I know this is really premature but next August my wife and myself will be on one of the HAL 7 day Canada/New England cruises. Our stops will be Quebec City,Charlottown,Sydney,Halifax and Bar Harbor. Keeping in mind we have never been one one of these cruises before and like to know history of ports,,and suggestions for must see shore excursions?
Also,,what will the weather be like late August/September.
I just joined these boards earlier this week, but I saw your post and had to reply!
I'm from Eastern Canada, and have been to all of the ports you have mentioned. I know Charlottetown, PEI, EXTREMELY well, as we have a summer home in the province.
Anyhow, I took a look at the Canada/ New England shore excursions on the HAL website, and here is what I would recommend, based on my knowledge/ experience/ opinions and the fact that you like knowing the history of ports (I should add that I am a relatively new cruiser- my cruise in March on RCL will only be my 2nd, but I have travelled a lot through Europe and North America. I also work for a national historic site as an interpreter, and we have given tours to many, many cruise ship passengers).
*Quebec City- If you are up for a bit of walking, the "Quebec City Walking Tour with Tea at the Chateau Frontenac" looked really good. The Chateau Frontenac is definitely a site that is not to be missed, and Old Québec is very charming. It's only 3 hours long, and you're in port for 9 hours, so try to get a river cruise tour in too. They're not expensive at all, and are a great way to get a different perspective on the city. My second choice would be "A Taste of Old Québec: Walking & Wine Tasting".
*Charlottetown- If you are truly into history and want to experience the essence of Charlottetown, I would suggest "The Charlottetown Story: A Walking Tour". I've seen these tours going on during the summer, and people seem to be enjoying themselves. Heck, I've been tempted to join in!
However, if you’re not planning to visit PEI ever again, I would say to do "Island Drive & Anne of Green Gables". I worked in tourist information in the province for 4 years, and this tour has the stops that I always suggested to people who wanted to see "everything". I could go on and on about PEI, but I'll leave you with these. Feel free to ask me any detailed questions about Charlottetown- good restaurants, shopping, etc...I know it all!
*Sydney- This is a hard one! However, seeing that you have 10 hours in Sydney, I would suggest "Baddeck & the Alexander Graham Bell Museum". When I was last in Nova Scotia, this museum was one of the highlights of my trip. The tour is only 4.25 hours long, so you will have lots of time to walk around Sydney itself afterward (and possibly take in the "A Guided Walk in Old Sydney Town" tour too- the excursion site didn't say how many times a day this tour is offered). If you have any questions while you're meandering around, don't hesitate to ask anyone- we Maritimers love to talk! My friend who made the following comment was right on the mark- "Take a map and stand on any street corner. I will 100% GUARANTEE you that in a 5-minute period, you will have at least 3 people asking you if you need help".
*Halifax- I'd do "Garden & Garrisons--A Relaxed Walking Tour". This one seems to take in most of the historic sites in Halifax, not to mention the gorgeous Victorian architecture. The only major one I noticed that it does NOT take in is the Halifax Citadel (if you look at pictures of the city, this is the place on the hill with the big white clock). HOWEVER, seeing that you have 9 hours in port, you could easily get there after the "Garden & Garrisons" your ends- the Citadel is quite close to the dock area.
*Bar Harbour- One thing I would highly suggest doing here is visiting Acadia National Park. My family has hiked here many times, and it is a very beautiful place. Looking at the excursions offered, I would suggest "A Walk in the Park (Ocean Trail Hike)". If hiking isn't your thing, but you don't mind strolling at a leisurely pace, "Step Back in Time: A Victorian Walking Tour" looks good. Bar Harbour is a quaint little place, and should be bustling in August (I've only ever been there in November, when most travelers are long gone).
I hope this information helps you out. I suggested the excursions not knowing your physical abilities, so some of them might not be appropriate. Again, if you need any more information at all, I am on these boards just about every day and will keep an eye on this post.
March 2000- NCL- Norwegian Wind
March 2006- RCL- Voyager of the Seas
I just finished booking the Sept 23 Canada N/E 7-day fall foliage cruise out of NY on Carnival Victory about one hour ago! My cruise agent lives in Auburn, Maine just west of Portland. I can query him on the Aug/Sept Northern US/Canada weather history for you, or if you'd like to do it on your own, go to weather.com (or weatherhistory.com) and you can enter a region, city or zip code in any of the port areas and view historical averages for weather there throughout the years.
My agent said one of the most charming, friendly, clean and interesting cities on this cruise is Halifax! Especially the Titanic Museum. The town-folk in Halifax were the first rescue responders to the Titanic disaster; Halifax is the closest land mass with communication stations to the Atlantic Ocean path from England to America. There are artifacts and ship pieces and photos and personal records & data from the two days that it took to complete rescue operations back then. I am not particularly a person who seeks ports for their historical content i.e. galleries, museums, cathedrals, forts etc. But I have studied many articles on the Titanic, not just the epic film version. In fact, I became curious about the various versions of how it all happened and why it took so long for help to arrive....and 22 years ago I have birth to my second daughter on April 14th! Anyway, if you search the ships that sail to that region throughout the year and look for the shore excursions you can find out what there is to do and get averages for hi/lo temps in August.
Can't concentrate on going northbound at the present time.....I am too busy day dreaming about my upcoming cruise on June 5th NY to E.Caribbean - 8 nights adjoining cabins category 8I on the Carnival Legend - surrounded by my family on each side of me. We can remove the balcony partitions and party-hearty. I hope Carnival will recover from the experience! A few of my "crew" have never cruised before, so we have sufficiently stressed them out with bogus tales of past experiences.....the method to our madness - make them anticipate the worst case scenario and when nothing negative happens, they'll be elated beyond belief. If we over sell the trip and it turns out to be a bummer, that would be too disappointing. "Keep playing those mind games forever...." I learned much from the Fab 4 (Beatles)....I am a baby-boomer and a Woodstock alumni (original Woodstock in Glen Falls NY).
Hope you have a perfect cruise and return relaxed and safe, but not bankrupt (). let me know what you discover....it will save me the trouble of researching it all before I cruise there. (ha ha ha)
Donna (the crazy beachbumMom in NYC)
Think before you speak......words are not connected to a retractable cord!
"Time you enjoyed wasting, was not really wasted at all" ~ John Lennon
Carnival Victory to N/E & Canada 7 days
Dio you need help for private tour in Quebec city and countrysides?
I am from Quebec and I offer private tour for a full day in and around the city countryside for evertything you need to see.
Do do not hesistate to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org SUBJECT "Quebec City"