Holland America Cruise Exploring the Northeast

Sharael Kolberg
11 min readNov 6, 2023

Holland America cruise takes passengers on a 7-day exploration of the Northeast, from Boston to Quebec. Cruising has long been a favored way to explore the world, offering a unique blend of relaxation, adventure, and exploration. This cruise provides an unforgettable journey through the picturesque landscapes of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. On this journey, passengers will have the chance to visit several fascinating ports, enjoy a plethora of onboard activities, savor exquisite dining options, and be entertained in style. Here, we will take you through the highlights of this incredible voyage.

Pre-Cruise Luxury Stay: Fairmont Copley Plaza

Images courtesy of Fairmont Copley Plaza

If you arrive in Boston the night before the departure of your 7-day Holland America cruise from Boston to Quebec, stay at the iconic Fairmont Copley Plaza, which is conveniently located near the Boston cruise terminal. This exquisite hotel, located in the heart of Boston, offers the perfect blend of luxury, comfort, and historic charm to kickstart your cruise adventure. When it’s time to embark on your Holland America cruise, you can enjoy a stress-free transition from the hotel to the ship, ensuring that your vacation begins with ease and elegance.

Day 1: Holland America Cruise Staterooms

The journey begins in the historic city of Boston, known for its rich cultural heritage and iconic landmarks. After boarding the Holland America cruise ship, passengers are welcomed to their staterooms. These cabins offer a range of options, from interior rooms for those looking for a cozy retreat to luxurious suites with private verandas. The rooms are designed for comfort and relaxation, featuring modern amenities, elegant decor, and breathtaking ocean views. Whether you’re a solo traveler or embarking on a romantic getaway, you’ll find a stateroom that suits your preferences.

On-Board Activities

As the ship sets sail, passengers can start their cruise experience with a wide array of activities. Holland America provides opportunities for enrichment and relaxation. You can attend educational workshops, art exhibitions, or unwind in the spa and fitness center. The Greenhouse Spa & Salon offers a variety of rejuvenating treatments, from massages to facials, allowing you to unwind in style.

Day 2: Bar Harbor, Maine

The first port of call on this Holland America cruise is the charming town of Bar Harbor, Maine. Nestled on Mount Desert Island, it’s a delightful destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a laid-back coastal experience. Passengers have the option to explore the picturesque Acadia National Park, a haven for hikers, with its towering granite peaks, serene lakes, and lush forests. For a more leisurely experience, you can take a scenic drive along the Park Loop Road, admiring the stunning coastline and taking in the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Shore Excursion: Acadia National Park & Panoramic Bar Harbor

America offers a range of shore excursions, providing passengers with opportunities to explore each port. In Bar Harbor, you can choose from hiking and biking adventures, kayak tours, and even lobster boat tours, where you can learn about the local lobster fishing industry and savor freshly caught lobster.

Bar Harbor is a gateway to the stunning Acadia National Park, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The “Acadia National Park & Panoramic Bar Harbor” excursion is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in the park’s breathtaking landscapes. This tour will take you to some of the park’s highlights, including Cadillac Mountain, where you can take in panoramic views of the surrounding beauty.

On-Board Dining on the Holland America Cruise

Throughout the Holland America cruise, passengers can indulge in exquisite dining experiences. Holland America is known for its exceptional culinary offerings. The main dining room serves a diverse menu, offering both traditional favorites and international cuisine. Passengers can also choose from specialty dining venues that include Italian, steakhouse, and Asian fusion restaurants, each offering a unique culinary experience.

Day 3: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a vibrant city with a rich maritime history. Its charming waterfront offers a blend of historical sites and modern attractions. One must-visit spot is the iconic Peggy’s Cove, famous for its picturesque lighthouse perched on a rugged granite shoreline. Explore the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to learn about the city’s maritime heritage and the tragic history of the Titanic.

Peggy’s Cove and Double-Decker Hop-On, Hop-Off

America offers a diverse selection of shore excursions in Halifax, including city tours, coastal hikes, and visits to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where many Titanic victims are buried. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample traditional Nova Scotian cuisine, such as fresh seafood and buttery lobster rolls.

The “Peggy’s Cove and Double-Decker Hop-On, Hop-Off” excursion combines the iconic Peggy’s Cove visit with a convenient way to explore the city. At Peggy’s Cove, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque lighthouse perched on rugged granite shores. Afterward, you can hop on a double-decker bus to explore the highlights of Halifax, from historic sites to local attractions, all while enjoying the freedom to hop on and off at your leisure.

Day 4: Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney, Nova Scotia, is a captivating port with a rich Celtic heritage. The island is home to a lively culture and scenic beauty. Explore the historic heart of Sydney and take in the vibrant local music scene.

Baddeck on Your Own

Holland America offers various shore excursions, including visits to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and the breathtaking Cape Breton Highlands with the famous Cabot Trail. You can also immerse yourself in the Celtic culture by attending traditional ceilidhs, a lively gathering with music, dance, and storytelling.

