Holland America Cruise Lines offers 7-night Canada/New England itineraries aboard the MS Veendam, a midsize 1350-passenger ship, from May through early October. Cruises begin or end in either Quebec City, Canada, or Boston, Massachusetts.
While aboard the ship, passengers will find plenty to do. There is a casino, spa, fitness center, library, and several shops. Cooking classes, computer classes, dance classes, and other activities are scheduled during hours when most passengers are spending time off the ship in ports of call. Entertainment areas on the Upper Promenade Deck cater to a variety of musical tastes. The Showroom at Sea features nightly entertainment at 8 and 10 p.m.
A wide range of excursions are offered at each port of call. Read a short description of each port of call offered on Holland America’s Canada/New England itineraries here, then click on the port to access a brief summary of excursions offered.
Beaches visited on excursions to lighthouses on Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia were the only ones encountered on the cruise. I’d love to come back to visit the beautiful beaches of the Maritime Islands in July or August to enjoy warmer water temperatures for swimming or partaking in on-the-water activities like kayaking, sailing, canoeing, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and surfing.
Food and Drink
Multi-course evening meals are served in the ship’s four main restaurants, while breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style on the Lido Deck.
Holland America’s seven-night Canada/New England itineraries begin or end in either Quebec City (on the MS Veendam), Montreal (on the MS Maasdam) or Boston, according to the itinerary and dates chosen. Flights are available on all major airlines.
The ship sailed from Quebec City down the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with port stops at Prince Edward Island (Charlottesville), two ports on Nova Scotia (Halifax and Sydney), and Bar Harbor, Maine, ending in Boston.
The vibe on-board ship is pleasant and fairly low-key, matching the demographic of the ship’s passengers. The liveliest area is the sing-along piano bar. Members of the crew are friendly and accommodating, especially the wait staff in the dining rooms.
Arrive in Quebec City early to explore the historic district of Old Quebec, the only walled city in North America north of Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Before the ship leaves Quebec, don’t miss the excursion to Montmorency Falls, higher than Niagara Falls but not as wide.
On Prince Edward Island, sample the local mussels and oysters before taking a lighthouse tour. The island has a higher concentration of lighthouses than any province or state in North America. If you’re a fan of Anne of Green Gables, book an excursion focused on the classic novels.
In Sydney, Nova Scotia, visit the Highland Village Living History Museum for an authentic view of an early Scottish settlement. The Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck is another fascinating stop.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Peggy’s Cove, a picturesque fishing village that is home to Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, perched atop huge granite boulders, is a must-see, as is a stop at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the final resting place of 121 bodies recovered by Halifax-based vessels after the sinking of the Titanic.
In Bar Harbor, Maine, lobster is king. Take a bus tour through Acadia National Park, then enjoy a lobster meal with all the trimmings. Board the Lulu lobster boat to learn about commercial lobstering. Cap off the day with a scoop of lobster ice cream from Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium on Main Street.
Lighthouses, lobster and cooler temperatures are big draws for travel to Canada’s Maritime Islands and New England in the summer months, especially for Texans who are eager to escape the heat. During autumn’s peak season, you can add fall foliage to the list of attractions.
When presented with an opportunity to spend a week visiting Prince Edward Island, two ports in Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor, Maine, my husband and I didn’t hesitate to book the summer Canada/New England cruise aboard Holland America’s ms Veendam — a midsize ship carrying a maximum of 1,350 passengers…
Read the rest of my article on our Holland America Canada-New England cruise, “Lighthouses and lobster,” published in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram newspaper, by downloading a PDF of the article here: HollandAmericaCruise-Lighthouses-and-Lobster