There isn’t much that is more fun than combining two of our favorite activities – cruising and knitting. We also enjoy Canada and New England, especially this time of year when the trees have their fall colors on full display.
When we spotted this itinerary a while back it looked perfect, especially with the repositioning aspect as the Zuiderdam is leaving its summer home in the north east and heading down to Fort Lauderdale to start the Caribbean season and Panama Canal cruises.
This cruise starts in Quebec City and arrives in Fort Lauderdale 12 days later. Here is the official itinerary and cruise map from the Holland America web site.
|0||7-Oct-16||Quebec City, Quebec, Canada TC||5:00 PM|
|1||8-Oct-16||Saguenay, Quebec, Canada||8:00 AM||5:00 PM|
|3||10-Oct-16||Charlottetown, PEI, CA||8:00 AM||5:00 PM|
|4||11-Oct-16||Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada||8:00 AM||5:00 PM|
|5||12-Oct-16||Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada||8:00 AM||4:00 PM|
|6||13-Oct-16||Bar Harbor, Maine, US TR||7:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|7||14-Oct-16||Portland, Maine, US||8:00 AM||5:00 PM|
|8||15-Oct-16||Boston, Massachusetts, US||8:00 AM||5:00 PM|
|11||18-Oct-16||Port Canaveral, Florida, US||8:00 AM||7:00 PM|
|12||19-Oct-16||Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US||7:00 AM|
The best flight we could get to Quebec on Delta involved a connection thru JFK complete with a 6 hour layover. With all the travel issues elsewhere in the country as a result of Hurricane Matthew, we felt somewhat lucky that we had beautiful flying weather and no delays. We fly enough with Delta and are members of the Sky Club and we enjoyed our layover in the wonderful Sky Club in JFK’s Terminal 4. This was our first time in this Club and it is very nice. Delta has really upgraded the food offerings in most of their clubs and this one in particular. Time flew by as we enjoyed the Club’s amenities and at 8pm it was time to head down to the gate to catch our flight up north.
Everything was on time and we were soon climbing out over NYC on our way to Quebec City. We were one of the last flights to land at YQB but the immigration folks still had all the immigration positions staffed so clearing into Canada didn’t take very long. After we gathered our bags we cleared customs quickly and found plenty of taxis ready to take us to our nearby hotel. Taxi fares from the airport are fixed rate by zone. We were going to the nearby Grand Times Hotel so the fare was $15 CD. If you were going further into the city the fare is $34.25 CD.
The Grand Times Hotel was a good choice for our one night stay. The rooms were clean, quiet and had comfortable beds. Breakfast was included and was very basic – milk and cereal, a little fruit, coffee and bread. Fortunately there was an A&W restaurant right across the parking lot and we were able to get something a little more substantial and brought it back to the room.
After we checked out we took a taxi to the cruise terminal. Our driver took us along the Saint Laurent Seaway which was a beautiful blue and was a wonderful contrast to the colorful trees along the other side of the road. This is a holiday weekend in Canada (Thanksgiving – October 10th) and many people had today off so the bike paths and parks along the way were crowded with everyone enjoying a wonderful fall day.
We arrived at the cruise terminal around noon and our taxi was able to drop us off immediately next to the porters who quickly loaded our bags into waiting containers for transfer to the ship.
Once inside the terminal we filled out the health questionnaire and proceeded to our first line on the ground floor– which was actually a line to avoid everyone from bunching up on the escalator before we got into a second line on the upper floor leading to the security screening checkpoint. After about 30 minutes we were thru security and on our way to the counters where we would check into the ship. We were able to use the 4 Star Mariner line which probably saved us another 15 minutes and we were soon on our way to the ship after a few minutes checking in and having our cruise card photograph taken.
Our cabin is on deck four, all the way aft with a verandah overlooking the stern. We have never been in one of these aft facing cabins and when we saw that one was available we decided to book it and give it a try.
The muster drill was at 4:15 on the promenade deck and they used hand held scanners to record attendance which was a first for us on Holland America. This did avoid much of the shouting out of cabin numbers that we have experienced before. Unlike other lines, you leave your life vest in your cabin instead of bringing it to the muster drill.
There are about 45 people in the knitting group and we had our Welcome Aboard Meet & Greet and Cocktail party in the Crow’s Nest from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. We had a wonderful time meeting our fellow cruisers and after some announcements about coming activities we were on our way to the dining room. Our group is assigned to a block of tables in the upper dining room, all the way aft with wonderful views out the rear windows.
Service was wonderful, as usual on Holland America, and we enjoyed the familiar layout of the menu after our recent voyage on the QM2. Judy had the Pork Rib Roast and I enjoyed the Shrimp, Andouille and Grits. Everything was served piping hot and was quite tasty. We shared a chocolate cake for dessert and enjoyed meeting our traveling companions which is always the highlight of any meal.
Check out the menus under the drop down menu here – Cruise Blogs – 2016 Canada New England – Itinerary, Menus, On Location and Entertainers
There was a single show at 9:30 tonight in the Vista Lounge which was a wonderful introduction to the various entertainers we will be able to enjoy over the next 12 days. In addition to the Zuiderdam singers and dancers we were able to experience performances from Adagio, Michael from the Piano Bar and the Zuiderdam orchestra. Our cruise director, Linda Minninkin, introduced the rest of her team and the first night’s entertainment came to a close.
Afterwards we walked thru the casino and discovered that they have a computerized Texas Hold’em table. I will miss having a live dealer, but I will enter the first tournament on the first sea day and see how it goes.
Northern lights, the disco DJ area was empty as usual, but the BB King Blues Club in the Queens Lounge was hopping and we enjoyed a few songs before we headed back to our cabin.
We will be in Saguenay tomorrow where the forecast calls for rain but maybe we will get lucky and have a dry day.Uncategorized