Saint John, NB
I just had to….
for years I have wanted to go to Halifax and Peggy’s Cove. As much as we love going south and enjoying the Caribbean and Mexico, heading north might be a very interesting proposition. Haven’t been able to make it to Alaska yet; the air fare is so cost-prohibitive for us. Canada could be the answer for a near-by getaway!
As with so many of the cruises we have taken this year, it will be filled with “first time experiences.”
- First time driving the car to a port.
- First time out of Boston
- First time on Carnival Glory
- First time in Interior cabin (can we say “darker than the inside of pea-coat sleeve?”)
- First time in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
As you’ve read before, we live near Lake Ontario above Syracuse in New York. We have family in Providence, Rhode Island, so we know that it takes about 6 to 6 1/2 hours to get to R.I. So getting to Boston should be a breeze; timing was to be the biggest challenge. You don’t want to get to Boston in the middle of rush hour, but at the time time you’re anxious for the Good Times to Roll! The luggage was packed and in the car before we even finished dinner….there was absolutely NOTHING on TV despite 300 cable channels…..we sat and looked at each other….. that does it!!!! We both decided to take a nap and head out on the road around 2:30 am. We could take our time, have a nice breakfast and still make it to the port in wonderful time. Boston is an easy trip for us; we just get on the New York State Thruway (I-90) continue on the Mass. Pike (I-90) all the way in to Boston. Once we hit the city, the signs were easy to follow. Including the breakfast stop, it took approximately 8 hours of easy driving (thankfully).
When I’m doing my notes on our cruises, I know that I sometimes write in depth about minor things. Some people may think it’s overkill and I’m just being wordy. But I think about the questions that a first timer might have about some things. In this case, we had never been to Boston cruise port — where do you park? — where do you drop the bags off? — which way to the entrance? etc. etc. Okay, so here is where I get wordy for the benefit of a first timer to Boston: We followed the signs to the port and had that first great sighting of the whale tail. Law enforcement was very visible and were really helping people out in directing traffic. We passed the parking building on our left and were told to drive to the end of the road, turn right, turn right on the next street and we could pull up to the terminal and drop the bags off. Get ready with your tip because if the bags are tagged and ready, they are off and running. I stayed with the carry-on luggage while John drove the car back around to the parking building. It is very close to the terminal, so even though he was using a cane, the walk was not bad. From what I could learn, our June 4th cruise was the first one out for the season and everybody at the terminal was spiffy clean and smiling brightly like the first day of school. Some of the port workers were walking up and down handing out Canadian custom declarations. You put a tourist hat on me and I lose all ability to think….why are they giving me the customs card now? I haven’t bought anything?? Yeah, I figured it out a little while later, but I felt like such a dunce. The card was asking you to declare what you’re “bringing in” to the country, not buying.
Once in the terminal, we took the escalator to the second floor to the check-in desks. The lines were moving right along, gave them our paperwork and customs card, got our S&S card (darn!!! still not Platinum, this is only cruise #9) and went to the waiting area. Here’s the part I loved. After we checked in, because John uses a cane they had a woman escort us to the “needs assistance” waiting area, another woman handed me a boarding card that said #2. No big deal, I have no idea what’s going on, I’m happy, I can see the ship. Finally it’s our turn and they are leading us to the Great Ding Machine…..I’m headed to the door and I hand a woman my #2 card and she says “You’re not supposed to be here; go over there!” pointing to the other side of the terminal. That is not going to happen — so I just smiled sweetly, thanked her so much, handed her the card, pointed behind me (at nothing in particular) and kept right on walking. Solved that problem with a minimum of public outcry!
Went around to the port side of the ship and saw the lobster boats at their dock. Brought back memories of when we lived in Rockland, Maine (Lobster capital of Maine?). Lobstering is an extremely difficult occupation and the equipment alone can get costly. I love to see all the boats in the water and the traps on the dock. Guess the only sight that could be prettier is a huge pot with a juicy red lobster inside saying “Got butter?”
And a sight that always brings a smile to the Chief’s face as he thinks back on his days on patrol.
What’s Your First Stop Once You’re On Board????
We usually head for the Lido deck, check out the munchy lunch, and of course there is the obligatory “I’m finally on vacation” drink with the little umbrella and attached fruit slices!!! I was a little confused at first because I didn’t want the Funship Freddy drink, but would rather have had the Yellow Bird. When I asked the server, he looked around and then said something about in that area of the ship because of the Blue Iguana, you could only get rum and tequila drinks????? Oh well — you will very soon learn that this cruise we did not go dry by any means, discovering new drink sensations everyday.
Sights from the Lido Deck
Never having been on the Glory before, I relied on tips I read about ahead of time. We heard about the Fish n Chips restaurant on the very upper level of the buffet area. Often people said that there were very few folks up there on embarkation because no one really knew it was there until they had been on the ship for awhile. Well we made a bee-line for Fish n Chips and sure enough there was no one up there but us at first. It was a great time to take a few photos of the decor (can’t help it, I like the nautical decor).
