If you haven’t already read the first part click here – New England and Canada Cruise – Part 1. Having summarized the precruise portion of the trip as well as details of the Carnival Sunshine, here is the breakdown of each port Jason and I visited.
Boston, Massachusetts – Jason, myself and our friends were fortunate in that Carnival had a shuttle service arranged (for a reasonable fee) to take us from the ship to downtown Boston as it was a farther walk than my map made it appear. We began by checking out the marketplaces. Although we had gotten room service for bfast that morning we bought a very healthy breakfast bowl to share that included beeswax pieces that I really liked. We then began walking the Freedom Trail – a 2.5 mile path through the city that passes 16 historical spots. The trail is literally marked on the sidewalks with red bricks so it was very easy to follow. It took us through Copp’s Hill Burial Ground, founded in 1659. I was amazed that many of the gravestones were as legible as they were. The Old North Church was Jason and my favorite spot. It is famously known for being the chapel to display “One if by land, two if by sea”. We passed Paul Revere’s house but chose not to tour it as we wanted to see as much of the city as we could. The New England Holocaust Memorial we walked under was very sobering as rather than have names etched in the glass of the six towers, it has numbers like those branded on the Jewish people. For lunch we stopped at a food truck in the Boston Common and had truly gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Jason was most excited about visiting the Cheers bar though we found the original to be very crowded so after a few pics we returned to walk through more of the Boston Common area. There is a statue there replicating the “Make Way for Ducklings” storybook. We wandered through Chinatown before returning to the marketplace. The second Cheers bar located at Faneuil Hill Marketplace was less crowded so we enjoyed food and drinks there. We stopped in the Hard Rock Cafe then boarded the shuttle bus to head back to the ship.
Portland, Maine – We didn’t have any particular plans for Portland upon arriving there, so once we debarked from the ship we just began exploring. While most cruisers likely went straight for the downtown area Jason and I chose to head towards the Eastern Promenade that wraps around the edge of the city. In doing so we found a small trail that led to a memorial honoring those who were part of the Arctic Campaign in the 1940s, something that we had not heard of but that we quickly learned about in reading the signs. We continued along the promenade which was very relaxing as there were only a few locals walking or running on it. After making our way back into the actual city we decided to get a late breakfast at Becky’s Diner, an obvious favorite among the locals given we had to wait for a seat. We next visited the Victoria Mansion, a historical home that showcases the architecture of the mid 1800s. The volunteers were very informative and it felt like truly taking a step back in time viewing the rooms. We spent most of the afternoon just wandering the city, popping in a shop here and there, but not finding much else to peak our interests. Our friends took a walking food tour of the city which they said was very good and enabled them to discover some places that were featured on food channels.
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada – Originally we were unsure of what we were going to do in Saint John as looking at a map it appeared too far to walk to the Reversing Falls which is what I most wanted to see. We turned out to be pleasantly surprised when we discovered that there was a very nice walking trail of about 1.5 miles built leading from the city to it! Along the trail were various pieces of artwork as well as displays providing various facts about the city and culture of the area. As a history nerd and fitness fan this was the best of both worlds. While we didn’t get to actually see the Saint John River run in reverse (which occurs during high tide when the Bay of Fundy pushes against it) the area was still beautiful to see. There is a restaurant that overlooks it but was closed for renovations, so we headed back the path to the city to find some lunch. Although the area is most known for its seafood we tried out a place called Taste of Egypt that was superb. I tried a falafel burger for the first time and loved it! Our waitress was very sweet and told us some history about how all the places along that side of the street were built after the Great Fire of 1877 and all those across the street were built before the fire. After lunch we continued to explore the city, taking in the views while appreciating the quietness of everything and the architecture of the buildings.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada – If it wasn’t so far from my family and the winters much colder than I could tolerate, I think Jason and I would move to Halifax. It is just an amazing city in having a great cultural and historical vibe while still maintaining a quaintness not felt in most cities. We started out the morning with our friends walking along the edge of the city on what felt almost like a boardwalk since it was decorated with shops and places to eat. I’m not a huge tea person, but Jason got a chai tea from a stand that was really good. I bought a shirt and keychain in a store then we all visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Because it was Canada’s 150th birthday this year the museum wasn’t charging a fee but just accepting donations. There was a large exhibit on shipwrecks in the area as well as one detailing The Great Explosion of 1917. After exploring the museum our friends departed to get oysters for lunch and go on an excursion and we went to find lunch. I had looked up restaurants in Halifax in advance of our trip and almost every one I found had nearly a 5 star rating. We settled on The Auction House and sat on the patio that overlooked a park. I had a wonderful meal of fish and chips but the star was in berry crepes for dessert. I could not get over the amazing taste and can only hope to find crepes someday that can compare. Our afternoon was spent exploring the Halifax Citadel which Jason and I both loved. Walking through the trenches and reading about the soldiers who lived during that era was so interesting. I only wish we had gotten more time to view the Army museum located within it. Nova Scotia is an hour ahead of the east coast so while we though it almost 4pm, it was really almost 5pm (their closing time) and we hurried through the rooms before being ushered out. I would love to return to Halifax someday to discover even more of the city’s treasures.
Going Home – Our ship arrived back in NYC nearly an hour before it was supposed to so we disembarked fairly early. This meant the walk back to Penn Station wasn’t nearly as crowded as the walk there. As much as I wanted to love visiting NYC the way I did as a teen, the various smells of trash and sewer that nearly made my stomach sick made that very hard to do. We were hoping to get an earlier train but after finding out it would cost $119 to do so we decided to just hang out at Penn Station and eat lunch there. I was afraid it would be chaotic to find out where to go but it was very much like an airport with boards displaying the trains’ information and lots of signs for where the tracks were located. Our train was 10 mins late arriving but we had an uneventful ride back to Lancaster.
Overall this cruise was one of the best vacations I have had. For anyone who likes history, food and/or culture the itinerary is perfect. We kept busy in the cities but never felt rushed so it was still relaxing despite being on the go. Normally at the end of a vacation I’m ready to go home but I would’ve stayed on the ship and explored even more areas if I had been able!