My experience on Amsterdam on the Cruisemates cruise was a nightmare (read what I had to say in either a ship's review or on HAL's message board). We cancelled Amsterdam in the fall and rebooked on Royal Princess, a favorite old ship of mine. We sail from New York on a Canada/New England cruise on Sept. 10th.
That itinerary has caught my eye, partly because I would love to visit the maritime provinces and the St. Lawrence Seaway and because I live in the Boston area and would love to see my home town from a tourist's perspective. Alas, there are some great bargains on Mediterranean itineraries aboard MV Golden Princess this year so that's probably where I'll spend my major vacation....
Anyway, please post if you have any questions about the ports of call or attractions in New England. I'll try to provide reliable answers.
Thanks Norm, my father lived in Boston and it's still one of my favorite cities. Next year I'll be taking my grandson up because once he sees it I think he might become interested in going to college in Boston. He's an honor student at a magnet school so I think he would be just fine in a good New England college.The only port on the Royal Princess itinerary I don't know is Quebec City, but I've been reading guidebooks like crazy. I doubt I will be doing many ship's excursions. I've been to Saint John, NB many times. My father was born there in 1887! From a loyalist family, of course. He was the first in the family to come back to the states although eventually all of his siblings joined him. He was going to sail the maiden voyage of the Titanic as a young man, only cancelled because he needed to get back to Canada and Titanic's maiden voyage was postponed 2 weeks. In his lifetime, he made 54 roundtrip Atlantic crossings, all by ship. Considering how dangerous it was in those days, I think that's a pretty remarkable record. Is this where I got my love of ships and my avoidance of maiden voyages? Probably, .
You're a bit closer to the Maritime Provinces than I am, but by great grandmother Estelle Maude Killam was born in Yarmouth, NS -- also a descendent of loyalist stock, no doubt. A few generations earlier, Austin Kilham came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638 and settled in Wenham, MA, in 1639 after brief stays in Dedham and Chelmsford. Around 1765, his several-great grandson John Kilham VI of Wenham received a royal land grant in Yarmouth and moved there to claim his turf -- thus becoming John Killam I of Yarmouth, according to the historical records (in which one finds both spellings -- Kilham and Killam -- used interchangeably). Alas, Estelle Maude Killam married an Irish rogue named Joseph Patrick in Yarmouth and subsequently moved with him to Quincy, Massachusetts, sometime after the Civil War. Anyway, the Kilhams of Massachusetts were very involved in sea-going commerce with the Pickerings and the family had several sea captains among its members -- so the love of the sea does run in my blood. John Killam's role in Yarmouth involved the construction and operation of the Killam Warf to export coal.
By the early 20th century, seaborne travel actually was very safe -- especially on the more reputable lines. There were a lot of vessels crossing the oceans in those days with relatively few incidents. Unfortunately, the incidents got more than their share of publicity so they tend to be what sticks in the public's mind. In reality, though, RMS Titanic did not have enough lifeboats precisely because marine travel was so safe that there was no perceived need for lifeboats!
Today, I would not hesitate to take a maiden voyage on a reputable cruise line. In fact, I'm seeing some very attractive fares for the maiden voyage of MV Golden Princess! Now, the $64 question: can I get the time off from work?
I just joke about not taking maiden voyages. The reason why I don't is because the crew usually hasn't settled in as well as they will have later. I prefer ships that are at least a year old. My father was supposed to sail Titanic but the ship he ended up sailing back to Canada was the Empress of Ireland which also sank with great loss of life in the St. Lawrence River. It was hit by a coal barge. I know our family comes from a tiny town in Northwest England called Dunham's Bridge. My father went there once and said if you were blinking when you went through, you missed it. My family came to this side of the pond shortly after the Mayflower although just who and when I don't know. My ancestor that went to Canada after the revolution (sorry, colonial rebellion for all Canadians and Brits reading this) was named Anser Dunham and he was a sea captain. He took his family and a bunch of other settlers to Saint John. My paternal grandfather was a commercial fisherman so the sea goes back in my blood for a long time.
We were on the Canada/New England itinerary last Sept. aboard the Crown Princess. While the itinerary was very good, the Crown was somewhat disappointing, primarily because of the"wrapped in steel" design. I know that the Royal will be a better choice for the variety of viewing sites and wrap-around promenade deck. The old Crown tends to be somewhat claustrophobic in comparison. If you would like some recommendations on what to see, drop me an e-mail. I think BaHaBa () and Quebec City were our favorite ports although we missed Newport altogether due to a bad electrical storm. This is a truly laid-back cruise and VERY quiet. The average age of passengers on our trip was 70+. I thought I was on HAL for a while.
BTW, boarding from NYC was a minor nightmare lasting over 2 hours. Return trip from Montreal included a INTERMINABLE 8- HOUR wait for Princess Air flights at the airport. If you can switch to a Montreal to NYC date, you may have a smoother experience. Princess has always done such a good job if embarkation and disembarkation, it was a real surprise and disappointment.