Thursday September 25

The travel books had warned us: for ocean scenery at its best, nothing rivals Nova Scotia’s south shore. And we had proof of that this morning as the Maasdam cruised elegantly along the craggy coastline and docked in Halifax. This busy Canadian port was founded in 1749 as a British stronghold – so the eager Redcoats could keep a watchful eye on the French fort at Louisbourg. Today Halifax handles 16 million tons of cargo – and remains open year-round (unlike other ports on Canada’s east coast, most of which ice over in winter). 

Peggy's Cove

Peggys Cove

Our shore visit today included a sightseeing drive through the city’s graceful older districts … a wander through one of its many lush green parks … and a sobering stop at one of several cemetries filled with the graves of the Titanic casualties. Then we were off along the coast to Peggy’s Cove – a rustic, charming fishing village and one of Canada’s most photographed sites.

Peggy’s Cove, I kid you not, is simply magic, and it was made all the more so today by the near-perfect weather. The settings, the colours, the reflections couldn’t have been better … and our cameras were soon threatening to overheat.

Lobster pots

Lobster pots

As a delightful finishing touch, we then sat down to a delectable lobster lunch. Oh, what fun we had … and oh, what a mess we made, cracking those hard orange shells and digging the sweet white flesh out of those powerful claws!

Last nights Dutch Chocolate Extravaganza!

Last nights Dutch Chocolate Extravaganza!


PEOPLE NEWS: The clock is ticking and the pressure’s on, but people are still doing silly things and Mad Midlife Awards are still being given out:

* The ‘Breakfast In Bed Award‘ goes to Jackie & Peter – who decided to order breakfast in their cabin early the other morning, but mistakenly gave the catering staff the wrong cabin number. They eventually got to eat, but only after the other cabin-dwellers had been woken at some unearthly hour (grumpy and not impressed) with a meal they hadn’t ordered.

* The ‘Pass the Salt, Sweetie Award‘ goes to Monica – who, only today at lunch, added sugar (instead of salt) to her vegetable soup, and then repeated the same mistake, sprinkling sugar all over her hot french fries!

TOMORROW: It’s our last full day on this cruise (sob). We’ll be going ashore in Bar Harbour (USA) to see for ourselves the stunning autumn scenery of Acadia National Park and hear tales of an oh-so-loverly bygone era. Not long to go now, so keep watching …

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 and Dad, ( P am and Colin)
    I imagine you didn’t have too much difficulty finding the Dutch Chocolate extravaganza!
    Sounds absolutuely delicious. Lobster, chocolate, what more could one want.
    The photos on the Blog are lovely, enjoying them very much. Couple more days and you will be off the boat and back on dry land. Looking forward to that so we can send a text to you, so don’t forget to get out your instructions Dad and check your phone.
    Beautiful warm spring day today here. Jenny arrives on Sunday for 2 weeks.
    School hols start today, thought I might go down to French market in the morning with Izzy, of course it wont be the same without you!
    Will send a text to you on Sunday and hope you get it.
    Much love and kisses and miss talking to you.
    Sally Hugh and girls.

  2. From Mike to Pam Strong .

    Dear Pam ,
    I hope you are ok as I haven’t received any reply to my last two e-mails . Following the bog sorry blog ; I suddenly realised the tour will end Sunday so this may be my last e-mail . I hope you are still enjoying your holiday sounds like one of a lifetime ! no doubt everyone is winding down or winding up prior to their flight home . It must be quite an emotional time saying goodbye to fellow companions whom you have spent the month with as a close-knit bunch . Others may be ready to go , missing family etc . I ‘phoned Mother today , she seems cheerfull but missing you , she said she will be out all day Sat [NZ time] and don’t worry if there’s no answer . waiting to hear your voice on the ‘phone , when you do so I must give you my 0800 no incase hotels in USA rip you off . Weather here has suddenly improved making it more pleasant doing battle in the garden ! Take care in NY as you won’t have the safety in numbers ,enjoy the remainder of your vacation and come back safe , I miss you so much and can’t wait to give you a big hug etc . See you on 9th at AK airport . Love you , Mike .

