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Crusin Karen

Portland ~what to do on our own?

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We will be in Portland in 1 1/2 weeks. What is the area around the ship like? Things to do? We are not planning to do a "formal tour" but just wondered if there were any areas of interest within walking distance of the ship. TIA.

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My Cousin and I are planning on taking the Mail Boat Run around the neighboring Islands. You board the mail boat just down the pier from where the cruise ship is. It is about 3 1/2 hours and it says it is narrated. I think the price was $14 for Seniors. The pier is right in the city and very walkable to many shops, historic homes and restaurants. Beautiful city.

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My Cousin and I are planning on taking the Mail Boat Run around the neighboring Islands. You board the mail boat just down the pier from where the cruise ship is. It is about 3 1/2 hours and it says it is narrated. I think the price was $14 for Seniors. The pier is right in the city and very walkable to many shops, historic homes and restaurants. Beautiful city.

Never heard of that! Sounds interesting! Do you buy tics in advance or where you board the boat? Maybe we'll see you there. We're supposed to be in port the same day I think! :eek:

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I called the office when I first heard about this Mail Boat Run. They said you buy your tickets when you arrive at the pier where the mail boat leaves from. It sails from the Casco Bay Ferry dock which is located at 56 Commercial Street, about one block from the cruise terminal. The Ferry leaves at 10 AM and it is $14 for seniors. I did not write down the regular price. It is described on the Casco Bay Ferry website. It says the run takes between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours depending on the amount of mail and packages there are to be delivered. It has a pretty good review on TripAdvisor. Glad I could help you out.

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For those who enjoy historic houses, the Victoria Mansion is within walking distance from the cruise terminal. Also the Portland Museum of Art has an interesting collection, including a large collection of Winslow Homer. The Portland Science Center is located beside the Casco Bay Ferry office. Just use "google" to find the websites.

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For those who enjoy historic houses, the Victoria Mansion is within walking distance from the cruise terminal. Also the Portland Museum of Art has an interesting collection, including a large collection of Winslow Homer. The Portland Science Center is located beside the Casco Bay Ferry office. Just use "google" to find the websites.

Thank you!

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Also close by (nearly everything is close in Portland), is the Longfellow (Henry Wadsworth) house and museum, with many items of original furnishings. The Allagash brewery is close by, and gives tours and tastings. The Old Port area immediately adjacent to the pier has many shops, fine dining, and many brew pubs. There is the famous "lobsterman statue" on Middle Street and the statue to Cape Elizabeth native director John Ford on Pleasant Street.

 

There is also the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad museum, with a working narrow gauge steam train.

 

A short cab ride will get you to the Great Lost Bear, a nationally known brew pub known for its over 70 local craft beers on tap, many not available anywhere else in New England.

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And as I've recommended before, rather than taxi or bus for 1/2 hour each way to see Portland Head Light, get up early and get photos of the light from a unique perspective, from the sea as the ship sails closely by.

 

Google "portland old port" or Tripadvisor "portland old port" for things to see and where to eat. Look back at some of my posts on other Portland threads for lunch recommendations. If you're there for dinner time, even more fine dining in casual atmosphere (everything in Maine is casual) available.

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And as I've recommended before, rather than taxi or bus for 1/2 hour each way to see Portland Head Light, get up early and get photos of the light from a unique perspective, from the sea as the ship sails closely by.

 

 

This ^^^^ seriously. I got the best shots from the ship! And we went there on our tour. It's on the port side as you sail in. I wasn't expecting it. I'm always up and out on our balcony coming into port!

 

We did the Portland by Land and Sea through Carnival and we enjoyed it. We had plenty of time after for walking along Commercial St.

 

The sea part was a sail on a schooner and it was lovely. We also sailed by the lighthouse. The company is Windjammer Sails. A 2 hour sail is $44 pp. It docked not far from the ship

 

You can purchase on their website portlandschooner.com

 

We would have checked out the Narrow Gauge RR but we did so much walking in Boston and DH had sore feet [emoji849]

 

There is a lovely park near there with great views. And also the Portland Observatory - you can go to the top. Kind of hard to tell how far it is on the map. We passed it on the bus part of the tour but didn't stop.

 

I had my lobster roll at Boone's with some good craft beer- close to the ship. Lots of shops, restaurants and bars along Commercial St

 

We loved Portland!

 

 

 

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Portland is my home town! I love it so much. Just walk around theOld Port, everything is walking distance. The Portland headlight in Fort Williams is actually in (my actual hometown) Cape Elizabeth. It's an amazing location so I would say that's worth a cab ride or rental car to get there, a little beach, a Fort, cliff walks... My mom works at the museum! Say hi to Doreen! Finally, Maine has some of the best craft breweries around. If you like beer, taxi to Industrial way for a few great ones all in the same location. Foundation , Battery Steele, St Austin, and Allagash. Allagash being the most well known with a great tour (and generous samples) But, Foundation is my fave.

