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Lovetocruise2002

Canada/NE excursions...Need Help

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Hubby and I are starting to plan our first Canada/NE cruise. Typically we don’t think much of excursions but this will be our first time at any of these ports and also our first with sailing this area. We are prepared to spend a significant chunk on excursions. Trouble is that I have no idea what the “most do” things are at each port.  We are thinking more sightseeing because this may be our one and only time with this itinerary.  What are your recommendations? I will take any. TIA 😊

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Research Acadia State Park for Bar Harbour.  
 

Boston can be self explored along the Harbour with stops for local food.  

For other stops an organized tour may be a solution but all have seafood based food appeal. 

Start with ship excursions then search local tours along lines of interest.  

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17 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

So, Sabrina, which NE cruise are you doing ?  Have you abandoned the Group on Oct 11, 2020 ?

Yes, unfortunately that timing isn’t going to work for us. It’s Canadian Thanksgiving and I would have to leave the kids while they are in school.  We rebooked on Adventure for July. 

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Like twangster said, Boston is easy to walk around and explore. It’s one of my favorite cities. There are a great many local watering holes with so much history to them. You can hit many of these while walking the freedom trail. Quincy market is right there too. 

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42 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Yes, unfortunately that timing isn’t going to work for us. It’s Canadian Thanksgiving and I would have to leave the kids while they are in school.  We rebooked on Adventure for July. 

😢😥

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

Research Acadia State Park for Bar Harbour.

+1 on this. I went to college about two hours south of there, and while I never made it up that way, all of my classmates who did raved about it.

And while you’re in “Bah Hahbah”, make sure to get a lobster roll. That is something I did manage to do post-college, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get one better.

Portland has probably changed a LOT since I was last there over 25 years ago, so can’t really recommend anything. Unless you or hubby is into craft beer, that is... The Allagash brewery is located not far from the port, as I understand it. I am a huge fan of their craft brews and I imagine a tour of the brewery would be a lot of fun.

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3 hours ago, twangster said:

Research Acadia State Park for Bar Harbour.  
 

Boston can be self explored along the Harbour with stops for local food.  

For other stops an organized tour may be a solution but all have seafood based food appeal. 

Start with ship excursions then search local tours along lines of interest.  

Which blog of yours had the St. John/Halifax info? Was it your sailing from Quebec last year? I cannot remember anymore.

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I can help with Maine as I have lived here for 25 years.  

Portland - very walkable small city. You are right in the old port area that is a mixture of shops, restaurants, and yes, brew pubs. You may want to take a morning tour that will take you aroind town and to some light houses and walk the cobblestone streets of the old port.

Tip -If you have a chance to climb the last remaining N.E. ship signal observatory on a tour, go for it. It's unique with an incredible history. 

Bar Harbor - Home base to the northeast's only National Park. It's an amazing place were the ocean meets not only the rocky coast but the mountains rising up to 1500 feet from sea level. If at all possible go explore the park. You may be limited to the park loop road but there are enough stops to get a flavor of the park. The downtown is charming and very well kept. 

Tip - I have hiked up most of the peaks on the island but with time constraints, find a tour that drives you up Cadillac mountain. 360 degree views and your ship will look like a bath toy from up there.

Enjoy!!

 

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2 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Which blog of yours had the St. John/Halifax info? Was it your sailing from Quebec last year? I cannot remember anymore.

Adventure Snowbird...and St.John‘s is in Newfoundland vs Saint John in New Brunswick.  I would think a Canadian would know that.   Maybe you are a bot. Need to update.   🤣🤣🤣

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/9521-adventure-ots-13-night-snowbird-migration-quebec-to-ft-lauderdale-oct-8-2018/&tab=comments#comment-86747

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

Adventure Snowbird...and St.John‘s is in Newfoundland vs Saint John in New Brunswick.  I would think a Canadian would know that.   Maybe you are a bot. Need to update.   🤣🤣🤣

 

Haha. This bot definitely needs a reboot in the form of a cruise and more hours of sleep. I will have to re-read that blog this coming weekend.

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Boston is a great walking city, but you'll need to get a ride from the port.  Get to the Boston Common and go from there.  No matter which direction you head, you'll run into history.  One day is not nearly enough to take everything in.

I took a look at some of the excursions, the only one I'd highly recommend the Duck Tour.  Whenever we have visitors from out of state, we take them on a Duck Tour.  You can book it yourself, but the Duck Tours typically book way ahead and you are assigned a very specific time.  A Fenway tour would be interesting as well, but there's no excursion that I can see.  I would not recommend the tours outside of Boston such as Lexington & Concord, Cape Cod or Salem, etc.  There's plenty to see in the city itself.  You can walk the Freedom trail yourself, maps are available in many locations and you follow a red line to the various stops.  The USS Constitution and the North End are great locations.  You can cross the Charles River into Cambridge and walk around Harvard Square and Harvard Yard.

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@Lovetocruise2002, just remembered that Doug Parker, who hosts the Cruise Radio podcast, just did an episode on September 29 reviewing a CA/NE sailing on Carnival that he and another cruise blogger just finished. They talked about a lot (all?) of the same ports, and they pretty much did it all on their own; walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, getting a taxi in Portland IIRC, etc. Probably worth a listen for some more ideas.

