Sunday, October 12
Sunny, windy 50’s
Quebec City Day 2
We were really feeling the effects of doing a lot of walking the previous day, and decided to take a taxi rather than the funicular to the upper level of Vieux-Quebec.
Our first stop was the Chateau Frontenac. What we saw was very elegant. It was obvious that most of the people in the public areas were not staying there because they were looking around and taking it in just as we were.
From there we took a walk along the boardwalk to the citadel on the Plain of Abraham. We took one look at the steps, all 300 of them, and knew we would not be doing that.
The view down the river was gorgeous.
We then took a stroll down the “Artist Alley” and found a print we liked, but the size we wanted was sold out. Decided we think about it for a while.
Our next stop was a Christmas shop. I love buying unique Christmas ornaments for our granddaughter and some times for other family members. We made a couple purchases there. That transaction took place totally in French.
We went back to “Artist Alley”. The artist had just dropped off more of the print that we liked and in the size we wanted. For years we having buying a piece of art work as a souvenir of our trip.
Our next stop was Place de L’Hotel de Ville (City Hall). There was a stunning display of fall flowers and figures in the courtyard in front of it. This is also the site of a clock that was a gift from Switzerland. It is in a climate controlled glass tower.
We continued to just explore. When we were walking up the hill to get a taxi at the Chateau, Paul had to stop because he was getting short of breath. I just assumed it was because we were doing a lot more walking than we we’d done is a while. I should have been worried.
It took a while to get a taxi back to the ship. Our departure time was 3:00 with passengers on board by 2:45. We made it back with time to spare.
Quebec City was our favorite port. It was like being in France. The city is beautiful, clean, and has a very, very low crime rate. We’d love to go back.
Entertainment on board was a very elaborate production show. The costuming was gorgeous and the sets remarkable. The singers and dancers were outstanding.
Monday, October 13
We traveled the St. Lawrence River to the Saguenay River to the city of Saguenay.
This morning Paul said he was not feeling well. We decided that I should go get breakfast from Café Al Bacio and bring it back to the cabin. I rounded up our breakfast and asked for a tray. They were not allowed to have the trays leave the café. I had no good way to carry this stuff. I put the pastry bags in my pockets thinking if they get smashed--too bad. I had a cup of hot coffee and a cup of hot tea in my hands. I was hoping I could get back to the cabin without having to put them down. Elevator buttons were pushed with my elbow. The next trick was getting back into the cabin with out spilling anything. Just as I opened the door the cap came off the coffee cup, and I spilled some coffee on the carpet outside our room. Some how the pastry survived unscathed.
We talked about Paul going to the medical center. He did not want to go while we were in port because he didn’t want to end up in “a Canadian hospital in some back water town.” Saguenay is far from a backwater town.
He encouraged me to go on the tour we had booked. I did go with much trepidation.
On arrival in Saguenay, there were people in in costume waving to the ship’s passengers as they disembarked the tender. There was a man also in costume wearing wool gloves and shaking hands with everyone and saying “Welcome to Sagné”. (Local pronunciation). As you walked past him there were women in costume handing out slices of blueberry pie.
None of tours offered by Celebrity had any appeal for us. We booked our tour with
Tours Avanture Fjord et Monde, Inc.
I found them on Trip Advisor with stellar reviews. I also would highly recommend this tour company.
Before we left we received an itinerary showing the travel time to each site and how long we would be at each place. There was a lot of travel time but a lot was included in the tour. There was interesting commentary as we were traveling.
Our guide was a cute young man from New Brunswick. His first language is French. He also told us that his girl friend was the daughter of our bus driver. Our guide is an actor. He and his girl friend are trying to start a regional theater in Saguenay
Our first stop was at a red aluminum pyramid that is a tribute to the aluminum industry in Saguenay. From there you could see a huge flock of snow geese in the river. I would guess that there well over one hundred birds
The annual exposition of nativity scenes has just opened. The scenes ranged from very sophisticated to folk art.
In Anse St. Jean we stopped to see a covered bridge. The inside of the bridge is used for a display of regional artists. There are a number of historical homes on Rue de Faubourg. The owners take great pride in them, and they each have a plaque saying when the house was built. They are allowed to use only 20% modern materials when updating the house. Most were a charming cottage style with beautiful landscaping.
On our way to the next stop, our guide went into a bakery and came out with “a surprise for you.” Despite its name “Nuns Fart” it was delicious. Our guide said the name related to the French word “prêt.” He said it means quick. It doesn’t. Apparently the nuns needed something quick and easy to do with their left over pie dough. The pastry is pie dough, butter and sugar. It is rolled into small rounds and put in a pie tin to bake.
Next we went to Anse de Tabatiere a national park. We visited the Fjord which is considered the 7th most beautiful view in Canada. The reviews on Trip Advisor all said that this was an easy walk from the bus. It is not. I was okay on the dirt trails, but found climbing on big granite rocks to be difficult especially when there was nothing to grab or when going down hill. At one point I hesitated because I wasn’t sure how I was going to get down the rocks without falling. One of the women on the tour asked if I could use some help. When I told her yes she offered me her arm. I gladly accepted.
Our last stop was the marina area of Anse St. Jean. There were boutiques and craft shops as well as a coffee shop, etc. I needed change to tip the guide and the bus driver.
I went into one of the shops and bought some postcards. I asked if US was okay? (I knew it was). The shop owner said she liked American money and asked me if I knew why. I smiled and said, “Yes I do.” This transaction was mix of French and English.
The tour was 4 ½ hours. It went by really fast except when I was worrying about Paul.
Back at the ship, I hadn’t had lunch, so ordered room service.
By then the infirmary was open for their afternoon and evening hours. We went to Deck 1 and were surprised at the size of the infirmary. The Summit always has 2 nurses and 1 doctor on board. After the nurse took blood pressure and made a record of Paul’s symptoms. etc,. he saw the doctor. He had blood tests, a chest x-ray and an EKG that showed he was in atrial fibrillation. He was also retaining too much fluid. Thank goodness he didn’t try to go on our excursion.
The doctor gave him the appropriate medications. He’d walked to the infirmary but was not permitted to walk back to our cabin. Our room attendant wheeled him back in a wheel chair. He also picked him up the next morning and wheeled him to the infirmary.
He was permitted to walk back to the cabin after the doctor saw him. The doctor wanted to see him on an almost daily basis for the rest of the cruise. Paul came home with a12 page medical report and paper from the EKG for our doctor.
Neither of us felt like going to the show or to dinner in the main dining room. We ordered room service and spent some time watching TV.
We had a chance to chat with our room attendant when he was transporting Paul. He told us that he has worked for Celebrity for 11 years.
Tuesday, October 14th
At Sea Day
Clocks turned forward 1 hour
Other than going to the infirmary, I cannot remember what we did.
The show tonight was Mark Preston who was a member of the Letterman. It was a very enjoyable show.
Wednesday, October 15
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Paul was feeling better but still not up to going on an excursion. Once again I headed out by myself. I did feel better about going this time since I knew he would get himself to the infirmary if needed.
The excursion was our complimentary one from Distinctive Voyages. We had booked the Historic Halifax tour through the ship. Cancelling was quick and easy--no questions asked.
I thought we would be just a small group. I was surprised to see the number of people in the conference room. I was even more surprised to see 4 buses. The buses did not travel together. Ours made a stop at the cemetery where some victims of the Titanic are buried. Apparently it was not a planned stop. The host from Distinctive Voyages was on our bus, and she was taken by surprise. The tombstones are laid out in the shape of the ship’s hull with an opening where the iceberg would have hit the ship. It was very interesting, but I thought a little too much time was spent there.
From there it was on to Peggy’s Cove.
When we arrived we were sent to a restaurant that was at the back of a gift shop to have ginger bread and coffee or tea. I was in line to be seated with the rest of our group. The hostess not too pleasantly told me to wait that she needed to seat ”these people. “ Then she called for people on our bus. I told her I was on that bus.
She looked shocked and apologized.
After the gingerbread I walked around taking photos.
I thought that I had seen large granite boulders in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maine. They didn’t even come close to the size of ones at Peggy’s Cove. This little fishing village is very scenic with the rocks, the lighthouse, and the fishing piers, but it is also very much a tourist trap.
We headed back to Halifax and our guide made another unplanned detour to show us an interesting historical site. By that time something from the gingerbread was not agreeing with me and all I wanted to do was get back to ship.
The people of Halifax not only took care of victims of the Titanic, they took care of people whose planes had been grounded there on 9/11 by taking them into their homes.
I think out guide might have been a retired history teacher because he was so well informed and presented things in an interesting way.
I didn’t have any lunch and was feeling better by dinner time.
I talked Paul into seeing Dan Wilson, a standup comedian. Again we were glad we went. He was so funny and so on target. His humor dealt with aging (definitely an older crowd on this cruise) and cruising.
Dinners this week have been excellent.
Thursday, October 16
Cloudy with rain predicted 50’s
Clocks turned back 1 hour
Paul was feeling better today and joined me on our excursion. We had booked Portland Horse Drawn Wagon City Tour so it was not very strenuous. We went through some beautiful residential areas in Portland that were off limits to the tour buses.
Our guide had a seat in the wagon and used a microphone. The carriage was driven and managed by a husband wife team.
We stopped at a fountain that had originally been built to water the horses. It was also a photo op. I had to laugh because one horse not only drank out of the fountain but made sure his head was in the stream of water. These horses were Belgian Draft Horses.
We made one other stop for photos then headed back to the ship. Our guide pointed out good restaurants for lunch and dinner. We couldn’t get in the one we originally thought we’d go to. Instead we went to the Dry Dock Restaurant that was very close to the ship. We were glad we did. We had some of the best New England clam chowder that we’d ever had. That was followed by lobster rolls.
We went back to the ship and rested until show time. David James Guidice was the featured entertainer. His whole program was Billy Joel songs. We didn’t think we were crazy about Billy Joel, but realized during the performance there were a lot of songs that he wrote that we do like.