 

 

 

 

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Portland is my home town! I love it so much. Just walk around theOld Port, everything is walking distance. The Portland headlight in Fort Williams is actually in (my actual hometown) Cape Elizabeth. It's an amazing location so I would say that's worth a cab ride or rental car to get there, a little beach, a Fort, cliff walks... My mom works at the museum! Say hi to Doreen! Finally, Maine has some of the best craft breweries around. If you like beer, taxi to Industrial way for a few great ones all in the same location. Foundation , Battery Steele, St Austin, and Allagash. Allagash being the most well known with a great tour (and generous samples) But, Foundation is my fave.

 

 

 

 

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Oh, and Fort Williams/Portland Head Light has a food truck with one of the most awarded lobster rolls. Though, it should be, for 18 dollars. Seems kinda high for a food truck. I have never had one but that's the talk. I almost did last time but I was alone with three kids and that seemed like it would be a waste of money and calories splitting it/dropping it on them! I'll report back next time. Have a great time!

 

 

RCI Vision of the Seas, Turkey 2011

Carnival Holiday, Mexico 2009

Carnival Fantasy, Mexico 2007

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Oh, and Fort Williams/Portland Head Light has a food truck with one of the most awarded lobster rolls. Though, it should be, for 18 dollars. Seems kinda high for a food truck. I have never had one but that's the talk. I almost did last time but I was alone with three kids and that seemed like it would be a waste of money and calories splitting it/dropping it on them! I'll report back next time. Have a great time!

 

 

RCI Vision of the Seas, Turkey 2011

Carnival Holiday, Mexico 2009

Carnival Fantasy, Mexico 2007

 

Haven't tried "Bite into Maine" at Fort Williams, but Eventide is $18 or less for their lobster roll, much closer to the ship, and a great atmosphere.

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Some great ideas above. Also, you could go to Thompson's Point for Bissel Bros. brewery, Cellar Door Winery and Stroudwater Distillery, plus the Cryptozoology Museum. I also like Portlna Lobster Co. or Andy's, both right on Commercial Street, for lunch. Lots to do and enjoy!

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Do any shops open early when the cruise ship is in port? We arrive at 7am. I plan on going to Holy Donut. Is there anything to do before 10am? The Victoria Mansion opens at 10am.

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Do any shops open early when the cruise ship is in port? We arrive at 7am. I plan on going to Holy Donut. Is there anything to do before 10am? The Victoria Mansion opens at 10am.

 

I haven't noticed if they open early when the ships are in or not. Most are open by 10, some between 9 and 10. By all means get to the Holy Donut early; they bake donuts early, and when they sell out, they close. You could walk down to Becky's Diner (they've been going strong since 4am serving the fishermen), for a great breakfast before going to the Victoria mansion. Best thing to do early is walk the Old Port area (fairly small area) and get an idea of the shops and where you want to return later.

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Don't have much to add to Chengkp75.. I was thinking depending on the weather the fisherman might be at it and you could see the activity along commercial street and a few of the docks.

 

 

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I'm going to be on Anthem of the Seas rerouted to Portland for Monday. I've never been there but it all sounds lovely. I'm thinking walking around down town and then a cab to Fort Williams. I'm used to using Uber, are those plentiful in Portland? Reasonable cost? Or is a regular cab better? Once there, is there a specific point that is good for drop off? Thanks.

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I'm going to be on Anthem of the Seas rerouted to Portland for Monday. I've never been there but it all sounds lovely. I'm thinking walking around down town and then a cab to Fort Williams. I'm used to using Uber, are those plentiful in Portland? Reasonable cost? Or is a regular cab better? Once there, is there a specific point that is good for drop off? Thanks.

 

Cabs and Uber are not what you might think of a "plentiful" if you come from a big city. :o However, I would think that the Uber/Lyft drivers would be out in force for the ships. Either or for cost. They can probably drop you right at Portland Head Light, and then request pick up there as well. As I say, the best view of Portland Head Light is from sea, so get up early and see it from the ship and save the cab ride, though Fort Williams is a nice park, and the old officer's row housing is kind of neat.

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Thank you. I was thinking Fort Williams as a scenic place to walk around. I'm a hiker, just like to be outside, more than city tours. We will be in port from 7am to 3pm and I am one of those people who would get nervous pushing time on the return so I figured close was better. Do you have any other suggestions that might be good? I figured we might get rerouted to Canada but hadn't thought about Portland so it's all new to me. Not a shopper either.

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Thank you. I was thinking Fort Williams as a scenic place to walk around. I'm a hiker, just like to be outside, more than city tours. We will be in port from 7am to 3pm and I am one of those people who would get nervous pushing time on the return so I figured close was better. Do you have any other suggestions that might be good? I figured we might get rerouted to Canada but hadn't thought about Portland so it's all new to me. Not a shopper either.

 

Another nice place to walk around, and in Portland, is the Eastern Prom. As you exit the cruise terminal, there will be the "Eastern Promenade Trail", turn right, and you walk along the waterfront for about 0.7 mile and you will reach Fort Allen Park, the start of the Eastern Prom Park. The park stretches along the waterfront for another half to three quarters of a mile, with great views towards Fort Gorgas Island (Civil War fort), and Big and Little Diamond Islands and down Casco Bay. Then loop up to the top of the park for the return walk and see many of the historic Victorian and Federal homes along the way. On the way back, stop at DuckFat, where everything is cooked in, guess what, duck fat. Their milk shakes and truffle fries are fantastic. You can even swing by Allagash brewery for tours and tastings.

