Traveling to Halifax, Nova Scotia to board the Crystal Serenity for a cruise along the eastern coast of the United States

The Halifax Boardwalk along the harbor
The Halifax Boardwalk along the harbor

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – I am very fond of small cities. They have a certain charm, a degree of friendliness, not found in their larger counterparts. Cities like Dublin, Charleston and San Juan come to mind.

Halifax certainly fits that description. It is compact, walkable, easy to get around and everyone is helpful. We flew into Halifax on Wednesday in advance of boarding our cruise on the Crystal Serenity today. We added an extra day to our pre-trip because we had a very tight connection at LaGuardia airport and we weren’t sure if we or our luggage would make it. Thankfully, all went smoothly and we and our three bags all arrived together! A nice beginning.

We spent the last two nights at the Radisson Hotel which is right downtown, just a block from the harbor. The hotel is quite nice — it has just been totally renovated in advance of becoming a Hollis Doubletree boutique hotel on Dec. 1. Our standard room is larger than most. Other good choices close to the harbor would be the Marriott Courtyard or the Westin. There is also a well-regarded Hampton just a bit further away.

One of the many tour boats in the Halifax harbor
One of the many tour boats in the Halifax harbor

The last time we were in Halifax was a few years ago when we crossed the North Atlantic on the Emerald Princess. During that visit we took an excellent bus tour that gave us a great overview of the city and told us all about the great explosion of 1917 and about the city’s role in the recovery and burial of the bodies from the Titanic.

This time we just explored on foot. Yesterday morning we spent a couple of hours at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. This excellent facility was just a block from our hotel and has a number of galleries devoted to all sorts of topics, including the explosion and the Titanic. Admission is $9.95 for adults, $8.95 for seniors. http://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca

After some great seafood chowder at Salty’s, we walked the length of the harborfront, did a bit of shopping and then some computer work and napping.

Our hotel is also close to a number of reasonably priced restaurants. Our first night we had seafood at McKelvie’s (www.mckelvies.ca) and last night we enjoyed the warmth and ambiance of The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse (www.oldtriangle.com) — with 13 beers on tap! Our breakfasts have been in Ryan Duffy’s, a steakhouse in the lower level of our hotel.

We are now packed and will soon be heading to Pier 22 to board the Crystal Serenity for our trip down the East Coast. Tomorrow we visit Bar Harbor, Maine, and then on Sunday we will be in Boston – where we are looking forward to visiting with our daughter Amy and grandchildren Seely and Violet!

Happy Halloween to all! (Not sure how they will be celebrating on the ship.)

October 31, 2014

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