Lamar High School
Travel Tips:  50th Reunion Cruise
as provided by Your Cruise Committee


(Note: The cruise will not conflict with our 50th Reunion, which is scheduled for the weekend of November 14-15, 2009.)

 Jeremy's Travel Tips  Jeremy's Travel Tips
- a collection of Frequently Asked Questions and suggestions for Cruise Travel

Group Travel
Q:  What's the advantage of group travel on this cruise? Do we get any perks?
A:  One of the main advantages is that thanks to our travel agency, each cabin will receive a $100 onboard credit. This will come in handy when paying that bar bill or using the ship's internet cafe.  Also, the travel agency is throwing us an onboard private cocktail party. 
Q:  How many cabins have been reserved for our group? What if we oversubscribe?
A:  Initially, the CruiseCenter has obtained a block of 10 cabins with balconies, 3 cabins with oceanviews and 2 inside cabins. But more cabins are available, as needed.
Q:  Can we invite non-Lamar relatives or friends to join us?
A:  Yes. The more the merrier. A few of us even have spouses or significant others who are non-Lamarites, so go for it.
Q:  What about dining options? Do we have a choice?
A:  Yes. For the evening meal, we have selected the "early" dining time of 5:45 p.m., which is in the main dining restaurant (the Rembrandt).  (There is a "late" dining option in the Rembrandt, but if you dined at that time, you would get out too late to see some of the shows.)  By selecting a fixed evening dining time, we can all sit together each evening at the same adjacent tables and be served by the same wait staff.  However, if you wish, you can select one of the alternative restaurants. These include the Lido (casual fare), Caneletto's (Italian), the Tamarind (Asian), and the Pinnacle Grill (Pacific Northwest cuisine). A few of these require reservations and charge a modest surcharge (e.g., the Tamarind and the Pinnacle Grill).  In addition to the Rembrandt and the alternative restaurants, there's also the Terrace Grill (a sidewalk cafe) and Slice (pizza).
Shore excursions
Q:  What about shore excursions?
A:  Shore excursions are voluntary on your part. If you chose to participate in Holland America's organized shore excursions, you will be charged separately. (Information and an opportunity to sign up will be sent to you in due course after you book.)   If you rather "do it on your own," here's a link to great information on that subject:     Frommers 
Cabin Choice

Q:  If I decide on an oceanview cabin or a balcony cabin, any suggestions on which side of the ship I should select?
A: Try to book a cabin that is on the port (left) side of the ship. This way you will be able to see the New England and Canada coastline (including the fall foliage) right from your cabin. (Recall that our cruise is not a round trip, so the port side is "where it's at.")

Q:  Will I need a passport?
A:  Yes, everyone will need a passport.   Not only must your passport be current, but it must be valid for a period of six months after our cruise returns, i.e, valid until 28 March 2010 (this is actually an old rule, but one which not everyone knows).

Q:  How do I obtain a passport?
A:  You can download the form and application at
  You can also list the ten closest (full service post office) locations to your zip code where you can go to get your passport photo and turn in your application.

Travel Insurance
Q:  Tell me more about travel insurance. How does it differ from Holland America's Trip Cancellation Plans?
A:  You've already seen a discussion of Holland America's Trip Cancellation Plans on my main cruise web page.  Basically, the difference between the two is that a trip cancellation plan lets you cancel for any reason, but you get back only 80% or 90% of the paid fare (depending on the plan). With conventional travel insurance, you get 100% of the face value of the policy, but you must prove a covered reason, such as illness. The best deal and coverage we could find for travel insurance is underwritten by M. H. Ross Insurance Co., which is issued through  The rates are dependent upon not only the trip costs but also the age of the insured, so younger travelers may save.  Assume the trip cost for a passenger is $2,002 and the passenger's age at the time of booking is 67. The cost of insurance for this person is $189 for the basic plan and $224 for the enhanced plan. See full details of the plans at   For a copy of the Ross insurance policy (a.k.a. "certificate"), see this PDF document.


Q:    What's the best way to get from the airport (La Guardia) to the ship's pier?

A:    The pier is at the Manhattan Cruise Pier, 711 12th Ave.  Take a "Super Shuttle."  Costs only $16 per person, which is cheaper than a cab. You need to make a reservation on the web site Avoid purchasing a transfer voucher from HAL (available through our travel agent), which is unreasonably expensive.

Q:    I plan to stay at a Manhattan hotel the day before the ship's departure. What's the best way to get from La Guardia to my hotel?

A:    Take the Super Shuttle. The price to all midtown Manhattan hotels is the same ($16 pp.).

Q:    What about transfers from my hotel to the pier?

A:    Take a cab. 

Q:    What about transfers from the pier at Quebec City to its airport?

A:    Same advice. Take a cab.

Tips from Frommer's on our individual ports of call:Eurodam Ports of Call
[We depart from New York City at 5 pm on Wednesday 16 September 2009.]

Newport (Thursday, 17 September.  In Port from 7 am to 4 pm, using ship's tender):  In Newport, we suggest walking along the Newport Cliff Walk.   It is free and the water is on one side and the Mansions are on the other. Consider packing a lunch, there are beaches on both ends of the walk. You will also have access to trolleys while in Newport, which you can hop off and on around town.

