Cruising Down the St. Lawrence


Before boarding the MS Maasdam, we spent three days in Montreal.  All my changes were there, beginning in Mtl’s Dorval airport where we landed and I worked in the weather office the summer after my freshman year at McGill.


Our first day was a long one, starting at 5:20am in order to be on time for an early Delta flight from the OC airport with a stop in Cincinnati.  The good news was that the shuttle stop was only a few blocks from our hotel.  The bad: Half of the shuttle buses were not in service.  Two other couples that had booked on the Maasdam were on our shuttle.


We selected La Presidence Deluxe Apartments to stay in based on reviews and were more than satisfied. Our corner suite on the 6th floor offered 180-degree views of the city below and the mountain above. Our rooms were clean and spacious and came with a microwave, coffee maker, and refrigerator. Our bed was firm and comfortable. Other pluses: plenty of towels; a helpful staff; access to swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and great smoked meat sandwiches at the Deli down the block.

Located next to the metro, one can easily get anywhere in the city. But the action on St. Denis is less than a five-minute walk away. (Tip: go up a block on St. Denis to Park St-Louis, then head through park along a restaurant pedestrian mall to St. Laurent.) It's also a five-minute walk to La Fontaine Park and only ten minutes to McGill University or to Old Town.




Our first day in Montreal, we walked to McGill University where we found Jochaim Lambek, my freshman mathematics professor, at work in his office.  Next we walked to Montreal’s Art Museum.  The two painting reproduced here are housed in the new after-my-time building.


Having a few minutes to kill we visited Ogilvie’s Department store, home to the $400 party dress.  Then it was to lunch with Stephen Roessler and his actress daughter Lina at the Ritz Carleton, where Steve says he’d often thought about dining as he walked each day to The High School.





























On our second day in Montreal, we took first the metro, and then a bus up to the top of the mountain after which we walked slowly down emerging on Mountain St.  Dorothy was much taken with the cemetery atop the mountain just above Beaver Lake.
















Our next stop was on Guy Street across from the redbrick home where, me mom told me, I was conceived on the second floor.



















Before we boarded the ship on Day 3, we walked from our hilltop hotel down into the old city where Dorothy made a new friend.



















Here is our Holland-America ship the MS Maasdam as photographed at the quay in Sydney NS.





















Shortly after 5pm we sailed under the Jaques Cartier Bridge.






















And on past the farms that line the south bank of the river.























By the next morning, when we reached Ville de Quebec, the temperature had dropped and 40 mph winds were blowing with gusts up to 60.  The police roped off the area in front of the Chateau Frontenac so that no one would be blown over the precipice.
















If you find yourself windblown and miserable in Ville de Quebec, do what the natives do and drop in at the Casse Crepe Breton for a bowl of hot chocolate and a crepe.


















By departure time, the winds had intensified and our Captain called for not one but two tugboats to move us safely away from the pier.

  (A word of praise for the Holland-American Captain who came on the PA frequently to let us know how things were going.)















Our next day aboard, was spent entirely on the river, now so wide one could not see the banks on either side. We did what all good cruisers do: Eat.




















The winds had almost but not quite died down by the time we reached Charlottetown PEI.  We passed on a tour of PEI’s innumerable potato farms.





















The weather was pleasant once more by the time we reached Sydney, Nova Scotia, a town best known as the site of Canada’s largest toxic waste dump.  We went to Glace Bay mainly because that is where the first bus out of town was headed.  The trip took us through the Maritime’s newest and most expensive public university, past shopping malls –home to many US chain stores, but no industry that we could see and no farms(!).  Glace Bay had a pleasant river walk and cooked lobsters for $6 each fresh off the boat.







A cold miserable, typical day in Halifax. Our first purchase was a pair of gloves.  We climbed to the citadel on the hilltop above the city and then scurried back to the warmth provided by the ship.


















By contrast, t’was a sunny day when we anchored in Bar Harbor.  We rented bicycles ashore and drove to and through the nearby Acadia national park where we saw a bushy-tailed deer but little else.


















Our cruise ended in Boston.  After parking our baggage at the South Street Bus Terminal, we spent the day on a CityView Trolley tour, had dimsum in a Chinese restaurant, and toured the Boston Aquarium (the latter is not recommended) before taking the T to the airport.