It has been over eight months since our Antarctica cruise on Celebrity Infinity. In the interim, we did two weekend trips, one to the Black Hills of South Dakota and a long weekend in Las Vegas at the splendid Mandarin Oriental hotel. We also lost our dear cat Ruby at the age of 19.5 years in early June and shortly after her passing we adopted two adorable black kittens who are now almost six months old. Our next long trip is almost here, which will be the first long trip away from the new kittens (Merry and Pippin).
On October 16, we fly from home to Toronto, Canada and pick up a rental car. Our first stop is at Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side), where we will spend one night at the Sheraton on the Falls. Neither of us has ever been to Niagara Falls so this will be fun. On October 17, we drive back to Toronto and spend one night at the posh Trump Tower (rated number one on TripAdvisor) and see a few sights in Toronto (hockey hall of fame, CN tower). The pre-cruise sightseeing continues on October 18, when we drive from Toronto to Montreal, hopefully with a short detour to Ottawa to see the Canadian capital. We will turn in the rental car when we get to Montreal and have two nights booked at Le Petit Hotel in Old Montreal (another highly touted hotel, albeit much smaller than the Trump Tower) and plan to spend Sunday, October 19, exploring the city of Montreal.
Our cruise begins on October 20 (my 59th birthday!) on Oceania Cruise Lines Regatta. Regatta is a sister ship to Nautica, the “R” ship we boarded in July, 2013, for the grand adventure with 10 days above the Arctic Circle. We cruised on Regatta in March, 2010 on a 12-day Caribbean sojourn, which was our first cruise on Oceania, and realized we really liked Oceania’s style and their amazing food. This upcoming 15-day cruise will be our fifth on this cruise line and our 25th overall. The “R” ships were built for Renaissance cruise lines, which went out of business, and these very cozy and lovely small ships (~700 passengers) ended up with Oceania, Regent, Azamara, and other cruise lines. We are in a concierge veranda (we think it is the same cabin we had on our cruise in 2010), which will be perfectly adequate. Oceania likes to name their cruises and we have used the names for some of the past trip categories, but we really don’t like the name of this cruise (“Radiant Retreats”), which sounds like it might be a tour of the Nevada Test Site.
The itinerary for this cruise is very unique. It is the last Canadian/New England fall foliage cruise of the season for Regatta and includes stops in Quebec City; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; New York City (overnight); St. George, Bermuda (overnight); and Charleston, South Carolina, before ending in Miami on November 4. We have been to Boston and New York, but every other destination is new, although we drove past Charleston in 2011 on our Southern Comfort trip and we have been to locations further south in Maine. I started a roll call for the cruise on Cruise Critic, but it has had very light traffic, so we did not plan any independent tours with other folks. We are doing six ship tours and one private tour in Halifax, and plan some other activities on our own in New York, Bermuda and Charleston.