 

I just learned about a unique tour in Portland, that I'd never knew existed. It is the Portland Fire Tour that takes you around the downtown area of Portland in an old fire engine. Their place is on Commercial Street, which is the waterfront, less than a mile the other way from the cruise terminal. It only takes 12 at a time, and lasts only 50 minutes.

 

Of course, the big draw lately in Portland are the restaurants. Check out some of the other Portland threads for my recommendations for lunch.

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I love Fort Williams and think it's more than just a photo opportunity but I'm from there so I could be biased. The Eastern Prom is lovely and Duck Fat is very popular! If you do go out to Cape Elizabeth (where Fort Williams is... about 15-20 mins from the Port...) I'd also go to Two Lights State Park. Rocky cliffs and big waves, cliff walks, and another light house. Plus... the Lobster Shack which is probably the most beautiful place to eat a Lobster in the a world... I think I can safely say that without starting a big debate.. (google image?) That being said... I totally understand about not being able to relax when stressed about timing. It's close, but still a car drive away.

 

 

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This ^^^^ seriously. I got the best shots from the ship! And we went there on our tour. It's on the port side as you sail in. I wasn't expecting it. I'm always up and out on our balcony coming into port!

 

We did the Portland by Land and Sea through Carnival and we enjoyed it. We had plenty of time after for walking along Commercial St.

 

The sea part was a sail on a schooner and it was lovely. We also sailed by the lighthouse. The company is Windjammer Sails. A 2 hour sail is $44 pp. It docked not far from the ship

 

You can purchase on their website portlandschooner.com

 

We would have checked out the Narrow Gauge RR but we did so much walking in Boston and DH had sore feet [emoji849]

 

There is a lovely park near there with great views. And also the Portland Observatory - you can go to the top. Kind of hard to tell how far it is on the map. We passed it on the bus part of the tour but didn't stop.

 

I had my lobster roll at Boone's with some good craft beer- close to the ship. Lots of shops, restaurants and bars along Commercial St

 

We loved Portland!

 

 

 

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We have a port side balcony this summer and are super excited about the idea of seeing the lighthouse from our room. Do you remember by any chance how early it would be? Would an hour before scheduled arrival be enough? Or earlier? Thanks!

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Do any shops open early when the cruise ship is in port? We arrive at 7am. I plan on going to Holy Donut. Is there anything to do before 10am? The Victoria Mansion opens at 10am.

Holy Donut a perfect early starting spot.

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We have a port side balcony this summer and are super excited about the idea of seeing the lighthouse from our room. Do you remember by any chance how early it would be? Would an hour before scheduled arrival be enough? Or earlier? Thanks!

 

An hour before docking would be plenty of time. You can probably get a good shot of Ram Island Ledge Light, which is basically a lighthouse on a tide washed rock in the middle of the bay.

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OK I hate getting up early, but I think I'll have to take Chengkp75's suggestions for photos of the lighthouse. Got to write it in my notes!

 

Reading through all of this, I had an idea and I'm not sure if it exists. I'll cross check on TripAdvisor. Anyone know if there is a "Brewery Tour"? Might be fun for my mom and I to experience several of the local craft beers. Maybe she'll find something other than Guinness that won't give her the belches! LOL It would be something different since she's been to Portland before. Then everyone on the ship can laugh at us as we stagger back laughing our fool heads off. :)

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We have a port side balcony this summer and are super excited about the idea of seeing the lighthouse from our room. Do you remember by any chance how early it would be? Would an hour before scheduled arrival be enough? Or earlier? Thanks!

 

 

 

It was around sun up, which was around 6am

 

 

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Portland is a great craft brewery town. Shipyard Brewing is close to the terminal, and does a tour and tasting. There are not real tours of breweries, but you could catch a cab out to the Riverside Industrial area where there are Foundation, Austin Street, and Allagash breweries. Bissell Brothers is over at Thompson Point, along with a winery and a distillery. The Great Lost Bear is a bar that has over 70 craft beers on tap, some of which, like Sam Adams craft brews, are sold nowhere else in New England.

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The Maine Brew Bus offers a tour - it's located at 79 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101. They offer a 3 hour tour incorporating 3 breweries and a savoury pie baked locally (to soak up some of the alcohol). Find them at themainebrewbus.com

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It was around sun up, which was around 6am

 

 

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Thanks so much for the info!

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An hour before docking would be plenty of time. You can probably get a good shot of Ram Island Ledge Light, which is basically a lighthouse on a tide washed rock in the middle of the bay.

 

Thanks so much for the info!

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Another thing I recently learned about is the Portland Fire Engine Co, that gives a tour of the entire Portland peninsula (the downtown area) in a vintage fire engine. Takes about an hour, $24, $22 seniors. I haven't tried it, but sounds good.

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