Ponant’s Le Boreal Cruises from Boston to Montreal

So here I am, the first full day of my cruise from Boston to Montreal aboard Ponant’s Le Boreal. After listening to a lecture on the history of Acadia, starting from the 11th century, the passengers who were taking a tour boarded a tender that took us into Bar Harbor. This place is so picturesque, it could be a movie set.

Our tour bus climbed into magnificent Acadia National Park,49,000 glorious acres, all donated by such wealthy Americans as John D. Rockefeller,Jr. and George B. Dorr. We drove the 27 miles along oceanside cliffs and through mountain forests, stopping at scenic turnouys and the park’s big attractions — like mighty Thunder Hole, where the waves pound the granite rocks like powerful fists.

Our multilingual guides — Le Boreal’s passengers were mostly French — pointed out the multi-million-dollar home of Dick Wolf, producer of the Law & Order shows, mentioning that style guru Martha Stewart also has a home in one of the park’s secluded areas.

On top of Cadillac Mountain (named for the French explorer — who also gave his name to one of America’s luxury cars), we shot lots of photos of our ship and of the much bigger Crystal Symphony.

When our tour was over, we roamed the streets of Bar Harbor. First thing I did was head for Stewman’s seafood restaurant on the dock; I’d been told it was the best place for lobster. However, our guide said that any place in Bar Harbor has good lobster. “If they didn’t know to prepare lobster, they’d be out of business pretty quick.”

I’ve had lobster steamed, boiled and broiled — but this was the first time I had one boiled in sea water. It was delicious, tender and juicy. With a piece of corn on the cob and a Maine beer, this was a meal to remember. (My 1 1/4 pounder cost just $17 (on the early bird special, it would have been $15).

All too soon, it was time to take a tender back to the ship. Tea and pastries awaited onboard. Not a bad thing at all. And tonight is our welcome gala dinner; the star on the menu will be — you guessed it — Maine lobster. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing. I don’t think so.

To be continued…

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