Cruising Canada and New England
Guest blogger Ellie Jarrell shares her travel blog with Debonair, telling the tale of her May 2019 cruise to Canada and New England.
I’m sitting on my balcony, looking across Montreal Harbor to Habitat, the wonderful complex by Moshe Sadie, the Israeli/American architect, who designed it for the 1967 World’s Fair. I remember being fascinated by it and reading about how he used pre-fab boxes and assembled them in a hodgepodge jumble. Every one has a garden. Sadly, whereas it used to be for low-income housing, it has morphed into expensive condominiums. We are nearing the end of our cruise. It has provided a variety of sea and landscapes, mostly in cool, damp weather. But we’ve had some nice days, too.
Since I am an enthusiast of weather and wild areas, I especially appreciated the Îles de la Madeleine, off the coast of Nova Scotia, where the wind blows steadily over a treeless archipelago of small islands. I also liked the Gaspé peninsula, with its sandstone headlands, its scoured Percé Rock, and the island bird sanctuary of Bonaventure, a gannet nesting site. There was still snow in the woods; they had 19 feet of snow over the winter. We had a pleasant stop in Prince Edward Island, including a visit to the house the author of Anne of Green Gables. I decided to read the book and found it delightful.
The ship is a nice size, meant to hold 200 some-odd passengers. We have around 158, so it’s a friendly, intimate feel. Most are retirees, who have migrated from various states to Florida or the southwest. I’m the only one from Massachusetts. Dress is informal, as is dinner seating. Being single, I bop around and eat with a variety of folks. Politics, (thankfully) are avoided, which is fortunate, as I suspect I am much more liberal than most of my fellows.
The food is very good, and the Filipino staff are friendly and courteous. Wine and mixed drinks are included, and so are the excursions, although the brochure had listed some as costing extra. Guides have been good and very interested in introducing us to their locales. (This might of course be a function of our being there at the beginning of the season.) A feature which I appreciate is the ability to order half portions of meals, so one doesn’t overeat. There is a suggested end-of-cruise tip, which is shared among the crew. Tips for guides are optional. Every evening, there is a presentation about the next day’s port, which I have found useful. The entertainment, except for two nights, has been provided by a singing couple. They are good, but I think a little more variety would be nice.
The Pearl Mist is a sister ship to the American Cruise ships. From what others have said, they like both. Many have gone on multiple cruises with both lines. It’s just the itineraries that differ.
I’m home now. The last stop was Clayton, New York, on Lake Ontario in the Thousand Islands. Small, with a lovely antique boat museum. The guides everywhere were enthusiastic; I suspect that it was because we came early in the season.