Boston (Friday, 18 Sept. from 9 am to 6 pm):  Boston is very walkable. The Boston historic area is compact.  The Freedom Trail is very acccessible and quite a bit of fun.   It starts at the Boston Common Tourist Office  and goes through the older part of town and over to the Charleston Naval Yard where you can visit the USS Constitution.   It is quite a bit of walking but you can break it up with lunch in the North End at a small Italian restaurant.  

In Boston, there is a lot to do in the waterfront area.  Many shops, pubs, etc.  You probably wouldn't want to miss Faneuil Hall marketplace, and there is also the New England Aquarium close by.  The famous Durgin Park restaurant, adjacent to Faneuil Hall (aka: Quincy Market) serves old-fashioned New England fare. You will see the Boston "Duck Tours" all over town, and they seem quite popular. 

Bar Harbor (Saturday, 19 Sept, from 8 am to 4 pm, using tender): "I loved Bar Harbor, I can't wait to go back. When we were there, we biked and hiked.  Acadia National Park  has some great biking trails and we also did some hiking there as well. I remember having a lobster dinner overlooking the water and watching the kayakers. When we cruise, we usually find the hiking and biking excursions. It's a great way to see the area."

For independent tours in Bar Harbor, consider ($27 for seniors).   This is a 2-hour trip on a lobster boat and you also see some seals. The captain recommends the earlier (10 am) tour as you see more.
Also in Bar Harbor - Oli's trolley- a one hour tour (three 15-minute stops) of the area:  "For the first time visitor to Great Desert Island, this tour is an excellent way to be introduced to Acadia National Park.  HAL charges $34 and you ride on a big bus. Oli’s trolley is $29 and there were only 26 of us on the trolley."

Halifax (Sunday, 20 Sept, from 8 am to 5 pm):   Halifax is a very walkable city so you really won't need a packaged tour unless you want to get away from the city.  The harbor boardwalk is a great way to stroll from the ship to many shops and especially to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  If you have any interest in the Titanic, they have a wonderful exhibit at the museum that is well worth taking in.  As for the rest of the city, they have a free loop bus that you can just get on and get off when you want.  The bus is called "Fred" (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown) and there are banners at all the places the bus stops so you can find it and get back on.  The bus only has about a dozen seats however as many as 30 people may be riding at any time.

If you are a Titanic history buff, then you may wish to visit the Fairview Cemetery in Halifax. About 150 victims of the disaster are buried there (some still unidentified, and others only recently identified via DNA evidence). It's a very moving area of the cemetery.  Ask any cab driver at the pier to take you there. They all know where it is.Pleasant Bay along Cabot Trail

Sydney (Monday, 21 Sept, from 8 am to 5 pm):  The Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is a wonder of Canada and  is rated one of the 10 most scenic drives in the world by Conde Naste magazine.  Natural beauty surrounds you with the crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean on one side and the majestic mountains on the other.  It travels through picturesque towns and villages and then gives way to the rugged wilderness.  At times the winding road seems to be perilously close to the cliff edge with jagged rocks and the ocean churning far below.  The smell of the salt air and feeling the spray of the ocean on your face is invigorating; the roar of the ocean is a sound like no other.  There are all kinds of wild life and if you're lucky you'll spot moose as you travel through the Highlands National Park or see whales splashing about in the ocean .  Gorgeous scenery, breathtaking twists and turns - Mother Nature outdid herself when it came to the Cabot Trail. "In Sydney, we are taking the Holland America's tour of the Cabot Trail - it is 8 hours and we decided not to hire a car and drive and possibly miss the boat!"  A Google map showing the route of the tour from Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Black Brook, NS, can be viewed here.  A competitive tour (for only $85/person vice HAL's $139), picking up and dropping off at Baddeck, can be found here.

Charlottetown (Tuesday, 22 Sept from 8 am to 5 pm):   "In Charlottetown we will be walking around the city, which is the provincial capital. "  Other possibilities:  shopping, a lobster luncheon at Dalvay-by-the-Sea or a tour of the picturesque farm that inspired Anne of Green Gables. Sample shore excursions: Biking on the Confederation Trail; A Day in Dalvay-by-the-Sea; Island Drive & Anne of Green Gables.

Saguenay (Thursday 24 Sept from 8 am to 5 pm):   You may perchance see some Beluga whales in the Saguenay Fjord on the way to Saguenay.  The cruise up the St. Lawrence between the mouth of the St. Lawrence and Quebec City is one of the most beautiful in the world.  You should be able to see whales from the ship (if it is daylight).

Quebec City (arrive Friday 25 Sept at 8 am; stay overnight):  "I cannot say enough praise about this special city.  It is a little piece of Old Europe in North America.  Make sure to have dinner at our favorite bistro there Café St. Malo on Rue St. Paul. There are also countless interesting day trips from Quebec City. This year we drove to the Charlevoix region to Baie St Paul, a haven for artists and right on the Saint Lawrence River. "  You shouldn't have a problem with the language.  Don't miss wandering the cobble stone streets of Quebec as there is so much history! If you get a chance get out of the city to the Shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre..the site of a huge shrine to Ste. Anne and a place of pilgrimage for world travellers. Quite an amazing sight.
Despite a weak U.S. dollar, Quebec still offers good value for your money and is peaceful and beautiful.  Despite common misperceptions, language is not a problem and a very small vocabulary of even a few courtesies will go a long way in this beautiful province. Furthermore, food is of exceptional quality and in restaurants you can dine like royalty reasonably by ordering the Table d'hote or Tourist menu.

Jeremy Wicker

Travel Tips last updated  2 August 2009

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