The Coast Is Clear
By Georgina Cruz
For us who live on the Treasure Coast, the pleasures of coastal voyages are as clear as the coasts they hug: varied scenery; multiple ports to discover the culture and flavors of a region, but unpacking only once; sheltered waters (ideal for cruisers who do not yet have their sea legs); and the realization that although you are wandering, you are never far from land.
I have enjoyed this type of voyage on several occasions including Inside Passage cruises in Alaska and on the East Coast of the U.S. visiting treasures like Savannah and Charleston on a cruise from Port Canaveral to New York. My most recent coastal voyage was on the all-suite Silver Whisper of Silversea Cruises, a 28,258-ton, 382-guest vessel. I was glad I chose this ship for my 11-day cruise from New York to Montreal, visiting Canadian gems like Quebec City and Halifax, and hugging the East Coast of the U.S. from the Big Apple to Rockland, Maine with frequent stops (10 days in ports of call out of the 11-day voyage). I was glad because the ship offers an abundance of opportunities to enjoy the views of a coastal voyage.
In addition to expanses of open decks with lounge areas where you would often find me whale-watching (I spotted a pod of right whales!) and taking in the daytime scenery, there were many other opportunities to watch the coast go by. Two of the ship’s restaurants, La Terrazza and Hot Rocks Grill are outdoors or offer indoor/outdoor seating, a welcome feature on any cruise, but particularly so on a coastal voyage, where varied views of passing scenery and ports of call are abundant.
Some port highlights during my journey along the U.S. East Coast and Canada included:
- The Cliff Walk trail and a visit to tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s The Breakers Gilded Age mansion in Newport, R.I. – This is a must-see, with New England’s rocky coast and powerful surf on one side of the trail, and on the other, Newport’s “cottages,” the mansions of the rich and powerful. A self-guided tour inside the 70-room Gilded Age The Breakers mansion, set on a 13-acre estate, showed me its Italian Renaissance interior with its opulent décor inspired on 16th century Italian palaces.
The Freedom Trail in Boston
- This was like a walk back to colonial times and revolutionary history. A 2.5-mile trail marked by a red line on the city’s streets, it leads to historic churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, a ship – the USS Constitution –and more. Among many highlights is the visit to Paul Revere’s House and the Old North Church of “one if by land, two if by sea” fame. Paul Revere’s House, dating from around 1680, is now a museum and the oldest structure remaining in downtown Boston. Revere and his family lived here when he made his famous ride to Lexington on April 18-19, 1775 that would be immortalized by Longfellow in his poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
An organized ship-bought tour while in Rockland, Maine
- It featured a 45-minute orientation drive through Rockland, with its bustling main street and its Breakwater Lighthouse in the distance. The tour passed by Rockport, one of Maine’s most beautiful harbors, before visiting the summit of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park for panoramic views of Penobscot Bay and Mountains, the quaint town of Camden and islands peppering the bay. It was a clear day, so the distant Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park, the highest point along the northern Atlantic seaboard, was visible. The tour continued to Camden, a quintessential New England town nestled in a protected harbor between the sea and the rolling hills of coastal Maine. Free time allowed for browsing in the shops of Camden. Then it was on to the Samoset Resort for a traditional ‘Downeast’ lobster bake in a beautiful setting along the coast. On the menu: a whole lobster pulled fresh from Maine’s ocean water and drizzled with butter, along with mussels, fresh bread, coleslaw, potato, sweet corn-on-the-cob, and a piece of homemade blueberry cake or pie for dessert. Yum!
Old Town, Quebec City
- This is the only walled city in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985. I took in the Place Royale. With its stone buildings in the heart of town and North America’s oldest standing Catholic Church, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. Other points of interest included the castle-like Chateau Frontenac and Le Quartier Petit Champlain, a pedestrian-only area with narrow cobblestone streets filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and entertainers including strolling musicians, jugglers and other performers.
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
- About an hour away from Halifax on St. Margaret Bay. Peggy’s Cove is a picture-postcard-perfect fishing village. It has quaint buildings, lobster traps and the most photographed lighthouse in the Canadian Maritimes. A beauty in marshmallow-white and red colors that sits on a rocky promontory facing the sea.
Scenic cruising along the Saguenay River
- In the dramatic Saguenay Fjord with its 1,500-ft. high cliffs, a sight awaited: a 33-foot statue of Notre Dame du Saguenay with the Madonna perched on Cape Trinity. The “Ave Maria” was played in the outer decks of the Silver Whisper as the ship passed the statue of the Virgin Mary, in praise of the patroness of the fjord.
In the embarkation/disembarkation cities many points of interest also awaited. In New York City some guests opted for a pre-cruise hotel stay for opportunities to tour legendary Broadway, Trinity Church, Wall Street with its iconic “Charging Bull” statue, the New York Stock Exchange and the World Trade Center, with the moving 9/11 Memorial. Needless to say, everyone was up on deck as we sailed out of New York with the Big Apple’s dramatic skyline lit up dazzlingly. In Montreal, a tour of the city ending at the airport took in points of interest including Notre Dame Basilica, a neo-Gothic masterpiece building in 1829, with an impressive façade and opulent interior of carved wood adorned with gold leaf.
What can I say? I hope to do it again soon –the coast is clear, after all!
Information: The Silver Whisper roams the world. This fall and winter she will explore Canada/New England, South America, the Caribbean, Trans-Canal, Hawaii and French Polynesia among other destinations. Visit: www.silversea.com.
This is the link to photo folder: