Monday & Tuesday September 22 & 23

Another lovely lazy day was enjoyed onboard the Maasdam yesterday as we cruised in a northerly direction up the St Lawrence River and through the vast Gulf of St Lawrence. Our Kiwis were more-than-occupied with any number of the 101 activities onboard – from watching for whales (one couple in our group spotted a pod of Orcas in a feeding frenzy) … to ping-ponging at a table-tennis tournament … to sipping hot chocolate in the cafe … to downing food-glorious-food at the out-on-deck barbecue … to observing an ice-carving demo by the chefs … to touring the ships’s kitchens … to drinking champagne with the captain … to, oh, no kidding, the list just goes on and on.

And then, after a formal dress-up dinner in the evening, we were entertained in the Rembrandt Lounge by a very convincing John Denver look-alike (who soon had everyone singing along) … followed (for the young-at-heart) by dancing-to-favourite-oldies in the Crow’s Nest on the top deck.



This morning, bright and early, we sailed into Charlottetown, the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island. It’s here that the famous Conference of 1864 was held, which resulted in the creation of the Canadian confederacy, and the whole region reeks of history. The Pinkies and Greenies took to their respective coaches for a half-day tour of this lovely old town and its surrounding farmland – sampling some homemade island jams, before visiting the picturesque homestead that inspired Anne of Green Gables.

Green Gables house

Green Gables house

Anne's Bedroom

Anne's bedroom

It soon turned out that we had lots of Anne-fans in our group, and they all went ga-ga over this special chance to explore their heroine’s storytime roots!

After this, most mad midlifers took to the streets of Charlottetown – to shop-shop-shop in the quaint olde-worlde boutiques, or (like us) to lunch on some yummy local seafood chowder. Then it was back up the gangplank and out on deck as the Maasdam cast off and sailed away under brilliant late-afternoon skies.

PEOPLE NEWS: The Midlife Madness Awards keep being dished out:

* The ‘Early To Bed Award‘ to Bev – who chose a chamomile teabag from the wide range on offer at the restaurant, but, upon reading the words on the back of the packet, told Clare (quite seriously), “I’d better not drink this because it says I’ll be asleep in 3-5 minutes.” A closer inspection revealed that what the packet actually said was “Steep for 3-5 minutes.”

TOMORROW: A hundred thousand Gaelic welcomes (plus some lively fiddle playing) will be awaiting us in Sydney, Nova Scotia …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Hi Mum (Margaret Neill)
    Tried, unsuccessfully, to send you another email but it bounced back. Nevermind not big news, just a hello. We got your postcard today thanks. Jacque was asking the other day if we had any postcards from you so I will ring her today and read it out to her. Keeping up to date daily with the blogs that John puts up on the website. Will print them out for you when you get home as they’ll be a great way to remember day by day what you did. Why don’t you try to email me from the ship – it might work even though mine didn’t go through to you. Love and hugs from us all. Jeanette, Paul and Jeanie Beanie (and Pipi and Cleo) xx

  2. Hi J & R … all good here in NZ land. I just love the look for Charlottown by the way – how gorgeous is that!! Had M & D & 4 kids stay at Whanga for weekend – what a gorgeus family aye. Then last night had dinner at their (soon to be not their) house. We had planned it before we knew we’d be seeing them on the weekend. Mike cooked up some of his own Venison – it was absolutely divine .. just melted in the mouth. We just adore the kids … totally adorable .. and M & D as well of course. 🙂 Had a fantastic night!!! Missing you heaps and you are not even 1/2 way there yet. Hope you are both having sleepless nights from missing R & me .. tee hee. Bex is not well aye .. poor pet. Am waiting for her to confirm a night to come over for dinner. Taj is fine … asked after you the other night. So glad you are having a blast .. keep up the good work. LOL us xx

  3. Hi Nana,
    Looks like you are having a great trip. we got your postcard, yesterday thanks alot!! it is nearly holidays and the sun is shining
    we have got calves for pet day and they are going great
    how are you over there ?
    hope all is going well
    miss you heaps!!
    Rita and Maggie