As the photography store sign said:
Well, I think for this cruise the main theme for us was just to relax and enjoy. We were alone and enjoying a chance to talk and to catch up on things. There were many people that we met and traded tales with, but for the most part it was just RELAXATION.
So instead of day-by-day, silly little stories, perhaps it would be best to just put some photos in here and tell our story in bits and pieces.
One of the things I’ve noticed in reading other cruisers’ reviews — one picture of Cruiseport Boston sign on the terminal is the same as another, one picture of the Lido deck is the same as another, one picture of the white tent at Saint John is the same as another — you know what I’m saying. But … the photo in front of you is YOURS…you were the one that was there!!! And I guess that makes all the difference in the world. I have read a number of reviews of the Canada cruise because I had never been there before. They were all very interesting and I poured over the photos. It’s funny how when you return home, you read the same reviews again and the photos take on a whole new quality, they then have a personal attachment to them (“I remember that…” “I forgot to look for that…” etc.).
Carnival Fun Times (pdf ) Embarkation 060413 Tues
This Canadian cruise was the one that I made reservations for while we were in between cruises in April. Couldn’t help it, there was a great sale going on. Anyway…we could not get our preferred “Early Dining” time that we like, instead we were waitlisted for it and had “Your Time Dining.” Our first night at dinner, we were in Golden Restaurant, Deck 3 right by the Lobby. We were placed at a table overlooking the starboard side of the ship. Beautiful view!!
Each night we were very fortunate to get the same table and the same wait staff. Some folks like meeting new crew every night, while we find that it is more interesting to learn their stories and to see them each night and find out what happened during the day. Lawrence and his crew were really great and had their act together when it came to serving our area of the restaurant — and always with a smile!!
Leaving Boston and sitting at dinner with such a great view of the ocean was a thrill. I looked across at John and suddenly a big smile came across his face. He grabbed his camera and started taking photos of something in the water. I had no idea what he was doing until he was done and explained that it was The Graves Light. Years ago, John had been sent to the Graves to relieve another Coast Guardsman while he was on his honeymoon. So for two weeks, that light was his home.
The Graves Light
The Graves Light is a lighthouse located on The Graves, the outermost island of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, and 9 miles (14 km) offshore of downtown Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
At 113 feet (34 m), it is the tallest lighthouse in the approaches to the Port of Boston, and is an important navigation aid for traffic to and from the port. It was built at the same time that the North Channel into Boston Harbor was dredged to become the principal entrance for large vessels. The Graves are the outermost rocks near the outer end of the North Channel. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Graves Light Station on September 28, 1987, reference number 87002041.
John enjoyed a great career in the Coast Guard and was involved in so many experiences. He could tell you tales on any number of topics — from his search and rescue days to his time on the North Atlantic.
But I have to tell ya…..how could memories of living on a little rock for two weeks bring such a smile to a person’s face???? What do you do for entertainment — take long walks? Fish?
On to my next favorite spot – CASINO
We walked around the casino for awhile looking for some new machines (or new to us at least). It’s a little bit smaller than some other ships and at night it can get “tush-to-tush” crowded, but it still was fund. Our casino host for this trip was Maria, a delightful woman who always stopped by to ask how we were doing.
Fun Times for Our Sea Day 060513 Wed
Fun Times – Saint John 060613 Thurs
Saint John, NB
Views on our Approach
Finally Docked – white tent area is a small marketplace, some very nice vendors.
I have discovered that in new ports where I know I might be making a lot of souvenir shopping, carrying a backpack makes it so much easier. Trying to balance all the bags or trying to carry them on one shoulder gets very heavy. I must admit I also carry my iPad so that I can connect to any free wi-fi.
The venders they had inside the tent area at the dock were really spectacular. I am amazed at the selection of arts and crafts from throughout the region. My only regret was that not all the booths and venders were there. Great selection for what was there though! My favorite was the Celtic shop where John found this neat cap. There was a woman’s cape that I fell in love with, but alas you had to pay in cash and I just didn’t think we should part with that much cash (one never knows what might be just around the corner)!
Can you imagine how many photos of this sign have been taken over the years by us tourists? And we put it in our photo albums and we send it to friends and relatives! Shucks — one of us has even posted it in her blog.
I wonder if that could be considered one of the most effective forms of advertising via social media?
The “Courtesy” Flag
Or at least that’s what I call it. Perhaps I don’t look upward very often or perhaps I am just not that observant at times. When we were standing on the dock in Saint John, I looked up and for the first time saw a Canadian flag flying on the Carnival Glory. John explained the nautical tradition that in a foreign port, once the ship has been cleared and enters, the ship will often fly the host country’s flag. The flag is displayed at a higher point than the flag of the ship’s registry country. This is done as a sign of respect to the host country.
I’m definitely going to be looking for that the next cruise we take.
These pages get somewhat long, so I believe it would be wise to create another page for our next adventure – Halifax, Nova Scotia, join me on Page 2 (click on little number 2 down below)