Just Back from a Seabourn Cruise of Canada and New England

Our writer just returned from a 10-night cruise aboard Seabourn Quest.

You can meet a lot of interesting people on a cruise.

For example, years ago, I learned that the quiet, Hawaiian-shirt wearing, long-haired dude on my upscale cruise was the highly successful inventor of the wind surf board. Another time, I met a former CIA agent who was front and center during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And then there was the Princess of a major European country and her ladies in waiting—we danced together all night.

Seabourn Quest

Photo: Seabourn

Well, I just returned from a 10-night Canadian Maritimes & New England cruise on Seabourn Quest, a small, mostly-inclusive, ultra-luxury ship that carried us in comfort from large cities like Montreal and Quebec City to smaller, but equally intriguing, ports of call such as Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Again, I met the most interesting people.

Topping the list was Margaret Trudeau, former first lady of Canada and the mother of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The vivacious Vancouver native was on the Quest—her first cruise ever—to participate in the “Seabourn Conversation” series. She spoke to a full house about her life and her battle with bipolar disorder. Trudeau, the author of the bestseller Changing My Mind, speaks across Canada and the globe on what she likes to call “brain health.”

Throughout the cruise, the 440 guests on the Quest spent days exploring diverse ports: Montreal and Quebec City with their European-style Old Towns; the natural beauty of tiny Gaspe; the unique history of Saguenay; the friendliness of Prince Edward Island’s Charlottetown; bustling Halifax, Nova Scotia; and, just before disembarking in Boston, charming Bar Harbor, Maine.

Sunset in Quebec

Photo: iStock

Trudeau praised Canadians as “kind and peaceful” and with great “joie de vivre.”

In Montreal, the young, friendly staff at the historic, first-built, luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel, gladly shared their favorite restaurants and sights.

On a tour from Quebec City into the countryside to visit Montmorency Falls, and a “sugar shack,” where maple tree sap is made into maple syrup, maple candy and maple butter, tour guide Jules Rivard described his hometown as “safe, clean, French, and beautiful.”

In Saguenay, the incredible La Fabuleuse theatrical production combined 100 volunteer actors of all ages, horses, carriages, pigs, music, dance, classic cars and a high-tech image projection system that turned day to night (to war, floods and fires), to tell the history of the town that sits at the foot of the great Saguenay fjord.

Back on the all-suite Quest, I relaxed in the spa with an Amethyst Crystal Sound Bath, a “healing” treatment in which Manuela Pop “played” crystal bowls for 50 minutes while I rested on a heated bed. It’s one offering on an extensive spa menu and part of the line’s collaboration with famed Dr. Andrew Weil, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Hate the sound of nails on a chalkboard? Well, this had the opposite effect!

Seabourn is known for its gourmet dining in all its restaurants. But a highlight of any Seabourn cruise is dinner in The Grill by Thomas Keller, which features recipes from the award-winning American chef and restaurateur. After days of fresh seafood, I opted for the Japanese free-range chicken which, the waiter reported, takes three days to prepare. The result? The juiciest, most flavorful chicken I’ve ever had. (Sorry, Mom!)

Seabourn deserves credit for its special consideration of solo travelers. Each day, we were invited to a dinner table hosted by an officer, staff member or entertainer. Brilliant idea!

After meeting so many fascinating people during the course of the cruise, this quote by L.M. Montgomery, who wrote Anne of Green Gables about her Prince Edward Island community in 1908, seems apt: “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

The writer was a guest of the cruise line.

Ready to book a luxury cruise on Seabourn? Call 877-396-7159 or contact a AAA Travel Counselor for details on booking.

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Heidi Kazemi, AAA Travel Counselor, Roseville, Calif.

Customization is always my top priority when planning a client's vacation. I ask about their family and where they've been before. Their preferences guide our planning so the vacation is perfectly tailored for them.

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