13 good reasons to take a Canada / New England cruise


1. You can watch the leaves change colour 
Yeah, there's a reason these cruises are scheduled for this time of year and this is it:

Canada cruise highlights
Bar Harbor

Canada cruise highlights
Charlottetown

Fredericton/St. John

Le Baie


2. You can meet people who fought in world war II. (This is definitely not a cruise for partying or staying up late)
This cruise is a favourite among the older demographic. There were literally more people at our veterans social than there were at most of our parties. It’s a great cruise for people who hate children as there were maybe three. At the beginning of last cruise they gave us the age breakdown and of about 2300 people onboard 2012 of them were over the age of 60. It took forever for them to clear security every time they came back from port because there were more people with metal hips and knees and pacemakers than there were without. 

3. Free wifi and underpriced groceries 
In other words, it was every crew member's dream destination!
Most ports have free internet in the terminals and Dollarama’s within walking distance. (It’s like a dollar store). Every time you got off the ship there was a parade of crew members to the local branch. I would survey them on their return to find out what they bought and I am confident everyone is more than ready for Halloween.

4. Quebec City 
I loved everything about it - from it’s cobblestone streets to its chateau (which is a hotel), the chocolate shop I visited (Oh my gosh!), the churches, the ramparts, the architecture, basically the everything!   

Canada cruise highlights


-We had two overnights there which meant we could go out at night! A lot of the older folk stayed in so the crew members practically had the old town to ourselves. 



They also decided to decorate for harvest which was a little bit random but fun. 





5. Friendly locals. 
I often go off wandering by myself and in one of our first ports I went off to find the local public park. People would be sitting on their porches in the middle of the day and not only greet you but would offer you directions if you happened to look lost / foreign. Motorists would stop for you to cross the street before you had even decided if you were going to or not. And in one port they gave us chocolate as we were leaving when they no longer had anything to gain from us being there - in 2017! What?

6. The live entertainment 
From the pipers in the port in Nova Scotia (sorry if those of you on the lower decks with portholes intended to sleep in) to the guy in Quebec City who played ABBA on a harp, the live entertainment was diverse and sometimes strange but definitely added something to the trip. In Quebec there was also a very awkward dance troop of young girls doing a strange performance piece on a busy staircase. When I joined in (it felt like the natural thing to do) they all got the giggles. In Le Baie there was also a show where something like 400 of the locals volunteered to perform the history of the town for the tourists. It was free for crew but I didn't know about it until I was standing on the gangway welcoming people back on board (yes, that’s part of my job). Apart from discussing the contents of their Dollarama shopping bags, a number of crew members told me about the crazy show they had seen and the stories became more elaborate each time. Apparently the show also included about six live horses (four of which were on the stage at the same time) pigs, an entire flock of gees, a real cannon blast (obviously without the ball) and a (probably uninsured) lady on fire. I need to go back to Le Baie! 

7. Great frolicking locations. 
Charlottetown is beautiful. It’s on Prince Edward Island which is where Anne of Green Gables is set (that’s their thing). The point is: It’s very green and gabley. (What is a gable anyway?)

Charlottetown

The public gardens in Halifax were so much more beautiful than most of the national botanical gardens that charge entrance fees that I have visited. I went there with my latin mafia friends and educated them on the art of frolicking. 

Canada cruise highlights


Halifax

If anyone would like lessons, my services are free, you just have to pay transport (...to Canada). 

Bar Harbor


8. Public art
I always appreciate some nice street art. Here's a sampling of some: 

Quebec

Halifax

Halifax

Halifax

Halifax

Sydney

Sydney

And some more:
Quebec

Quebec

Halifax

Canada cruise highlights
Halifax


In Charlottetown they also have a scavenger hunt type-thing where you can follow clues (found online) and find these little sculptures throughout the town:


(The mouse. The flamingo is mine. He’s just there for scale.)

I also liked that a number of our Canadian ports opted for rainbow crossings instead of zebra ones - because unicorns trump their monochrome distant relatives.

 

9. Pretty churches
As you know Rodrigo is very religious (See here) so we visited a lot of pretty old churches together.


Fredericton


Halifax

Le Baie


Quebec (the other Notre Dame) 

10. You can see whales
(I didn’t, but apparently some people saw something that they think was one.)

12. Get a break from those warm island destinations (a.k.a freeze your balls off)
Some ports were colder than others. Some nights we also had fog. In all my years of working on ships I had never heard the fog horn before. - It even felt like we were on a ship!

12. An abundance of oversized things to pose with.
In Sydney, they have the world’s biggest fiddle …and pretty much nothing else. - Wait! That’s not true. In Sydney, they have the world’s largest fiddle, a Dollarama and pretty much nothing else. If you have enough granola bars in your cabin then once you have taken your #worldslargestfiddleselfie right on the pier, you can pretty much get straight back on board:

Canada cruise highlights
#worldslargestfiddleselfie 

In Charlottetown, they don’t have a fiddle but they have a giant lobster that you can play with:


Le Baie came to the party with these giant lollipops/drum sticks: 
(You’ve probably noticed how much I like playing with forced perspective?)


And even though Quebec City had enough spectacle, they also have a giant paper airplane: 
(I would fly home but I can’t find a high enough point for take off.)


Halifax also had this:
I’m not entirely sure what it is but when I figure it out I’ll know whether or not it’s oversized.


13. And unicorns, obviously
I’m going to assume that it’s something they adopted from the British / Scottish, but Canadians also have a unicorn in their coat of arms so I went looking for them and eventually found some: 



In other news:

Rodrigo’s effing eyes 
So, to recap Rodrigo’s eye situation:
He left South Africa with one replacement eye for his eye that he either lost in Norway or on a Virgin Atlantic flight, and one eye tattoo that he got from his rescuers that time he was nearly compacted and recycled in Germany in 2015, but somewhere on the flight from Doha to Boston he lost his replacement eye and has been looking creepy ever since. Then some guests donated him a new eye that they were using to decorate a rubber duck for a duck race they were having on board (guests are interesting), but I couldn’t find super glue and the “stick-em” I used only worked temporarily and he lost it in Bermuda.

When we got to Canada, the Youth Counsellors were making him feel self-conscious about it, well, they made me feel self-conscious for him about it (he doesn’t feel anything) and so I asked them if they had any bobble eyes in the youth centre. They did and I ended up with about four incomplete sheets of different kinds. So I chose a pair (with lids, he’s never had eyelids) and stuck them on. - Yes, for the first time in two years I covered up the eye tattoo. I didn’t use the best glue (just what I could find in the office), but when these ones come off I’ve got more. 



14 cruises down, 11 more to go
Number of World War II veterans I have met lately: 3



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Sharon Waugh

Sharon is a writer, cruise ship entertainment host and freelance unicorn wrangler, living it up on the high seas. She also likes to photograph a plastic lawn flamingo in exotic locations because it seemed like a good idea 10 years ago and 53 countries later, it’s probably too late to turn back now.

 Sharon greatly dislikes reading “travel blogs” by people who are just rephrasing press releases or composing lists like “15 ways to travel the world for cheap”, specifically formulated for SEO, with absolutely no evidence that the writer has ever left their bedroom. (This is not one of those blogs.) Sharon also dislikes bigotry and referring to herself in first person, apparently.

To find out more about Sharon and Rodrigo’s travel aspirations read this.