Autumn in Eastern Canada with Holland America Line

Autumn in Eastern Canada is a beautiful time of year. The fall presents visitors with the colourful spectacle of the changing leaves as we enter the winter season. Feel the wind in your hair and soak up the beauty, with the leaves on the trees turning shades of orange, gold and red.

Our Holland America Line trip down the coast of Eastern Canada in the Fall started in Quebec, a beautiful French city that will sweep you away with its beauty and fabulous atmosphere. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel prior to the cruise, a stunning building set above the city with amazing views over the harbour.

Quebec City

This French city prides its self on its history and there are restuarants selling excellent cuisine: French soup and fabulous croissants make your mouth water as you look at the interesting menu and drink beautiful coffee. Set amongst beautiful architecture, this city is captivating.

At the iconic Hotel Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, eat the famous Maple Baba Cake or just enjoy the fine wines in the iconic Bar 1608. By chance, you may be sat next to Celeine Dion, Sting or even Paul McCartney who we understand have graced the seats in the 1608 Bar. The hotel which stands on the headland above the board walk, is an imposing building and is steeped in history. Many people just go there to take pictures of this beautiful building.

We had an all too short visit to Quebec City – it is worthy of a longer visit – before we set off on our Holland America Line cruise down the St Lawrence Seaway along the coast of Canada.

On board our ship

Holland America Line cruise lines are lovingly called the Dams. All the cruise ships are named with a Dam on the end of the name: Noordam, Volendam, Oosterdam and Westerdam are some examples. The Rotterdam is Holland America Line’s newest ship..

Holland America Line has been around for a long time, since 1873 to be exact and have transported travellers through two World Wars and taken migrant passengers from Holland to America. In 1971, Holland and America changed its passenger transportation to running cruise ships full time. Now the cruise line takes people all around the world on its fleet of ships.

Our cabin “home” for two weeks was on the Zuiderdam. It is a small ship compared to the “giants of the sea” that are now floating around the world. 1,950 passengers is the ship’s capacity, a comfortable, cosy hotel feel on the ship and it is good to meet up or just say hello to people around the ship, rather than on the bigger ship where you meet people once then never see them again for the rest of the cruise!

This ship was clean and well cared for with excellent and helpful staff. However, it did lack the glitz and glamour of the newer, bigger ships. No central atrium, no chandeliers, but this contributed to the ambience and traditional feel of this smaller ship.

The restaurants and buffet were good and the standard of food was excellent. Even though it was a smaller ship, some evenings you had to queue for your dinner table if you were on anytime dining. The specialist dining restaurant, the Pinnacle Grill is excellent but you do have to pay more for the experience.

Good entertainment each evening was provided from a comedian to the resident dancers plus the Rolling Stone lounge with the house band for live music and dancing. The age group of this particular cruise ship was mature and there wasn’t any late night disco, so if you are a “night owl” this isn’t the ship for you.

Eastern Canada’s coastal delights

Our cruise sailed to beautiful East Canadian towns, all with a charm of their own that transported us back in time as we walked among the colourful, painted, wooden buildings standing proud in the pretty towns.

Eat the famous fresh lobster rolls in Charlottestown, on Prince Edward Island and drink the local beer in Sydney, Cape Breton Island.

Walk on the Boardwalk at Halifax, Nova Scotia or go to visit Peggy’s Cove to see an outstanding, iconic lighthouse that has been photographed and painted many times and will be many more in the future. Its amazing light has inspired many painters over the years.

Take a bus ride around Portland, Maine, stop for an award winning chowder at one of the many restaurants and watch the world go by. These charming towns take you back in to the days gone by and still have the feel of a small town in the east when people knew one another and time stood still.

The busy port of Boston has a wealth of history and a Red Bus tour is a good way to get your bearings. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile long path taking visitors to 16 historic locations around the city. This is very popular, just follow the red brick road and enjoy the historic sites. You can get your maps and information from the cruise port. Don’t forget to visit the Cheers Bar or go to the Boston Tea Party ship and museum.

Our last stop was Port Canaveral and this is part of the American Dream. A walk on the beach in beautiful sunshine led us to a surfing competiton and a fish lunch on the pier. That was our experience but many people went to Cape Canaveral to see the Museum of Space and the launch pads for the Space experiments. We have visited the Cape Canveral experience before and it is well worth going on a cruise coach trip to this amazing place.

Our last stop was Miami where we disembarked. Some lucky people stayed there for a few days then flew home later.

Well, I will be “Dam”ed again with a cruise on the Holland America Line. This cruise line offers wonderful places to visit and there are lots of ships to choose from plus long and short journeys all over the world and that suits me fine. But the vision of the tapestry of changing leaves on the trees and the taste of the Canadian Maple syrup will stay with me forever.

Find out more

Our Silver Travel Advisors can give you a quote and book your Holland America Line Cruise. Call 0800 412 5678 for more information.

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Glynis Sullivan

Traveller and writer for Silver Travel Advisor

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