Cruise offers ports in Newport, Quebec City, Nova ScotiaWritten by Judy Pfaffenberger | | email@example.com
The words of the day, each day of our 10-night New England/Canada cruise at the end of September on the NCL Jewel. were “Washee, washee! Happy, happy!” They were spoken with a smile by a charming young Filipino gal as she greeted us with a spray of antibacterial soap to our hands as we entered the Garden Buffet, which of course we did quite often.
We chose this particular cruise because one of the ports was Quebec City, where we had not visited for several years. The four others who went with us had never been there. The three other ports were Newport R.I., Halifax, and Sydney, Nova Scotia. We were also scheduled to go to Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, but it was dropped when our ship developed some mechanical problems and could not sail at its normal speed. We were compensated with a $50 p.p. cabin credit.
The six of us drove to New York City in our van at a cost of $108 per person covering gas ($150), parking at the pier ($300), Days Inn in Tannersville, Penn. ($56 double), and tolls ($30). For six people that is definitely cheaper than flying and we enjoyed some fall color. My husband and my cousin even got in 9 holes of par 3 golf at the lighted Shawnee Resort near Delaware Gap. A casino at the Mt. Airy Lodge was just a few miles from the motel. On weeknights, motels in the Pocono area were cheaper than those in New Jersey along I-80.
On previous trips we had always driven into New York on a weekend and it was definitely more congested on this Tuesday morning from the George Washington Bridge to the pier. Luckily, it was smooth sailing once we reached the ship. Although I have done it several times, sailing down the Hudson River past Manhattan, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and under the Verazzano Narrows Bridge is always a thrilling and moving experience. The beautiful weather was a bonus.
The next morning we woke up in Newport. Two of our group took a trolley tour ($26) of the area. The other four of us walked a mile to pick up the Cliffwalk, a 3-and-a-half mile path that goes along the edge of the ocean with the Newport mansions (“cottages” that once belonged to the wealthy such as the Vanderbilts and the Astors) on the other side. The vistas and the weather both made for a wonderful morning.
My husband and I did the last two miles alone after the other two headed back to the ship. Those last two miles were much more difficult, over uneven rocks.
We bought a trolley day pass ($6) and went back for lunch and my camera. Since we had toured The Breakers on a previous trip, we chose Rosecliff this time. Admission was $14 for the tour. This mansion was patterned after La Petit Trianon at Versailles and it was resplendent. The movies, “True Lies,” “The Great Gatsby” and “27 Dresses,” were all filmed in the mansion and on the grounds. We had a little time left so we went back to the easy part of the Cliffwalk so I could take some pictures.
In Halifax we all decided to stay in town, because on other trips we had rented a van to see Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. The FRED (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown) Bus does a circular route through the central city, so two rode it to see the sights. However, it is not really a tour bus and was very crowded. Some of us walked to the public gardens and the Citadel, stopping at the public library to e-mail.
We all ended up at Murphy’s on the waterfront to do a whale-watching trip ($39). Unfortunately, we saw only two whales a long distance away, but we did see many dolphins and seals. A walk along the boardwalk took us back to the ship.
Our day in Quebec City was everything we had hoped for. Since my husband and I had been there three times before, we wanted to do something different, so we rented bikes and rode the 14-mile round trip to Mt. Morency Falls which are considerably higher than Niagara. The other four toured the old city in a horse and carriage ($80).
Our plan for Sydney was to rent a car, drop the guys at the golf course, and then head for the reconstructed fortress of Louisburg. However, with shortened time there and having to tender in, we decided that we would be too pressed to be back by 12:30 p.m. So the guys took a cab ($30 round trip) and we ladies explored the town, which was not terribly exciting but quite pleasant. The other two times we were there we did rent a car to drive part of the picturesque Cabot Trail, and visited Louisburg.
All in all it was a very pleasant trip, with many relaxing sea days. The evening entertainment was excellent and our trivia team the “Mixed Nuts” won the progressive tournament.
E-mail travel columnist Judy Pfaffenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org.