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New England/Canada-Best excursions/tips for newbies

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Newbies going on a New England/Canada cruise out this June. Any tips or ideas for best excursions. Just don’t know where to start and which ones to pass on. TIA. 

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Thanks for posting this question. I’ll be on the June 12 Empress Canada/NE cruise and would love to hear about excursions, too! 

One blog I’ve found that helps a little is this one:

https://thesmallworldfamily.com/2018/08/31/canada-and-new-england-cruise-live-blog-day-1/

Matt’s podcasts (listener e-mail portion) sometimes have relevant tips — there’s tiny a bit in Episode 332. If I notice any others I’ll post here.

And one small tip of my own. Montreal is the original home of Cirque du Soleil and they will be having shows in Montreal in June. So something to consider if your cruise starts or ends in Montreal. 

Good luck with your planning!

 

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I've done a Canada/New England cruise and these ports are all super easy to navigate on your own as well as do third-party excursions so you don't have to stick with the ones that Royal Caribbean offers.

In Boston we took Uber/Lyft to the Liberty Trail and walked a portion of it..visited Fenuli Hall and lots of the touristy places along the trail.  We did a walking food tour in Portland.  Rented a car in St. Johns and drove out to the sea caves and saw the reversing falls.  Did a private tour in Bar Harbor that was fantastic..went to Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain, all around the area, over to a lobster shack on the water for lunch, lots of places that the locals enjoy and then ended up downtown where all the shopping is right at the port.  In Halifax we also hired a private tour that took us to the Citadel, the gardens, the Titanic cemetary and lots of other stuff I'm forgetting (it was raining so we saw a lot through the van windows).

It really depends on what interests you!  You can look at the Royal tours to get an idea of what you may want to see and then decide if you want to try to DIY it and piece together something that is tailored to your interests.

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We found on our Canada/New England cruise, a tour of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, ME and Peggy's Cove in Halifax, NS are musts!

We took a small private tour of Arcadia National Park that took us to Cadillac Mountain and all around the park. A lot of great little restaurants and shops in Bar Harbor.

In Halifax, we went to Peggy's Cove, great iconic lighthouse and scenery. It was part of a tour that also took us to the cemetery where the Titanic victims where buried. The only downside to this tour was the limited time at Peggy's Cove. In hindsight, we would choose a tour that exclusively went to Peggy's Cove. Spent to much time on the bus getting from place to place, instead of at the  attractions.                     

We also enjoyed Portland, ME as it is a great walk around town with a ton of restaurants and shops. For food I suggest, Holy Donuts, Duck Fat and Standard Baking Co.

Happy Cruising!

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You must go to Peggy's Cove!!  It was a must see we did through and excursion.  If you can do it first thing upon arrival that would be better.  That will allow you more time upon your return to visit the shops next to the port.  Our excursion was the last one of the day and we did not get a lot of time at Peggy's Cove to walk to the carved wall.  Take a camera and enjoy.  The other thing to look at is the rock formations which are off to the left as you look at the lighthouse.  

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We rented a car in St John's and Halifax. St. John's was fantastic! We took a beautiful drive out to St. Andrew's, had a lovely lunch and got to walk on the sea floor (we saw about a 25 foot tide difference in the couple hours we spent there.

FWIW, we didn't like Peggy's Cove. We were among the first off the ship, got our car and headed straight there. We still were unable to park and saw several busses that had beaten us there.  it was so crowded we couldn't even enjoy driving through the little village.  Next time, I think we'll wander around Halifax itself - there seemed to be plenty to do there

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Thanks for all the suggestions! I have a few things planned now and am getting excited! Renting a car in Prince Edward Island, booked private tours of Acadia (Bar Harbor) and Cabot Trail (Sydney, NS), booked an RCI excursion in Halifax that includes a trip to Peggy’s Cove and hop on/hop off city bus tickets, and tentatively planning to do a lobster boat trip and some biking around Portland. Still need to make a plan for St. John and Quebec.

Will hit some of your food recommendations in Portland, @FManke!

The private tours out of Sydney and Bar Harbor are really affordable. About the same price as it would have been to buy group tour tix for all 3 people in my party. I like being able to decide exactly what I/we want to do! 😁

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Just now, TinyDancer said:

Thanks for all the suggestions! I have a few things planned now and am getting excited! Renting a car in Prince Edward Island, booked private tours of Acadia (Bar Harbor) and Cabot Trail (Sydney, NS), booked an RCI excursion in Halifax that includes a trip to Peggy’s Cove and hop on/hop off city bus tickets, and tentatively planning to do a lobster boat trip and some biking around Portland. Still need to make a plan for St. John and Quebec.

Will hit some of your food recommendations in Portland, @FManke!

The private tours out of Sydney and Bar Harbor are really affordable. About the same price as it would have been to buy group tour tix for all 3 people in my party. I like being able to decide exactly what I/we want to do! 😁

You won't be disappointed! Standard Baking Co is literally right across the  street from the dock. You have to try one of their croissants.

Happy cruising!

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We walk off the ship in every port (ok, tender in Bar Harbor) and do our own food/brewery tours in each city.  We've only booked one excursion (Bar Harbor - Acadia and lobster bake - it wasn't worth the money) - we find the cities to be so much fun on their own!

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Forgot to note that in St. James we walked all day in the city!  It was fantastic.  Played the Canada lottery and won $.  Ask about the "Market" place it was fantastic place to wonder.  We bought local foods there and were able to bring it back to the ship.  The potato chips with ketchup were the best ever.  Always try the local food specials everything was great!  The market has lots of craft and things to buy...if you want something don't pass it up.  I found a wool cape and thought at the time it was too expensive at $135 (America) but now - I keep thinking about it and yes it was made by a local crafter.  Crazy to pass it up.  

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We also used Groupons to book an excursion in Portland....the duck boat...lot cheaper than going through the cruise line.  Don't forget to have an Uber account so that you an Uber anywhere.  

 

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On 2/7/2020 at 3:31 PM, TinyDancer said:

Thanks for all the suggestions! I have a few things planned now and am getting excited! Renting a car in Prince Edward Island, booked private tours of Acadia (Bar Harbor) and Cabot Trail (Sydney, NS), booked an RCI excursion in Halifax that includes a trip to Peggy’s Cove and hop on/hop off city bus tickets, and tentatively planning to do a lobster boat trip and some biking around Portland. Still need to make a plan for St. John and Quebec.

Will hit some of your food recommendations in Portland, @FManke!

The private tours out of Sydney and Bar Harbor are really affordable. About the same price as it would have been to buy group tour tix for all 3 people in my party. I like being able to decide exactly what I/we want to do! 😁

Could you kindly share how you found the private tours? Thank you!

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