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What ports are good to just explore on your own?


Kitty Ellas Mom
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My first cruise, Caribbean Princess Canada / New England, is in one month.  I booked, early on, excursions from the cruise ship for the things I wanted most to do:  Anne of Green Gables things in Charlottetown, Hopewell Rocks, and a gravestone tour in Boston.  But there are so many other ports (10 day cruise) and I am uncertain if I want to do any of them without an excursion. 

 

I don't know the cities well enough to know if I'll be able to find things to do.  I'm researching now, but it's a bit late, as I'm finding now that a lot of the excursions are sold out.   This is a solo cruise, btw, so I am feeling like I'm not sure I want to go out completely alone (well actually a large group cruise but I don't know anyone yet, just sort of know online, and not well--I did sign up for the CC roll call and have been following that).  I've traveled a lot but am not used to the pressure of having to get back to the ship by a certain time.  I don't know things like will I be able to easily find a taxi.

 

Example:  Portand Maine, all excursions sold out except 2.  I did book one, but am uncertain I really want to do it (Victoria Mansion).  That doesn't sound like a place I'd reliably get a taxi, and I'm not good with rideshares.   I noticed that in Sydney and Halifax there is a lot of availability still;  I am guessing these are much larger cities than Portland.  I've looked some at tours not from the cruise ship but so far haven't found anything that really intrigues me.  I did book some excursions with the intention of canceling if I decide not to do a sponsored excursion at that port.  Thanks for any advice.  I would definitely e njoy just hanging out in a city by myself but am worried about things like transportation away from the cruise port--and back to it.

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Join your roll call   maybe some will have private tours  to share  but  if not   do some research  at the ports & see what really interests you

most you can DIY if you know what you want to see/do

 

Sadly the  famous  rocks at Hopewell  have collapsed

https://www.nbparks.ca/en/parks/33/hopewell-rocks-provincial-park

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4 minutes ago, Kitty Ellas Mom said:

From what I can tell some Hopewell Rocks collapsed but not all.

true

but the iconic  arch is gone

see the photos in the link

All depends on your interests

 

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1 hour ago, Kitty Ellas Mom said:

My first cruise, Caribbean Princess Canada / New England, is in one month.  I booked, early on, excursions from the cruise ship for the things I wanted most to do:  Anne of Green Gables things in Charlottetown, Hopewell Rocks, and a gravestone tour in Boston.  But there are so many other ports (10 day cruise) and I am uncertain if I want to do any of them without an excursion. 

 

I don't know the cities well enough to know if I'll be able to find things to do.  I'm researching now, but it's a bit late, as I'm finding now that a lot of the excursions are sold out.   This is a solo cruise, btw, so I am feeling like I'm not sure I want to go out completely alone (well actually a large group cruise but I don't know anyone yet, just sort of know online, and not well--I did sign up for the CC roll call and have been following that).  I've traveled a lot but am not used to the pressure of having to get back to the ship by a certain time.  I don't know things like will I be able to easily find a taxi.

 

Example:  Portand Maine, all excursions sold out except 2.  I did book one, but am uncertain I really want to do it (Victoria Mansion).  That doesn't sound like a place I'd reliably get a taxi, and I'm not good with rideshares.   I noticed that in Sydney and Halifax there is a lot of availability still;  I am guessing these are much larger cities than Portland.  I've looked some at tours not from the cruise ship but so far haven't found anything that really intrigues me.  I did book some excursions with the intention of canceling if I decide not to do a sponsored excursion at that port.  Thanks for any advice.  I would definitely e njoy just hanging out in a city by myself but am worried about things like transportation away from the cruise port--and back to it.

Hi there, we are also cruising to Canada and New England for 24 nights from uk.

I found that the well known site Viat.. can mention site name co.pletely as not allowed  was very helpful for Halifax and Sydney

Halifax we and doing a small group Peggy Cove Express Tour. They pick you up at the port and return you there which takes some of the worry out of doing independent tours.

Sydney we picked a Shared Cruise Excursion to Mini Cabot Trail. Again pick up and drop off at port. 

