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Rerouted Cruise - Now to Portland, Maine


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Hello Everybody,


I was supposed to be going to Bermuda, but will now be going to Portland, ME and Halifax, NS.  I love Halifax, but know nothing about Portland.  Since we just found out and we leave on Saturday, it's too late to book an excursion on line right now.  What is there to do in Portland?  Is there a seafood place that is recommended?  Please let me know how to make the best of this situation.  


Thanks in advance!

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We love Portland, ME and looking forward to our port stop again this October.

It's an easy DIY docking right next to the city center easily walkable. Becky's Diner is popular for a lobster roll but also check out Holy Donuts...they'll be a line. 

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Lots to DIY in Portland!  As well as food and craft beers, there are walks, narrow gauge railway, mail boat trips around the islands.  Maps at visitors center at the end of the pier, and people there who can answer any questions.  We've been multiple times, never had to go beyond the town.

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If you google search "restaurants, old port, portland, maine", you'll find a slew of places, though not all are open for lunch (not sure if you'll be in port for dinner), and I've been to nearly all of them, and would recommend every one of them.  For seafood, I'd recommend Boone's, J's Oyster Bar, or Gilbert's Chowder House for lunch. Portland has been named a top "foodie" town for several years.


A popular tour is the Portland Mail Boat Run, which is the Casco Bay Ferry that runs mail and supplies (including the groceries purchased by island residents at mainland stores) to all the year round inhabited islands of Casco Bay.  Takes about 3 hours, goes to 4-5 islands, great views of the Bay.


Almost all of downtown Portland is within 1.5 miles of the pier, all of it safe walking (though lots of cobblestone sidewalks, and fairly hilly).  Art Museum, Wadsworth-Longfellow House (Henry's house), narrow gauge railroad, Portland Observatory for views of the Bay, Eastern Prom trail for views of Bay and lots of Victorian houses.

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I posted this reply to the same question a couple of weeks ago.  But I’ll repost it here.  


Portland is so easy to do on your own!  I wrote a post about this last year you can find by searching, but I’ll share some ideas here as well.  FYI - we spend our summers in the Portland Area - and love playing tour guide for our friends who come visit.  


The Old Port area is easy to reach from the cruise dock.  Don’t miss Wharf Street, Exchange and Milk Street.  Lots of places to grab a drink or a meal (Lobster Rolls!) along the water or in Old Port.  


You can take a stroll up to the Eastern Promenade and walk along enjoying the view.  Then head down to Washington Avenue for some oysters at The Shop.  Great selection of Maine oysters, which I think are the best in the world and I’ve tried them all.  


For beer lovers - head to Fox, Anderson and Cove streets (short walk from Eastern Prom or a very short Uber from the Cruise port) for tons of craft breweries.  TONS!  My favorites are Belleflower, Rising Tide, Lone Pine and Goodfire, but there are probably over a dozen more here, not including the wine tasting rooms, hard seltzer and liquor distillers, which are all worth a visit depending on what you like.


Want more boat rides - take a ferry from Casco Bay Ferry Terminal.  The mail run is a great option for a long tour or just ride over to Peaks and get a lobster lunch at Island Lobster.  You can also do a tour with Lucky Lobster where they will take you out to harvest your own lobster and then Portland Lobster Co will prepare it for you.  


Lighthouses more your thing - get an Uber to Portland Head and spend a while exploring the shoreline walk and Fort Williams Park.  Then head over to Bug Light to see great views of Portland and the Harbor and the very interesting display on shipbuilding in South Portland during WWII.  Or head to Spring Point Light and explore Fort Preble, the beautiful shoreline path and a walk along Willard Beach.  If you want to stretch your legs the walk between Bug and Spring Point Lights is about 20-30 minutes and if you really want to get a long walk in you could walk all 3 lighthouses.  The walk along Shore Road has some gorgeous homes and great views.  


Eastern Cemetery has a good self guided tour if that is your thing.  Western Cemetery is also nice to explore, but in my opinion Eastern has more interesting history.  


The west side of town has some gorgeous mansions including the Victorian that does tours. 


There are great restaurants all over town.  Congress can be interesting to explore and there is a walking tour (it has been years since I did it, but you used to be able to get info for the DIY tour at the TIC near the cruise Port) but the homeless drug addicts seem to be more crazy on Congress than other parts of town, in my experience.  Deering Park is gorgeous on a map, but has been given over to homeless encampments.  We go to the farmers market and steer clear of the park at all other times.  


You can rent bikes or kayaks to get around and get different views.  Kayaks are easily available at Eastern Prom.  BTW - Eastern Prom has different paths at the top, bottom and mid slope of the hill.  I prefer the top for the views, but sometimes the Beach Trail has a better breeze on a hot day.  


There are tons of gorgeous hikes around and so much more to do!  I’m happy to provide more info if anyone has specific questions.  

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11 minutes ago, shipgeeks said:

What do they have?

Panini's.  Known specifically for their french fries fried in, wait for it, "Duckfat".  Also known for their milk shakes.  Poutine, using the duckfat fried fries.  They do have a lobster roll, that is all knuckle and claw meat.  Highly recommend, but it is small and a bit hard to get into.

Edited by chengkp75
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Within walking distance of the port the Standard Baking Co has wonderful breads, croissants, cookies & brownies. Also close by the ferry over to Peaks for a walk around or golf cart rental.

If you are not into any physical activity you could just eat & drink your way through Portland, it's that good.

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