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Saint John wouldn't have much..Reversing Falls is neat to check out..has a walk out over the falls......small waterfront downtown area...

 

Halifax has lots to see and do. If you like historical stuff there would be some tours around that, but to be honest there is lots to do and see on your own in Halifax and within walking distance of the ship. Excursion wise going to Peggy's Cove is a popular one but it takes pretty much the whole day I believe so no time to explore Halifax at all.

 

I live 2.5 hrs from Halifax and 1.5 from  Saint John...so can give some additional recommendations or hopefully answer some questions you may have come up as it gets closer.

 

Bar Harbor is amazing....been there a few times...walking across the bay on low tide on a sand bar is pretty cool.....Cadillac Mtn in the park is great as well.

 

Fly out of Portland often but haven't explored there much...I know the waterfront is very nice, but not sure excursion wise what there would be in the area.

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3 minutes ago, monctonguy said:

Excursion wise going to Peggy's Cove is a popular one but it takes pretty much the whole day I believe so no time to explore Halifax at all.

That is what I noticed when I started my preliminary research.  I am torn between the two...I want to do both.  The ship is in port from 7am-5pm and it's a Sunday.  Not sure if that matters for things?

13 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

@Lovetocruise2002, just remembered that Doug Parker, who hosts the Cruise Radio podcast, just did an episode on September 29 reviewing a CA/NE sailing on Carnival that he and another cruise blogger just finished. They talked about a lot (all?) of the same ports, and they pretty much did it all on their own; walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, getting a taxi in Portland IIRC, etc. Probably worth a listen for some more ideas.

Awesome!  I will check it out this weekend along with re-reading @twangster's blog.

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I know I commented to you over in FB-land, but I don't think I mentioned there that we rented a car in St. John's.  We wanted to go out to the St. Martins sea caves and aren't really fans of the bus tours.  It's a bit of a drive out to the sea caves, but there is a car rental place a block from where the ship docks.  They even let you return the car after hours with a key drop box.  Having a car rental made it easy for us to visit the sea caves and the reversing falls and gave us time to explore the area immediately by the port.

If you do the design your own tour in Bar Harbor, I would recommend hitting Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park first thing to beat the rush.  It's a one-way road up and down the mountain and parking at the top/overlook area is limited.  We used At Your Service Tours for a private tour (https://www.atyourservicetours.net/tours/) and it was a great, comfortable experience.  Bar Harbor will be the only tender port.

Other than Boston, all of these ports had shopping and restaurants within blocks of the port so if you're into browsing little local stores, plan some time for that.  Halifax and St. John's even route you through a little shopping area to get on/off the ship.

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21 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

That is what I noticed when I started my preliminary research.  I am torn between the two...I want to do both.  The ship is in port from 7am-5pm and it's a Sunday.  Not sure if that matters for things?

 

It may....I mean not much would be open or on the go before 10am...probably closer to 12 on a Sunday. But there is a big market right down on the waterfront..there is a brewery as well(not sure on hrs for both of those). And then there are a lot of restaurants...from pubs to high end ones in the downtown area....Spring Garden road has lots of shops and restaurants....nice park further up to. Just depends on your interests I guess. But its probably  either Peggy's Cove or explore Halifax, but not both I am guessing.

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48 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

That is what I noticed when I started my preliminary research.  I am torn between the two...I want to do both.  The ship is in port from 7am-5pm and it's a Sunday.  Not sure if that matters for things?

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/ns/halifax/visit/heures-hours-accessibilit  The Citadel opens at 9am.

https://www.garrisonbrewing.com/ - Garrison Brewing right at the port opens at 10am.

Halifax Public Gardens opens up at 7am.

You're going July 15, 2020?  Halifax Gay Pride Festival is going on that week..and there's a summer craft fair in Victoria Park.

 

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1 hour ago, AshleyDillo said:

Bar Harbor will be the only tender port.

Might have to qualify that with should be the only tender port.

It's not the same port, but on my Iceland & Greenland sailing our port stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia was unexpectedly changed from docked to tendering, with our departure time changed from 3 PM to 4 PM. The reason given was "port congestion".

I don't know if St. John's is ever subject to the same kind of whims, but figured I'd mention that. At least Halifax doesn't appear to have ever had that kind of change applied.

@monctonguy or maybe @twangster, would either of you know if Sydney's port area appreciably smaller than St. John's, where this sort of change from docked to tendered would be more-expected (or at least, less surprising)?

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17 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

 

@monctonguy or maybe @twangster, would either of you know if Sydney's port area appreciably smaller than St. John's, where this sort of change from docked to tendered would be more-expected (or at least, less surprising)?

Sydney has a pier but in adverse weather they’ll close it and offer tendering.  Ironic because adverse weather generally means no tendering. We skipped it when our Captain declined their offer to anchor and tender when winds made the pier unattainable.  

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14 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

St. John's has three cruise ship berths.  It's pretty large in comparison to Sydney from what I can tell from both cruise ports' websites.

So "port congestion" for Sydney means there are two ships there at the same time instead of just one? 😂

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