Halifax: A Perfect Last Port Day

  • Day 34, Voyage of the Vikings 2019
  • Sunday, Sept.1, 2019, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is sunny with temperatures in the 70s. In other words, perfect weather. We figure we are due after more than our share of storms and cold rainy ports on this trip. Of course, we did sign up for a cruise that passed north of the Arctic Circle and through the Seas of Labrador, Greenland and Norway. So really no surprises.

Because weather canceled our scheduled stop in St. John’s, Newfoundland, we arrived in Halifax a day early and stayed overnight. Some passengers booked extra tours yesterday, and today Peggy’s Cove is a popular destination. It’s a picturesque fishing village with a stunning lighthouse. Others are at the Bay of Fundy to see the enormous tidal bore.

My sisters and I took it easy and enjoyed the waterfront area. A wide wooden boardwalk stretches almost a mile from our ship’s dock. It passes museums, restaurants and pubs, candy and ice cream stands, amateur musicians and lots of benches and chairs.

The combination of a holiday weekend (yes, Monday is Labor Day here, too), beautiful weather and a fun city meant the waterfront was busy. I took the time to stop and sketch, but it was difficult to keep up with the changing scene.

We returned to the ship late yesterday afternoon for a final private reception hosted by our travel agency hosts. I wanted a shower, but as soon as I got wet the water shut off. Guest services informed me that the water in our area was shut off for “emergency maintenance,” which seems an oxymoron. I made a quick trip to the showers in the spa to finish bathing and made it to the reception. By the time we returned from dinner, the water was back on. There was nary a warning note – I think the ship’s management hoped most people wouldn’t notice. Later I received a plate of chocolates with an apology.

Dinner last night was slow – a development of the past week, I would say. I don’t know if the dining stewards are spread too thin or if the kitchen is backed up. But we consistently have been waiting a long time for the main course after everyone has finished appetizers and salads or soups.

Today the ship’s Wifi was down when I got up, so I missed my morning ritual of reading several papers. Somehow the New York Times ship edition came through, so I worked on the Sunday crossword with pen to paper instead of on my iPad. Wifi came back about the time we left the ship mid morning. That didn’t stop many passengers from taking advantage of the free service in the terminal.

It is another beautiful day, and we strolled up the boardwalk once again, heading for the Maritime Museum. It’s one of the best I have visited, with exhibits on local maritime history, shipwrecks, the Titanic (many bodies are buried in Halifax), and the development of sailing, steam and other means of maritime transportation.

One section explores the 1917 explosion of the French ship Mont-Blanc. It was carrying wartime explosives and collided with another ship in the harbor. About 2,000 people were killed and an estimated 9,000 injured. The explosion destroyed much of the city and is a defining event in Halifax’s history.

While we had a lunch of seafood and local beer, the Theodore Too tugboat docked in front of us. Theodore Tugboat is the main character in a popular television show for children, similar to Thomas the Train Engine. Children lined up to tour the harbor from the eye-catching tub.

Lest we forget this cruise will end in fewer than 48 hours, we received our disembarkation packets this evening. Tomorrow – a sea day – also will be packing day.

Hurricane Dorian is much on the minds of the many passengers from Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Earlier today I saw a few leaving the ship with their luggage. They made arrangements to fly home early from Halifax to arrive before the storm. Many others are wondering if their Tuesday flights will operate as scheduled. Of course no one knows.