By Jean Strauber Travel Editor
Last week I described some of the Holland America, Canada and New England Cruises. This week I’d like to share with you some of the shore excursions that Holland America offers their guests. In Bar Harbor, Maine Holland America invites you to a Maine Lobster Bake Luncheon. For this exclusive tour, a uniformed chauffeur will pick you up at the pier area in a stretch limousine or a deluxe limo van to visit the Ocean Drive section of Acadia National Park.
You’ll also visit Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor to see Victorian “cottages’ that have been handed down from generation to generation, scenic Sergeant Drive, which skirts the only fjord on the east coast of North America. You’ll feast on a lobster bake with all the trimmings, including your choice of wine or beer, at one of Bar Harbor’s most beautiful setting overlooking Frenchman Bay. Another shore excursion offered by Holland-America when you visit Bar Harbor is a tour of the beautiful scenery of Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain. Here’s a chance for the cruise guest to learn about the world of the lobster fisherman.
Your tour includes a scenic drive along Park Loop Road which includes all the highlights of the Acadia National Parks Tour. You’ll view Thunder Hole where the right tidal conditions will send flumes of ocean spray high into the air. It also includes a visit to the summit of Cadillac Mountain (weather permitting) to marvel at an unusual 360 degree view of the coast. You’ll pass High Seas the stately cottage built for an English bride who booked passage on the ill-fated Titanic and sadly never was able to see her dream home. Other sights on your tour include Sand Beach, Otter Cliffs and Jordan Pond House where you can have tea on the lawn, as others have done for more than a century. You’ll then drive past Eagle Lake and the open ocean and crashing surf. You’ll visit the Oceanarium with its displays on the life cycle of the lobster, a talk by a lobster expert who will demonstrate the use of authentic traps, how these succulent creatures are caught. Your final visit will be to one of Bar Harbor’s last remaining summer mansions where your guide will share tales of a by-gone era when America’s wealthiest families made Bar Harbor their summer playground.
Another port where your Holland America ship will dock is Sagenuay, Canada. One shore excursion will appeal to the active vacationer and that is Sagenuay Sea Kayaking. You’ll first travel from the pier in La Baie to take a 45-minute scenic drive to the Parc National du Saguenay Interpretative Center where a safety briefing and paddling instruction will be given before you board a stable, two-person kayak equipped with easy rudder control. During your 1-1/2 hour paddle along Cape trinity you’ll view sheer cliffs and sandy beaches, may encounter marine life including seals sunbathing on the rocks or whales frolicking in the water. Minimum age is 8 years and previous kayak experience is not necessary.
Another shore excursion that Holland America offers its cruise guests is the La Fabuleuse Cultural Show, an exhilarating, live stage show. This odyssey features the history of Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean’s Kingdom from 1603 to the present. The show features 200 local actors, a host of animals and audiovisual displays. Following the show you will have the opportunity to go backstage. Holland-America offers shuttle service 45 minutes prior to the scheduled beginning of the show and will return you to the ship afterwards. A third shore excursion that is offered in Sagenuay is The Craftsman Road.
On this tour you’ll be able to discover artisans whose crafts date back generations. You’ll visit the Olivier Soaps Factory where the art of traditional soap making, the science of combining the essence of flowers, plants and olive oil, is used to create mild, biodegradable, long-lasting skin solutions. In addition you’ll see the glass-blowing workshop, one of the oldest art forms, where techniques used here originated in ancient Egypt and Syria a thousand years ago. Your final stop on this tour is the quaint Les Bergeries du Fjord farm to learn the principles of cheesed making.
The visitor will be able to enjoy and taste some of the cheese along with some local fruit wine. If your cruise ship docks in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, then you can have the opportunity to discover historic Charlottetown by an amphibious vehicle (a “duck”) that will take you through the heritage district of Charlottetown, passing some historic homes dating back to the early 1800s. After learning about Charlottetown’s origin and its place in the formation of modern-day Canada, you’ll splash into the water for a relaxing harbor cruise while your guide shares some fascinating historical fact and folklore.
For more information about these and other Holland-America Canada/New England shore excursions consult your travel professional or me at firstname.lastname@example.org.