Hot on the heels of our Mediterranean adventure aboard Windstar Cruises’ Wind Star that saw us travel from Rome to Nice comes our next adventure here on From the Deck Chair: a weeklong journey through the Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, beginning Wednesday, September 4!

Be sure to visit beautiful Peggy's Cove while in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Peggy’s Cove, near Halifax, is indicative of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Photo © Aaron Saunders

There’s one quirk with this next Live Voyage Report: except for a short jaunt between Provinces aboard the MV Princess of Acadia, this trip is entirely land based. However, there’s still plenty of fun to be had as we criss-cross two Provinces and explore the Alexander Graham Bell museum, partake in a whale watching trip, tour two distilleries, and take in the beautiful countryside.

We’ll also be experiencing five distinctive hotel properties: the Westin Nova Scotian; Liscombe Lodge; Keltic Lodge; Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa; and the Algonquin Resort. Each of these has something unique to offer, along with locations that are nestled within some of the best scenery the Maritimes have to offer. I’m particularly excited about the entire journey, as even as a Canadian, I have only visited Halifax and Saint John, New Brunswick in the past.

Everything else is entirely new to me.

Those who haven’t been to Canada before might be surprised at just how long it takes to cross from one end of this country to the other. My journey with Air Canada from Vancouver to Halifax will involve taking a red-eye from Vancouver to Montreal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport, then connecting on to Halifax Stanfield Airport in the early morning hours. Total elapsed time: just under eight hours.

Halifax, Nova Scotia. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Halifax, Nova Scotia. Photo © Aaron Saunders

My journey home, from Saint John, New Brunswick, is even longer at 10 hours and 23 minutes via Toronto Pearson International Airport. That’s half an hour longer than it takes me to fly direct to Frankfurt, Germany. And – as a point of contrast – Saint John airport is so small that it is only serviced by Air Canada Express and Sunwing Airlines, while Toronto Pearson has flights operated by 75 different airlines.

But Canada’s Maritime Provinces are well worth the long journey, and on my adventure, I’ll get to criss-cross both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on a route that will take me from Halifax to Saint John.

The Farmer's Market in Saint John, New Brunswick - one of the oldest markets in Canada. Photo © Aaron Saunders

The Farmer’s Market in Saint John, New Brunswick – one of the oldest markets in Canada. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Here’s what’s going on, both on land and online:

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The most populous province of the four that make up Canada’s Maritime region, Nova Scotia is also the second-smallest province within Canada. It is four hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time, meaning the difference in time between it and Western Canada is equal to the time difference between the Province and London, England.

Nova Scotia is perhaps best known for the city of Halifax and nearby Peggy’s Cove, one of the most frequently-photographed spots in Atlantic Canada after New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy. But littered throughout the Province are numerous little towns and hamlets that provide a unique look at one of the oldest regions in Canada.

The Algonquin Resort recently reopened after a massive refurbishment. Photo courtesy of the Algonquin Resort.

The Algonquin Resort is set to reopen after a massive refurbishment. Photo courtesy of the Algonquin Resort.

A short ferry trip aboard the MV Princess of Acadia will whisk me to my final destination, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick. While I am excited about every destination along the way, it is perhaps the Algonquin Resort which I am looking most forward to. The recipient of a massive renovation project designed to return this crown jewel to her former glory, I’ve been given the opportunity to explore and stay at the hotel before it re-opens to the public later this year.

First opened in 1889 and featuring rooms that ranged in cost from $3 to $5 per day, the Algonquin has been a staple of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea for generations.  Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana stayed here on their visit to Canada in 1983, and the property is now the first Marriott Autograph Collection hotel in Canada.

So come along with me as I explore my own “backyard” for a change – here, on From the Deck Chair!

Our Live Voyage Report from Canada’s Maritimes begins on Wednesday, September 4!


5 Responses to Live Voyage Preview: Canadian Maritime Exploration

  1. Kalle Id says:

    This sounds very interesting, looking forward to reading about it!

    The east coast of Canada is a fascinating destination (from what I have read) and I’ve always through it could support a Hurtigruten-type destination-specific cruise service. Of course it would have to be less about providing transport and more (or perhaps entirely) about leisure cruising. And maybe not as many ships. But still, with the proper marketing it could certainly be done.

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Thanks Kalle!

      Interestingly, I’ve always thought the same about the Maritimes being a Hurtigruten-type destination. There seems to be reluctance to extend the Canada/New England season much beyond the standard September-November runs, and even then most of the Canadian ports aren’t featured as well as they could be. The weather there can get pretty bad in the winter, but I think if it was billed as an expedition-style adventure it would do quite well.

      • Kalle Id says:

        Shipping companies do seem a bit overtly cautious when it comes to expedition-style trips; there probably is a larger demand for them than what is offered, especially when it comes to “soft expedition” like things – again like the Hurtigruten. And as for the weather… well, it can also be very bad on the coast of Norway during the winter. The weather would really be just another part of the adventure.

        • Aaron Saunders says:

          You and I should start expedition cruises to Alaska during the winter months, then! A little bad weather doesn’t scare me…

          • Kalle Id says:

            Now there’s a thought!

            Or indeed winter cruising to just about any northernly locale. The Baltic could also be great with the sea actually frozen during the winter months. Of course you’d need an ice-reinforced ship for that…

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