  4. David and Marilyn Gordon
    Thrilled to get my first ever postcard from Alaska yesterday.You really are having the trip of a lifetime.Enjoy your remaining time on board ship then tripping round Boston.
    Love, Gretchen

  5. Hi John and Robyn – you really do have life planned out well – and you have the personalities to do it. Please say hello to Dad – you are now on the home straight. Tell him that we are now the proud owners of EOS – albeit we are so far too scared to take her out of the marina – all 30 tonne of her – will have to take it really slowly. Have done it once with the owner, but are waiting until there is no wind to practice. Spent the night aboard her – on the marina – on Saturday night – like two little kids going camping in their new Christmas present tent!! Then we went up to Matakana to have lunch with Terry’s daughter Stacey and boyfriend, which was very pleasant. Working hard at the real estate, weather improving here dramatically – it is alot warmer. Looking forward to hearing about all your cruise experiences. Lots of love and wishes, Diana and Terry.

  6. Margaret Birtles

    Hi Mum, how are you? Now I know you are one of those Anne-fans John was talking about. I bet you loved ‘Annes’ homestead. When I went there with Glenice and co it made me want to re-read all the books : ) The boys really liked their rainbow postcard. Ryan’s still talking about ringing you? 🙂 Jack had a policeman come to school today and he was so excited about it he was in our room at half six this morning reminding us 🙂
    I hope you are managing to find something to do on that little boat you’re on, it all sounds sooo boring ; ) Take care and enjoy xx

  7. To Pam Strong

    Hallo Pam ,

    Thank you for yours just received , I was feeling very low until I received your cheerful e-mail which uplifted me . I’m glad you are surviving the pace and able to enjoy the activeties , sights and places . Sorry about your cold :- perhaps the occasional night’s sleep would help ! Such a trip ! I hope you can still recall all the details on your return home . As I missed your call last w/end , I’ll make sure I stay within earshot of the telephone Saturday ! Look after yourself , love you . Mike .

  8. Hi Cooneys
    Well, you’ll be heading down the final straight now – no doubt anxious to get home!
    Have had a wonderful week at Rotorua – beautiful warm weather – even some silly souls swimming (not us of course). With everything opened up it’s magic.
    Back again on Tuesday for the first week of the holidays with Mac and Briar – that’ll be fun and probably exhausting – B’s dynamite at times.
    Spring is certainly here, garden is looking good and work is picking up finally.
    All fit and well here and looking forward to catching up when you’re back.
    Enjoy the rest of the trip.
    Luv Joc and Noel xx

  9. To the Covacich Family: Hi to everyone and a big hug to Emma. Kelly, Alana, Connor, James & Ella-Rose. Missinbg you all. Having an awesome time. Have seen amazing cities and sights. Hard to take everything in. Taken at least 500 photos! Liining up for more trips – group travel is the way to go. Love you all. Maureen & Kevin

  10. sounds like a total action packed time your having, still concerned about how much weight you both might be gaining, sounds like A LOT of eating going on. We are of course all missing you like crazy!! Received the second postcard today which Ethan has taken to school. Hope to hear from you again soon. Love Rachael, Mark, Ethan and Olivia.

  11. Hello Bev, Clare & Dave, Ohh my! Winning the early to bed prize! I’m going to enjoy repeating the “sleep in 3-5mins” experience with our mutual friends. Perhaps you should drink one when I stay again and miss my yacking. Your tour continues to be full of the most wonderfull delights. I’m reading a book about the 7 yr war between the English and French in the period of 1754-1759 and how Nova Scotia was eventually taken by the English etc. Peter talks about doing a cruise up the St Lawrence, Nova Scotia and New Foundland. Where we are going to find the time I don’t know. Returned home today from a few days in Rotorua and kept myself entertained lugeing and 4 wheel driving a few more things ticked off my list of life. Received your txt. Keep safe Love & huggs Cheers, Marg G

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