At the Secrets of the Pastry Chef presentation, the woman next to me said that during a galley tour they had been told that they would be buying lobster in Portland so that it would be fresh when it was served.
Tonight was lobster night. Paul and I were both expecting lobster tails. We were very surprised when we were served a whole lobster minus the head. The tail meat had been loosened. You were on your own with the claws. When I was working on my Diane said, “Susan you really seem to know how to do that.” I told her that my grandfather was born and raised in Boston and had a summer home in New Hampshire. When we visited him, the last night we were there we always had a lobster feast, so I had lots of experience.
Part of my dinner was spent showing people how to get the meat out of the claws and what not to eat. I was polite and didn’t suck the meat out of the small claws like we used to do at my grandfather’s. What a great treat that dinner was.
Friday, October 17
Drizzle and cool in the morning cloudy in the after noon. 50’s
3rd Formal Night
We had booked Bar Harbor by Land and Sea. When we found out our meeting time was 7:15 AM and it was going to be raining we cancelled it.
A few years ago when we were staying in the Bar Harbor area, we tried to go out on the same schooner that was part of this tour 3 times. It was cancelled 3 times because of weather. I guess we are just not supposed sail on this schooner.
Because we were familiar with Bar Harbor we took a leisurely stroll. We had lunch on the heated terrace of the Cherry Stones Restaurant. I don’t remember what we had to eat. I do remember that it was good. That is very unusual for me. Paul claims that I remember every meal we have ever eaten out. Obviously I don’t.
The show in the Celebrity Theater was “Stars in Their Eyes.” The show was put together by the Celebrity Production Singers and Dancers to pay tribute to legendary stars and their music. There was a good range of genres.
We had an 8:30 reservation at the Normandie Restaurant one of the extra cost venues. This was an elegant meal in an elegant setting. Much of the decoration came from the old ship the Normandie. There were 2 bronze friezes on the wall. The other 2 are in the Metropolitan Musuem in New York. We were told that they are worth $2 million each. The lighting fixtures in the ceiling were from the Normandie and a mirrored area was also from the ship.
Our dinner started with an Amuse Bouche. That was a tiny serving of salmon mousse with caviar. Paul had lobster bisque and I had a goat cheese soufflé for appetizers. We both had tenderloin of veal for our main course. That was followed by a cheese course. A huge server was wheeled to our table. When we couldn’t decide what we wanted, the waiter suggested that he give us a slice of each to share. There was cheddar from Spain. All of the rest were from France. As I remember there was a total of about 10 cheeses. We were then given the dessert menu. When we saw Valrhona chocolate cake there was no decision to be made. We were told the Valrhona chocolate is considered the best in the world. We told the waiter and maitre ‘d that we had been to their factory 2 years ago. The meal ended with complimentary petit fours. We didn’t even try them because we had enjoyed the cake. It was a very thin layer of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse topped with a chocolate ganache.
I’d asked our waiter several times if he would take our picture when he was not busy. (There were few people in the restaurant). He never seemed to find the time, but the maître ‘d did. He took several photos of us in the restaurant. When he saw us outside the restaurant looking a photos of the Normandie he offered to take more photos. One is just the 2 of us. The other included the sign for the restaurant.
We’d certainly go back to the Normandie if we are ever on the Summit again
Saturday, October 18
At Sea Day
The usual reading, sleeping relaxing in one the ship lounges.
We also needed to get packed and have our luggage out by midnight.
The show tonight was A Voyage to Remember. It featured special performances by Mark Preston (The Lettermen), David James Guidice (did more than Billy Joel tonight) and Dan Wilson who was just a funny this time as the first time.
At the end of the show the cruise director did a humorous reminder to keep clothes out for the next day. He mentioned several humorous situations that had really happened.
Sunday, October 19
Disembarkation was swift and efficient. Getting on the shuttles was not. Again that high step. Getting on wasn’t as much as a problem as getting off. I put my leg out to step down and could not reach the pavement. As I’m thinking how the h**** am I going to get off this thing without falling, the attendant put his hand under my arm and literally lifted me off the shuttle.
We claimed our bags and went through customs. Then we went off to find our limo driver. We had some problems connecting because I forgot to turn my cell phone on. I rarely use it. I called the limo service to tell them that we could not find him. I got their answering service since it was Sunday. He had to call the owner at home so the driver could find us. We finally did connect and had a smooth ride home. The driver had left me a voice message that I didn’t receive until we were actually in the car.
This cruise hit all the places that we had talked about driving to and never go around to doing . All of the ports were interesting and attractive
We wondered if 14 days would be too long. It was not and went by very quickly.
We’d had some help in deciding what cruise to book. A couple that is from New Brunswick, Canada is in Florida at the same time we are. She was a great help in making suggestions. Because of her suggestions we choose to do the cruise that went to Saguenay Quebec rather than Corner Brook, New Foundland. It was a good choice.
We most definitely can recommend this cruise.
The first day of the cruise Paul discovered his video cam was no longer working, so I got to do all of the photography. I will post a link to photos from this trip when I get them uploaded.