Cruise to Canada and New England
May 21-28, 2005
Page 2

The next day we docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We had a special trip planned here. We were met by our great guide Bruce from Bruces' Tours who had helped us carefully plan out our trip. First we traveled to Hall's Harbour Lobster Pound.
This is a very interesting place. Their tanks hold lobsters from under a pound to giants of more than five pounds, all for sale by the pound, fresh out of the water, cooked, or served up in a lobster bake. All by itself, it made an interesting trip.
But the big attraction is that Hall's Harbor lies on the famous Bay of Fundy, site of the world's highest tides! Bruce had carefully calculated out the times of the tides for us, and he got us there at the low tide, when the fishing boats actually rest on the bottom of the bay. As we toured the area, Bruce kept bringing us back to watch the tide come in and the boats slowly rise. By high tide at 2:30 PM, the tide was more than 38 feet higher than it had been earlier! It is one of those natural phenomena that must be seen to be believed! This was truly an awesome day ashore!
Back aboard the ship it was time to go up to the Crow's Nest for Trivia. We answered such questions as "Which is the most common family of insects?" (Beetles) to score 15 out of 22 points, good enough to win HAL umbrellas for our team!

The activities aboard the ship were a lot of fun, and the cruise staff was enthusiastic and friendly. The entertainment in the main show lounge was typical cruise ship fare. There were a couple of nice production shows, one with a subway theme and the other Broadway hits. We had a pianist, an impersonator/singer and a ventriloquist, all of whom did not impress me particularly. Entertainment is not really HAL's strong suit. There was a good time at the piano bar every evening as he featured one group's tunes, such as "Beach Boys Night" and "Beatles Night." The band in the dance lounge was pretty good, and the Champagne Strings played in the Atrium before dinner.

Bar Harbor Maine was the next stop, and another port in which we had planned a tour which turned out to be outstanding. This time it was the Lulu Lobster Boat! This small, personalized seal watching and lobster fishing tour is not available through the ship, but we had booked it by email and really enjoyed it. Captain John took us out to the lighthouse where the seals and their pups were resting on the rocks. (Look close!)
Then he took us around the bay as he pulled up his lobster pots and showed us how the lobsters are caught, gave us lots of information about their habits, told us about the laws and customs of the lobster men, and provided a thoroughly enjoyable cruise. I recommend anyone that plans to be in Bar Harbor contact Captain John and sail on the Lulu with him!
So to complete the experience, we went back to the dock to the Fish House Grill. Here I was in lobster heaven as I found you can order lobster claws by the pound! Why bother with those tails when you can happily crack your way through a whole bowl of juicy sweet claws?

Bar Harbor was the only tender port on this cruise. The tender service was very efficient and comfortable. Fortunately the weather had co-operated and the high seas of the night before died out before we anchored at Bar Harbor. Passengers with ship's excursions went ashore first, but we had no trouble being ashore well before our scheduled 10:00 tour time.

We then had some time to walk around the town, and yes, the ladies got to shop! We had made reservations on Oli's Trolley for the tour of Acadia Park, one of Bar Harbor's major attractions. Although the ship offered an essentially identical bus tour, we thought the Trolley looked like more fun!
The trolley took us all around the park, including the carriage roads where the rich leisure class of a century ago took their afternoon rides. We visited the Pond House where the popovers have been famous for longer than that. And we saw the beautiful and wild coastline at the Thunder Hole. It was a very nice afternoon drive. Bar Harbor was the final port on our cruise. The entire experience was wonderful and we found the Maasdam to be a thoroughly delightful ship.

After the cruise we stayed in Boston for a few days. We rode the Beantown Trolley, visited Quincy Market at Fanueil Hall, had lunch on the pier, took a harbor cruise, and rode the famous swan boats in Boston Common.

To finish up our stay, we visited the Battle Green at Lexington on Memorial Day, and saw the Lexington Minutemen conducting a memorial service for the embattled farmers who fired the shot heard round the world, and all others who have fallen in the service of their country since then. Accompanied by the High School band, the Boy and Girl Scouts, veterans organizations and military dignitaries, they marched out to the cemetary where the Patriots are buried and played taps. Then they returned to the Green and conducted the memorial. It was a suitable finish to a great trip. We would throughly recommend this ship and this itinerary to anyone!


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