hour later than scheduled and once ashore were met with a cool but sunny early morning.  On our taxi ride to our hotel we encountered our first of many many road constructions in progress.  Seems that in Montreal they only work road construction on weekends, not weekdays!  Found our hotel room would not be available until 2 p.m. so stored our luggage and checked in with the cruise/tour Richard had booked for that afternoon.  After lunch, a $45 taxi ride deposited us at the Pier the taxi driver told us was where our cruise was to be.  Not so … everything locked up, not open.  Passers by told us we were in the wrong location but seeing as our scheduled departure time was upon us we made no move to change locations and sought out a taxi to take us back to our hotel with the intent of seeking a refund once home again.  Back at the hotel we checked in, enjoyed drinks in the Bar before dinner and following that bedtime.

 

Sunday, May 6

 

We awoke to a mix of sun and cloud.  Our pre-booked tour, “Montreal City Guided Sightseeing Tour” had a 1 p.m. departure.  When our taxi arrived at the hotel he offered the same tour for just slightly more than what we had paid for the tour plus return taxi fare … a better deal.  Richard called to cancel the tour and request a refund and was told he must do so once back home that the office he had called could not act upon his request.  Fine.  Did the tour with the taxi and had a most enjoyable time.  He even avoided ALL construction areas taking us places the tour bus couldn’t go.  Just a great afternoon. 

 

As most know, the Province of Quebec is French.  In both cities we visited, Quebec City and Montreal, traffic signs, store names … you name it, only appear in French, no English!  While on our taxi tour in an affluent part of the city of Montreal we did find English “STOP” signs … not “ARRETT” so Richard took a photo of each.  Check this out on the Photos page of his website.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Montreal                                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal

 

Old Montreal                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Montreal

 

Notre-Dame Basilica                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre-Dame_Basilica_(Montreal)

 

Place D’Armes             https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_d%27Armes

 

Monday, May 7

 

Up early again for our 5:30 a.m. airport shuttle to catch our Air Canada home bound flight scheduled for a 7:35 a.m. departure.  Once through security and on board the air craft did we finally enjoy breakfast.  Flight to Vancouver then later to Kelowna were on time.  Upon arrival in Kelowna we were met with sunshine and warm temperatures.  Mark was waiting for us and drove us back to Vernon.

 

Conclusions

 

Both Anita and I enjoyed the cruise, short as it was.  Weather could have been better but no controls that!  The East Coast still retains many elements of early history and settlement.  There is both old and new.  Living in western Canada is different in Richard’s opinion.

 

We found our ship to be cold throughout the journey as did many other guests.  Thermostats just did not work.  Being an older ship one can only conclude the ventilation system cannot operate jointly with both heat and air conditioning.  The air conditioning was on and we had no option than to live with it.