Gulf of St Lawrence, New England, New France, Sept. 24-30, 2016  Map 

For years Jacque and I had planned a New England fall foliage cruise, but things kept happening before we could get there. Finally, 2016 was our time. We were a little early for the fall color, but there was still plenty to see!


Boston, MA, Sept. 24, 2016

Fly-by-night seems to be our style on vacations. Our flight from Phoenix to Charlotte was entirely in the dark. I noticed from the street lights that towns are farther apart and more regularly laid out in the western states.

After flying on to Boston we got aboard the ship with the usual rigmarole. As soon as we were in our stateroom we took our morning prescriptions, then headed to the Lido for lunch. Before dinner we attended the lifeboat drill and walked around the ship. Dinner was at La Fontaine, a fancy restaurant on board the MS Rotterdam.

I always manage to forget something. This time it was underpants. There are plenty of them at home, but I put none in the suitcase. Oh, well, the ship arrives at Bar Harbor tomorrow.


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Boston Come All Ye
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Container cargo is a big deal around here.
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Ted on the Sports Deck. [photo by Jacque]
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Elegant dining at La Fontaine. [photo by Jacque]

Bar Harbor, ME, Sept. 25, 2016

Just try buying men’s underwear in Bar Harbor, Maine, on a Sunday morning. I walked up and down Main Street. Half the stores were closed. Then, by incredible luck, I walked into a place that had an art gallery downstairs and souvenir clothes upstairs. They had it, in only one size but it was the right size.

On such a gorgeous day I walked some more and took pictures. Too early for most of the autumn leaves, but windjammers were anchored off shore. Then I returned to the ship. They use lifeboats as ship-to-shore tenders. Even in mild seas you get sprayed by the waves.

Jacque waited for me on the ship. She and I ate lunch and went to a presentation on “The Halifax Explosion”, a major maritime accident. We’re steaming to Halifax tomorrow.

Seven believers, mainly of our generation, showed up for the Interdenominational Service. It was congregation-led, meaning no one was in charge. We had devotionals, Bible readings, and enlightened discussions. Afterwards Jacque and I went to dinner and to a live show put on by the Rotterdam Singers and Dancers.

MS Rotterdam, Holland America Line, stateroom 1956:
Although the Rotterdam is an older ship, it is well maintained.
:| Our stateroom is on the Dolphin Deck (lowest passenger level) in the aft port corner of the ship. Propeller noise at night.
:) Food is pretty good at the Lido restaurant (buffet style) La Fontaine (waiters) and Dive In (make your own sandwich).
:( You have to pay for wi-fi, and then it doesn't work. At least they gave me a refund.


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Early autumn leaves in Bar Harbor.
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Hold your fire, mates!
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Main Street.
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Windjammers and the Rotterdam at anchor in Bar Harbor.
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Jacque with the warriors and horses on deck 5.

Halifax, NS, Sept. 26, 2016

After breakfast I got off the ship to try the free wi-fi at the port terminal in Halifax. It worked, after finally getting started. Sent an email to Beatrix and Clara.

Jacque and I went on a shore excursion to Peggy’s Cove, a lovely fishing village that has been discovered by tourists. I took pictures while Jacque attended a talk on lobsters and visited the gift shop. After returning to the ship we had dinner and attended two concerts and the presidential debate. Now it’s after midnight, but Atlantic time zone.


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Early mariners didn't have much navigation equipment.
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Unidentified victims of the Titanic are buried here.
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Daisies flourish at Peggy’s Cove.
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This is how we catch lobsters.
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The lighthouse draws lots of admirers.
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Peggy’s Cove is still a fishing village.
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Did you have a good catch today?
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Let’s go when the tide is in.

Sydney, NS, Sept. 27, 2016

Our original shore excursion was canceled, so we went to “Spirit of the Fiddle”, a lively concert in a building on the waterfront. It was great fun. I bought a music CD. Otherwise we walked around the ship trying to find the best location for a picture of both of us.

We enjoyed playing Team Trivia in the Crow’s Nest Lounge. Our team didn’t win, but we made some pretty good guesses.


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Jacque and Ted on board the Rotterdam.
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On Cape Breton Island they don’t just fiddle around.
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She plays her fiddle left-handed.

Charlottetown, PEI, Sept. 28, 2016

Our shore excursion was a delight. We got off the ship and went to the Point Prim Lighthouse, a round structure built in 1845 on the end of a peninsula. The stairs going to the top are so steep that it’s almost like climbing a ladder. Hold onto those rails! Sure, I made it. Then we went on to the Wood Islands Lighthouse. Built in 1876 and somewhat more civilized, it has a little attached house for the keeper to stay in.

The Rossignol Winery was our last stop. We got to sample the wares, a half dozen varieties. Jacque and I enjoyed talking with the owner and meeting his big, friendly dog.

Wi-fi at the Charlottetown port terminal wasn’t so friendly. Limited capacity with a big crowd there, so it kept losing the connection. Worse, I received a Trip Report containing a boatload of pictures. My mailbox will probably overflow as a result.


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The Point Prim Lighthouse has been guiding mariners since 1845.
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Notice to Mariners.
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Fresnel Lenses re-direct the light.
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Ted made it to the top.
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The Wood Islands Lighthouse is more civilized.
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Radio and mantel clock of bygone years.
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No need to stomp the grapes. We have a machine that does it.
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“This wine is the best,” John explains.

Gulf of St. Lawrence, Sept. 29, 2016

Jacque and I needed a day at sea. We had all three meals in La Fontaine, including a brunch at which we met Captain Hans Mateboer. Otherwise we attended two talks in the ship’s theater, one about the history of this region and one about lighthouses; two concerts, and Team Trivia.

There are very few kids on this cruise. Mostly retired people, many of them Canadian. We’ve met only one couple of our children’s generation. All are friendly, especially the crew.


Quebec, Sept. 30, 2016

Got up and had breakfast early, so we could go to the seaport building for free wi-fi. Everything worked this time. My mailbox won't have to overflow, after all.

Our stroll through Quebec turned out to be quite a walk. There were uneven cobblestones, stairs, and a Funicular cog incline to get us up the steepest slope. Pierre, our guide, carried a flag so we could see him ahead on a crowded street. I helped Jacque get the walker over curbs and up and down stairs.


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Quebec, the only walled city in North America.
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Ted doesn’t mind the tiled sidewalk. [photo by Jacque]
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Old Quebec has a certain charm. [photo by Jacque]
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Funicular cogs get us up to the top of the wall.
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The church is ornately decorated.
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Pierre explains the local history.
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The oldest house in Quebec is now a restaurant.
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Not all of the transportation is modern.

Arizona Hike Pictures updated October 3, 2017