My daughter and I wanted to do a trip together to Nova Scotia and Canada when we discovered this cruise. Since she lives in NYC it was an easy flight to Boston to board the cruise ship. We had a wonderful time but knew the crowd would be 70 plus on board. We did this trip in mid-Sept. so that also lended itself to an older crowd. Everyone was super friendly and nice. We explored most of the ports on our own without taking any excursions and rented cars in both Halifax and Sydney to explore more in-depth on our own time. We felt like we had ample time to see the ports with time to spare. We researched ahead of time to know exactly what we wanted to do and see at each port. The weather was beautiful for the entire cruise so we were lucky with that. The favorite ports were Bar Harbor and Quebec City. Be prepared to walk hard and long in Quebec City but it is beautiful! If you are in Bar Harbor be sure to have lobster of Gaylns. The best lobster I have ever had! Very sweet and melts in your mouth! So good. Also in Bar Harbor be sure to have Blueberry Beer. It's amazing! We took the free shuttle in Bar Harbor to Acadia which is super easy to do and did the beach hike. Make sure you have the shuttle schedule and research the hike you want to do beforehand. The is an office where you get the shuttle that you can ask a ranger any questions. We had plenty of time to hike the Acadia trail we choose and explore the town. Being our very first cruise we loved the ease of being able to go from port to port and come back to the ship to sleep. We will definitely cruise again but probably not on the Veendam.
5 out of 5
Seemed very smooth for us. No problems
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
This was probably the biggest disappointment. We ate mostly in the large dining room and although the service and menu were wonderful the food did not match up. It was ok not great. The breakfast was about the same.
3 out of 5
We didn't really participate in any of the onboard activities. They are definitely geared for a 70+plus crowd. We really didn't care since we were not on the cruise for the activities.
3 out of 5
The piano player and other musicians were good. The singers and performers were OK.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
This is where we were pleasantly surprised. The staff overall were excellent and very attentive.
3 out of 5
Again, just OK. An old ship. It was clean but old.
Cabin / Stateroom
2 out of 5
Don't remember our cabin number but we were the very last cabin on deck 5 in the very back of the boat. We didn't realize this when we were upgraded that this was a very noisy location. We felt vibrations from the engine and every morning when docking we heard every single noise very loudly in our room. Sometimes it started as early as 5 am. and went on for hours. We didn't sleep well for 7 days. This was the worst thing about our cruise.
We knew it was going to be an older crowd so we were prepared for that. We did the cruise to simply see all the port of Call in an economical and easy way.
We loved Bar Harbor. We explored on our own. We took advantage of the free shuttle that runs to Acadia to hike and explore that area. Plan ahead to figure out the best hike and allow time to catch the shuttle back to town. We did the hike near the beach which was about a 2 mile hike and had plenty of time to get back to town and explore and have a nice lunch at Galyns. Excellent Lobster and Blueberry Beer! Highly recommend! Would love to go back and hike more in Acadia!
We rented a car which we found super easy to do. I arranged it ahead of time. It was an easy walk from the port. We drove to Peggy's Cove which was cool but overcrowed! We drove to Lunnenburg which was a cool town and had lunch on the water. It was very easy to drive and get around and had plenty of time to get back on the ship.
Again we rented a car and drove to Ignomish Beach. We wanted to drive as much of the Cabot trail as we could. We took the route where you cross over the river by the car ferry which was very cool and saves a lot of time. Easy to drive and plan accordingly based on when you have to be back on the ship.
Loved Quebec City. I think we walked 8 miles that day. Research and find a yummy restaurant for lunch. So many great places to eat. We ate at Chez Rioux & Pettigrew. You can make a reservation online. It was a small restaurant but wonderful fresh food. We also took a free walking tour that morning which was nice to get an overview of Quebec city. Google Free Walking Tours with Samuel Dubois. He was full of history about the city and entertaining. The walking tour was about 2 hours long. We did that first and then had lunch and did our own exploring after lunch. We had plenty of time to see the city.
Our last day and it was cloudy and rainy so we didn't so as much in Montreal. Could have definitely flown out earlier. We booked a 7:50 pm flight and wished we had booked it more like 5 pm. If the weather had been better we might have done more. I should have planned more to do in Montreal since we had so much time. We were able to store our bags at the Cruiseport and when we were ready to leave for the airport we walked back there and got a taxi very easily.
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