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ms Veendam Cruise (Part 1)

Boston to Sydney, Nova Scotia

all seasons in one day 5 °C

Tuesday 25/4

We were worried that our flight to Boston might be delayed so we got the first flight of the day. There were no delays and we arrived in Boston about 9.00 am. As we couldn’t get on the ship till 11.30, we had time to kill and nothing to do. But the time went quickly. Ship didn’t leave till 6.00pm so we spent the time exploring the ship and checking out the other passengers. 95%+ are 60 and over so it will be different to what we are used to.

The ms Veendam is an older, smaller ship than we are used to and not as well laid out as the modern ships. But it is still very good once you get to know your way around. Our cabin is good, the food and drinks (15 each a day) are all paid for, so it should be an enjoyable cruise.


Wednesday 26/4

Our first port of call is Bar Harbor, Maine. But the weather is wet and cold and there is a thick fog. In the morning it looked like it would be a day on the ship but we had a booked excursion for 1.00 pm so we decided to go ashore (by tender at this port) and see what happened. As it turned out the rain stayed away and while the fog obscured some of the views, our tour of Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain was quite enjoyable. The Bar Harbor town was also very nice to walk around and it being the first cruise of the season with no other ships in port, plus the weather, meant that we didn’t have to compete with the large number of tourists that will be there later in the year.

Liz and I shared a lobster roll at a cafe in Bar Harbor. It was wonderful. The cafe also did an Aussie style flat white and it was, so far, the only great coffee I have had on this trip.


Saw the first stage show of the tour at night. It was OK but we have seen much better on the other ships.

On Thursday 27/4 we called in to Saint John, New Brunswick. Another rainy and foggy day. We went ashore and took in all that ”Uptown” Saint John had to offer, which wasn’t much. They had a nice undercover “City Market” and some interesting buildings. But there doesn’t seem to have been any effort to preserve an historical district and nice buildings are surrounded by unattractive modern buildings and port infrastructure. Other parts of the inner city are dominated by a major motorway (the Saint John Throughway). So we didn’t enjoy it that much and didn’t take many photos. Liz had another nice lobster roll though.


I felt a bit “off color” today so we spent the afternoon resting and watching a movie. Felt better later so I went to the gym. OK now.

Tomorrow is a sea day so hopefully the weather improves by the time we get to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Friday 28/4, a sea day, started off slowly. The fog was still with us so there was nothing to see outside the ship. The ocean was up and the boat was rocking. The water was having a hard time staying in the pool.


We had a leisurely breakfast and a good conversation with two ladies from Albany, WA, watched a nature film in the theatre, went to a jewelry promotion (for the free champagne), and did some laundry. (exciting hey!). Only other things to do on a sea day are eat, drink and relax. And so we did.

Nice dinner with Sandy from California and a nightcap in the bar before an early night. Halifax tomorrow and an early start for our excursion to Peggy’s Cove. Hope the weather improves or we won’t see anything…again.

On Saturday 29/4 we arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia a few hours early because of a medical emergency. We were surprised to be in port when we woke. Our trip to Peggy’s Cove, began at 8.30 am and it didn’t look promising. The continuing fog was, if anything, thicker than usual and we travelled the hour to our destination without seeing much at all. However, our tour guide gave us plenty of interesting information on the way. Boy could she talk.

When we arrived at Peggy’s Cove the fog was still with us and despite suggestions that it might lie by 10.00am, it did not lift while we were there. The spectacular views that we expected were clouded in mist and to be honest,we didn’t see much at all. But we managed to take some photos of the “world’s most photographed lighthouse” and with the help of a bit of luck and some photo editing we got some nice photos. Still it was a bit disappointing and we are getting sick of the fog.


By the time we got back to Halifax, the fog actually lifted and we were able to explore Halifax in good light. We went to the Farmers Market, which was good, but we didn’t buy anything, the Board Walk, which is still being built and the older parts of the city. It was nice, but also a bit disappointing. I also visited the Pier 21 (“One of the Seven Wonders of Canada”) Immigration Museum. It was interesting and well presented but just OK.

Tomorrow we visit Sydney, Nova Scotia. Its supposed to be a pretty place. Let’s hope we can see it.

Sunday 30/4

We tied up in Sydney at about 11.00 am and for once it was a beautiful clear day but it was very cold. The actual temperature was 9 degrees but it was windy and felt much colder.

There were a number of excursions available but they were all a bit long and of doubtful value. So we decided just to do downtown of Sydney. It is quite a beautiful place but very quiet at this time in the season. Lots of quaint houses and churches to look at and little museums to visit. The harbour is also very pretty in parts but the wind on the water made it too cold to spend much time there.

We had lunch at the “Old Triangle Irish Alehouse” which was nice and warm, with a view of the harbour. The food was good (lobster and mashed potato) and the beer looked good, but I didn’t have one. AFD today.


Tomorrow Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Posted by John McReynolds 03:38

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