Travel tips- New England, Maritime Canada, Quebec

OK so hubby works for a cruise line and we're taking a Canada/New England cruise this September. So I am looking for tips on what to do in the ports.

Also, let's be honest. we are probably going to skip a couple of ports and chill out on the ship, so are any of these ports more "skippable"? 

Wed 09/04/19 New York City (manhattan Or Brooklyn), New York Depart 7:00pm
Thu 09/05/19 Newport, Rhode Island Arrive 7:00am Depart 5:00pm
Fri 09/06/19 Boston, Massachusetts, United States Arrive 11:00am Depart 8:00pm
Sat 09/07/19 Bar Harbor, Maine, United States Arrive 7:00am Depart 7:00pm
Sun 09/08/19 Saint John (for The Bay Of Fundy), New Brunswick, Canada Arrive 7:00am Depart 4:00pm
Mon 09/09/19 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm
Tue 09/10/19 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm
Wed 09/11/19 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Arrive 7:00am Depart 4:00pm
Thu 09/12/19 At Sea
Fri 09/13/19 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada Arrive 9:00am (stay all day and overnight here)
Sat 09/14/19 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada Arrive 7:00am
(end of cruise)

Comments

  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    Lobster Roll.. that's all i got. do it!
    CeciliaMTravis
  • My perspective is someone who lives in Boston and has been to all the US places on this list, and 0 of the 

    It depends on what you like. If you like historical stuff, then NYC, Newport, Boston, Halifax, and Quebec City are likely must sees. 

    If you like art, then NYC is an absolute must see for the Met and MOMA. Boston has the Isabella Stewart Gardener museum, and the ICA (a smaller version of the MOMA) and the MFA (a smaller version of the Met). 

    If you like natural beauty, Boston and NYC are easy skips. 

    Here's what I know about each stop

    NYC - What is there to say? Best museums in the US outside of DC, great shopping, crazy expensive. Central Park gets bragged about a lot, but honestly, it's only impressive to people who live in NYC cause they never get to see any other trees or grass. 

    Newport - Most famous for its guilded age mansions, the Breakers being the most well known. If you are interested in opulent late-18th century architecture, it has some of the best. There's also a very nice ocean walk that winds along the shore in front of all the mansions. 

    Boston - Best historical city in the US. The Freedom Trail hits all the main spots and is VERY walk-able, especially if you skip the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill monument. If you are interested in US history, Boston is a must see. If you are super into baseball, Fenway Park is a nice stop as well. If history isn't your jam, honestly, Boston is skippable. 

    Bar Harbor - A quaint, cute fishing town that has become fairly touristy. Most famous for it's natural beauty and Acadia National Park, which takes up the lion's share of the island the town is on. If you like hiking, this is your stop. If you aren't really interested in nature, you can take an easy day in the small town. 

    I haven't been to any of the places in Canada, so I can't advice you as well there, but I know Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are supposed to be beautiful. I also know (think I know?) that Quebec City was the site of the failed US invasion of canada during the revolution. 
    CeciliaMTravis
  • Oh yeah, I forgot to say what our interests are. I am more of a city kitty, and I'm interested in cultural and historical attractions when i travel.  So the bigger cities appeal to me more, although there is some Celtic heritage museum/farm on one of the Canadian stops that looks good. Hubby will probably want to see some lighthouses and we both love to eat. haha

    We won't be in NYC very long and we might be totally exhausted, since I think because of our schedules we are going to have to take a redeye. So I don't think we'll see any museums but we might have some time to kill. We're sailing out of the Brooklyn cruise terminal. 
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    edited June 11
    asmallcat said:
    I haven't been to any of the places in Canada, so I can't advice you as well there, but I know Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are supposed to be beautiful.
    We stopped in this town on our way back from Oak Island (less than an hour from Halifax) on Friday.


    Image may contain cloud sky ocean outdoor water and nature

    There's the Mont Blanc Anchor Site, the 1100 pound anchor flew over the city, two miles away.

    Citadel Hill




    Titanic Graveyards

    Oldest city in North America.

    Peggy's Cove is nearby.




    If you like science you might like Halifax's Discovery Centre.  I went to the old location, but haven't been to the new one. (In October 2010, the Discovery Centre announced that it would move from Barrington Street to the Halifax Seaport, adjacent to the new headquarters of Nova Scotia Power. The museum relocated there in 2017.).