Dont know what other ports you have but look at the site and also join cruise critics for your roll call. We have loads of people in contact with each other  if the tours you ar interested  in are booked on that site, I contacted one tour we wanted to do that was full and they had plenty of room. Just meant you had to pay tour operator directly.

Enjoy your cruise.

Linda.

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IMO, so many ports on a C/NE cruise are absolutely DIY-able if you have no serious mobility issues. In fact, no transportation or tours needed, just the ability to walk.  We have done many of them a number of times, and have never done a tour or excursion, although we will be doing the HOHO bus in Saint John (are you going there?) next month, just for a change.

Halifax is very walkable, if you decide not to do a tour. There is a boardwalk, about a mile long, along the waterfront, with views of the harbour, eateries, pubs, museums.  A little higher is the Citadel and the botanic gardens.

Portland is very walkable and enjoyable. The Victorian mansions are just across from the ship, as are the mail boat, narrow gauge railway, and more, plus lots of good eateries and pubs.

Freedom Trail in Boston can be reached from the ship and walked in part or all.

Please list your other ports, and perhaps we can share some further information.

By the way, before we went to any of these, I just looked up the websites for the towns/cities, not a tour company, and learned a lot about them, including maps.

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Ports are, with excursions I'm pretty sure about:

 

--departs Brooklyn (I'm doing a lot of museums in NYC day before)

--Newport, Rhode Island (I'm doing Breakers and Marble House)

--Boston, Mass (ghosts and gravestones tour, Faneuil hall, maybe art museum too)

--Portland, Maine 

--Saint John for the Bay of Fundy (probably Hopewell Rocks, undecided if keeping that)

--Halifax

--Sydney

--Charlottetown (Anne of Green Gables museums)

--Quebec (overnight)

 

BTW the main issue with the Hopewell Rocks to me isn't that some of it is gone now, but that it's a 2 hr drive on a bus both ways to get there.  I'm uncertain if this is worth 4 hrs on a bus.  But a friend showing me pics of her time there is part of what convinced me to take this cruise, plus there isn't anything else like it on the cruise.

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Portland is a great port for DIY exploring within walking distance of the ship, with restaurants, shops, breweries, etc. You might want to check out Portland Discovery Tours, which is walking distance from the cruise terminal. They offer several different tours at reasonable prices. We enjoyed our land and sea combo tour. Also check out their page with info for cruise ship passengers.

https://portlanddiscovery.com/tours

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3 hours ago, shipgeeks said:

The Victorian mansions are just across from the ship

As a Portland resident, I'd say "huh?" to this.  The Victoria Mansion is walkable from the pier, but it is over a mile.  

 

For the OP, most things in Portland are within a 1.5 mile radius from the pier.  Don't use cabs downtown, but they are readily available, and certainly at the Victoria Mansion.

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4 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

As a Portland resident, I'd say "huh?" to this.  The Victoria Mansion is walkable from the pier, but it is over a mile.  

 

For the OP, most things in Portland are within a 1.5 mile radius from the pier.  Don't use cabs downtown, but they are readily available, and certainly at the Victoria Mansion.

I was referring to the street of Victorian-style houses we saw when we walked up towards the hotel and park on the hill.  It didn't feel very far at the time; I guess we were younger and fitter!

Is The Victoria Mansion something else?  We just enjoyed seeing those houses from the outside, as part of our walk that day.

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1 hour ago, shipgeeks said:

I was referring to the street of Victorian-style houses we saw when we walked up towards the hotel and park on the hill.  It didn't feel very far at the time; I guess we were younger and fitter!

Is The Victoria Mansion something else?  We just enjoyed seeing those houses from the outside, as part of our walk that day.

The Victoria Mansion is a museum, where they have outfitted an old Victorian house with all period furnishings.  It is a national historical monument.  Guided tours are given.

 

You are referring, I think, to the grand Victorian houses on the Eastern Prom.

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Portland is very doable on your own.  There is another thread going on already about that.  I posted a million ideas, which I won’t repeat here, but you can see by scrolling or searching. Portland is the largest city in Maine, but it is also tiny.  It is easy to get around here.  

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