The “Baddeck on Your Own” excursion provides you with the freedom to explore this charming town at your own pace. Baddeck is the gateway to the Cape Breton Highlands, and you can take the opportunity to explore the town, visit local shops and museums, and perhaps even savor some delicious local cuisine. This excursion allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the warmth of the people in this region.

Day 5: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, is a place of historical significance and natural beauty. It is famously known as the birthplace of Canada. Passengers can explore the city’s rich history or stroll along the picturesque waterfront.

Holland America Cruise Shore Excursions

Holland America offers a range of shore excursions, including visits to the Green Gables Heritage Place, exploring the island’s stunning beaches, and culinary experiences that showcase Prince Edward Island’s famous mussels and lobster.

While on Prince Edward Island, visit Edward Island Preserve Company,Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers, Cavendish Scenic Look Out, and Fin Folk Food.

Holland America Cruise On-Board Entertainment

Evenings on the ship are filled with entertainment options. Passengers can enjoy live music performances, comedy shows, and Broadway-style productions in the ship’s theater. The casino offers a place for some gaming excitement, while the lounges provide a more relaxed atmosphere for sipping cocktails and socializing.

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Day 6: Cruising the Gulf of St. Lawrence

On the sixth day of the Holland America cruise, the ship continues to cruise the Gulf of St. Lawrence, providing passengers with ample time to relax and take in the scenic views. During this day at sea, Holland America offers a wide range of onboard activities to keep passengers entertained, from culinary workshops and wine tastings to live music performances and fitness classes. Passengers can also take advantage of the ship’s many amenities, including the casino, the onboard shops, and the library.

Day 7: Quebec

The journey concludes in the historic city of Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a treasure trove of Canadian history and culture. Explore the charming Old Town, with its cobblestone streets and historic architecture and savor the French-inspired cuisine at local bistros.

Walking Tour of Old Quebec

The cruise concludes in the historic city of Quebec. Passengers can choose from a variety of shore excursions to enhance their experience. Some options include city tours that highlight the city’s rich history, culinary tours to taste Quebec’s famous poutine and maple syrup, and visits to Montmorency Falls for breathtaking natural beauty.

One of the best ways to explore its unique charm is through a “Walking Tour of Old Quebec.” This excursion will take you through the cobblestone streets and historic architecture of Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guide will provide fascinating insights into the city’s rich history and culture as you explore iconic landmarks. This walking tour allows you to truly immerse yourself in the heart of this magnificent city.

Touring Île d’Orléans

Quebec features a hidden gem — Île d’Orléans, just a short distance from Quebec City. Here, you can embark on a delightful shore excursion that takes you on a gourmet adventure, with stops at Île de Bacchus, Tigidou Jam Factory, and Cassis Monna & Filles. Start your journey at Île de Bacchus, a charming winery where you’ll discover the island’s unique terroir and sample local wines. Next, visit the Tigidou Jam Factory to explore the world of artisanal jams, jellies, and preserves. Finally, conclude your culinary exploration at Cassis Monna & Filles, where you’ll learn about cassis liqueur production and enjoy tastings of cassis-based delights. This gourmet tour allows you to savor the flavors of Quebec while enjoying the island’s serene beauty.

Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

To make your visit to Quebec even more memorable, indulge in a refined experience with afternoon tea at the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. This stately and historic hotel, perched atop the city’s Old Town, offers a picturesque setting for an afternoon of relaxation and indulgence. With breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and an ambiance that exudes timeless elegance, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac provides the perfect backdrop for your tea experience. Savor a selection of fine teas, along with an array of delectable pastries, sandwiches, and scones served with clotted cream and jam. As you enjoy your tea, take in the regal surroundings and soak in the history that permeates this grand hotel.

Extended Stay at Auberge St-Antoine Relais & Châteaux

Extend your time in Quebec with an overnight stay at the luxurious Auberge St-Antoine Relais & Châteaux. This exquisite boutique hotel is renowned for its impeccable service, attention to detail, and distinctive charm. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, this historic property seamlessly blends modern comforts with the character of a bygone era. Each room is uniquely designed and showcases a collection of artifacts and treasures from Quebec’s rich history. Staying at Auberge St-Antoine Relais & Châteaux offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s atmosphere, explore the charming streets, and enjoy the vibrant local culture.

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2024 Cruise Schedule

In 2024, this 7-Day Holland America cruise, aboard Zuiderdam, is available August through October, starting at $699 per person with interior room — does not include taxes, fees, port expenses, shore excursions, drink packages, Wi-Fi, crew tips or specialty dining.

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Disclosure: Cruise was provided by the Holland America, accommodation was provided by Auberge St-Antoine Relais & Châteaux, high tea was provided by Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in order to do my review, but all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.