    Dartmouth, across Chester Basin, is it's twin city, and (it's suburb Cole Harbour) is the childhood home of NHL Superstars Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon.




    I don't know much about Sydney, other than it's the third smallest city on that list, behind Newport and Bar Harbor.  And there's a giant fiddle that I visited there. 
    No photo description available


    Charlottetown, PEI.  Anne of Green Gables, Birthplace of Confederation.
    CeciliaM
  • @Cory We were watching some videos and they kept saying it was the birthplace of Confederation- What does that mean?
  • Sorry to piggyback on your post but I’m planning a long weekend trip to Boston later this summer and was curious if @asmallcat has any good reasonably priced seafood recommendations. Haven’t booked a hotel yet, so any areas that you’d recommend staying in. 
    CeciliaM
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    CeciliaM said:
    @Cory We were watching some videos and they kept saying it was the birthplace of Confederation- What does that mean?
    It's where the first discussions of a united Canada were (and I think eventually signed there).  Oddly PEI was not one of the original provinces to sign.  Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario were the first four (1867), PEI joined in 1873.
    CeciliaM
  • Sorry to piggyback on your post but I’m planning a long weekend trip to Boston later this summer and was curious if @asmallcat has any good reasonably priced seafood recommendations. Haven’t booked a hotel yet, so any areas that you’d recommend staying in. 
    Piggyback away!

    I've actually been to Boston; it's the only place on  my list I've been before for more than a few hours.  Reasonably priced seafood is everywhere! I feel like there were even lobster rolls at McDonalds. We stayed in the Back Bay area- my two sisters and I shared a studio apartment with a Murphy bed and a sofa for a week. Kind of like Airbnb, but before Airbnb existed. This was almost 20 years ago, so not sure if it would be affordable now. It was very walkable and really easy to get everywhere on the subway. 
    Naugustine
  • MichelleMichelle California
    @CeciliaM it probably goes without saying, but *the* place to visit in Quebec City is the old historic part of the city.  I've always wanted to go, so I'll be living vicariously through you.  There's so much to see - churches, hotels that are in incredibly old buildings, statues/monuments, etc. and if you get hungry - among the other places to eat, there is a restaurant called Aux Anciens Canadiens that is in an old home that dates to 1677.  I've seen photos of the food and it looks really good.

    http://www.auxancienscanadiens.qc.ca/en/menu-formule.htm



  • CoryCory New Scotland
    CeciliaM said:
     I feel like there were even lobster rolls at McDonalds.  
    We have them here too, although I don't think they are available year round.  I don't eat lobster myself, but I've seen millions of them.  Ugly creatures.
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited June 11
    Connecticut style lobster roll >>>>>>>> Maine style. 

    Also Rhode Island clear clam chowder > New England > Manhattan. 

    Fight me. 
    Travis
  • Quebec City is the best.  Be prepared to eat the best food that you've ever had in your life.  There's a lot of competition in the restaurant industry there and you can get meals in the $20-$25 range that you'd pay $50 for in other cities.

    Also, go to a 'greasy spoon' type of restaurant and get a poutine.  Don't go for the fancy-dancy stuff (some places like to put a 'twist' on poutine and add baccon to it or whatever...don't do that), get the basic fries-curds-gravy made by someone who could be your grandmother.

    The Plains of Abraham are also close by.  That's the location of a battle that decided Canada's fate and where we became a British colony (the battle was fought between England and France, we'd end up belonging to whoever won that battle).

    It would be easy to spend money there, but you don't really have to.  Walk around the city, especially the old part of town.  Take in the character of the city, enjoy the architecture, ambiance etc  Grab a drink on sidewalk patio and soak in the lifestyle.

    Quebec City is a really special place. 
    CeciliaM
  • Sorry to piggyback on your post but I’m planning a long weekend trip to Boston later this summer and was curious if @asmallcat has any good reasonably priced seafood recommendations. Haven’t booked a hotel yet, so any areas that you’d recommend staying in. 
    I'd recommend Legal Seafood TBH. They're a little on the expensive side, but the food is delicious and they have like 5 locations around the city so you can usually find one close to where you are. Otherwise, you probably can't go wrong just yelping places near you and looking for seafood, as a place has to be pretty good to survive out here because there are so many seafood options. Just check menus cause some places are gonna be mostly fried stuff, and if that's not your jam you're gonna be bummed out. 