  3. Hi Sheryl (Robinson )
    Apologies for not keeping up with communication. Days just are flying by here and realise that it will be only two weeks and you will be home again. I dropped the keys to your house off to Shane one day this week. I have been busy piecing my quilt together and on Monday will take it into Pins & patches to get tacked together and then I will be busy hand quilting. We have a house full this weekend as It is Gary WIlson’s 60th birthday party. A couple from Auckland are staying along with Peter & Lorraine. We visited our families in Hamilton last weekend which is always special. Kerry Vanessa & Sadie are coming to stay tomorrow so life is pretty full on. Sounds like you are seeing some wonderful sights and having a great time. Enjoy make the most of it all. Miss you
    Love & best wishes
    John & Nola

  4. Hi Nana (Margaret Birtles)
    How is the trip going??? Sorry to not message earlier, its all been very busy with school and other activities.
    Looks like your trip is going well… Its really cool to be able to say my Nana has just been to Alaska and is in Canada, it makes me so proud that your so Out there!
    Missing you heaps, We are down in hamilton at the momento catching up with everyone – Danni is growing up fast, same with Shannon and Connor. We are going to pick up Katie and Josh tomorow and taking them and josh back to our house for the week. It will be fun!
    Keep up the fun exploring!
    Love Laura (and Family)
    p.s. Karl says Hi, hes enjoying farming at the momento and is very proud of you too!


  5. The lobster sounds absolutely delicious, what a feast!! Hello to Dad again – hope he stills fits his pants after all that delicious food. We have been out on EOS overnight for first time away in her. Took Maryanne Hood and family – she is a beautiful boat to cook in, the aft deck is glorious – we are extremely pleased with our purchase. Challenging getting her back in the marina – bit of a breeze today – but Lou (security) was above to help us – I through her a bow rope and she managed to pull all 30 tonne of us in. Terry just needs a bit more practice. Taking Angerie to Orams tomorrow to get painted and tidied up. Lots of Love and see you very soon to hear more about your journey, although John’s Blog is very descriptive. Best regards to all

  6. To Margaret Birtles

    Hi Margaret – Wow, what a wonderful time you have been having – can’t wait to see your photos – you have visited a lot of places we have been to either on this trip or when we did the trip to Nova Scotia with Dave, Gillian and Sarah. It will be great to compare notes.

    We have had a very busy end to the term – out almost every night to various meetings, functions etc. Had two very busy weeks at school – Grandparents Day, 150 years of schooling in Waipu Celebration, School Production and a Book Fair!! I dressed up as Hairy McLairy!!

    Its great to be spending the weekend in Hamilton – had dinner with all of Larry’s family last night and we visited Robyn and the children today. Danielle is gorgeous and Connor and Shannan seem to be coping well with a new baby in the house.

    Enjoy the last couple of days – we look forward to catching up when you get home.

    Have fun – Lots of love

    Glenice, Larry, Karl & Laura xox

  7. Floyd Family- thanks forr eagerly awaited blogs – a great system. Have had great days in Prince Edward Esland and Halifax. Both well. Miss you Mum & Dad

  8. Hi Aunty Pam

    Wowow your blog and the photos – are awesome!!!! sounds like you are having an amazing time!!! Cant wait to hear all the stories and photos when you get back:) Melis said you saw a bear!!! everything about Canada seems very historial – cant believe how much you have managed to see!!!

    Spoke to Grandma yesterday she is great – think she was just a bit tired the other day after her day with uncle peter that was why she was a bit confused!! It has been a bit wet though

    sooo off to new york next!!! To you get to see the statue of liberty etc?? I really want to do a tour like the one you have been doing!!!

    Mum and Dad have left the villa and are on there way down to rome. Dad and mastered the driver now:) they are going to drop the car off and then spend a couple of days in rome before coming home Tuesday week.

    It is a long weekend next week for us – not sure what Melis and I will be doing yet – quickly tidying up hahahah

    Great hear all your updates

    Love Rebeck and Melis


  9. Hi J & R …. oh Robby .. I could imagine you with the Lobster – you would have been in seventh heaven wouldn’t you?? Speaking of lobster .. Jossy and I had the day together yesterday and one of the places we went to was ‘kelly tarltons’. He was most impressed with everything – and spent some time engrossed in the Lobster pool. 🙂
    We’re all good here …. not a huge amount of news just that day light saving has kicked in .. yahooo (love it aye) and the weather has been pretty delightful on the whole.. should be nice for you when you get back.
    Big hugz & LOL to you and S & I & J. xx

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