    As far as hotels, downtown (so like back bay and east to the waterfront) is the best place to stay for accessing everything, but it's gonna be expensive. If the downtown hotels are too dear, anywhere with access to the Red Line, Blue Line, or Orange Line will let you get downtown quickly, as will the D line of the Green Line. Avoid the B, C, and E parts of the green line like the plague, as they are street-level streetcars and have to sit in traffic and it will take you an hour to get into the city in the morning. Also, if you look at a map of the T you'll see a little section called the "mattapan high speed line" at the end of the red line. THIS IS NOT PART OF THE RED LINE. The advisability of staying in mattapan aside (not a great part of the city), this is actually one of the slowest parts of the T. In terms of looking for hotels, the red line end points to the south are Ashmont and Braintree.  
    TravisNaugustine
  • In Boston there is a solid seafood shack (caveat - it's been a long time since I've been there, might want to check if it's still up to snuff) near where the ships dock - Yankee Lobster. Good lobster roll and fried clams. It's also right near Harpoon Brewery so you can wash it down with some brews afterwards.
    Travis
  • We were only in Boston one time for a week, and I bet it's one of those things that's total touristy-ness and overrated through the eyes of locals, but goddamn those cannolis at Mikes were amazing. I thought about having them shipped to CA a couple of years ago, but I assumed I would screw it up with the DIY portion of the process and I didn't want to diminish the memory. Also reminds me that we really enjoyed Carmelina's which was nearby it. Think we did dinner at the latter and dessert at the former one night (though we hit Mike's a couple of times).
  • Travis said:
    We were only in Boston one time for a week, and I bet it's one of those things that's total touristy-ness and overrated through the eyes of locals, but goddamn those cannolis at Mikes were amazing. I thought about having them shipped to CA a couple of years ago, but I assumed I would screw it up with the DIY portion of the process and I didn't want to diminish the memory. Also reminds me that we really enjoyed Carmelina's which was nearby it. Think we did dinner at the latter and dessert at the former one night (though we hit Mike's a couple of times).

    Yup Mike's is the popular tourist choice, and by no means bad, but Modern Pastry right down the street is the way to go! The cannolis have a more delicate shell that balances better w/ the filling.
    Travisasmallcat
  • I visited Quebec city for a few days some years back. Vieux-Quebec is great and the Chateau Frontenac
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited June 11
    MrX said:
    Travis said:
    We were only in Boston one time for a week, and I bet it's one of those things that's total touristy-ness and overrated through the eyes of locals, but goddamn those cannolis at Mikes were amazing. I thought about having them shipped to CA a couple of years ago, but I assumed I would screw it up with the DIY portion of the process and I didn't want to diminish the memory. Also reminds me that we really enjoyed Carmelina's which was nearby it. Think we did dinner at the latter and dessert at the former one night (though we hit Mike's a couple of times).

    Yup Mike's is the popular tourist choice, and by no means bad, but Modern Pastry right down the street is the way to go! The cannolis have a more delicate shell that balances better w/ the filling.
    Thanks for the tip! Hopefully we'll be back at some point to try them. Great town, and I'd love to have the ones that are acknowledged as better by the people who have more background to know more about all of the options. That's the tough part about just blowing through town, missing the less obvious gems. Yelp helps with that, but it can only take you so far. 

    Also, if you're a baseball fan it's kind of obvious, but Fenway is definitely the best stadium of the 6 or 7 that we've been to. It's just a fuller experience. Totally lived up to the hype. You can really feel the whole thing that I (as someone from in CA) resented until seeing games at Yankee Stadium (new) and Fenway about the game just meaning more in the NE than the SW. Totally different vibe in a really good way. Super fun and memorable.
    MrX
  • edited June 11
    Second on modern pastry. I don't like cannolis, but my friends who do all say they are at least as good, if not better, and it's not an hour wait. That being said, Mike's is still delicious by their accounts, and I have had a fair number of non-cannoli pastries at both places, and they were all good. 

    Additionally, there excellent Italian food to be had in the north end if you want a break from seafood lol. 

    Edit - On Fenway - I hate baseball and STILL had fun watching a game there. It feels very Americana. If you are remotely interested in sports, I'd recommend it (although not as part of a 1-day stop on a cruise). 
    MrXTravis
  • I've been to Modern Pastry! I forgot about that place.

    The North End is really fun. You can smell Italian food in the air. When we were there, it was three sisters in our 20s and there were a few older retired gentlemen about who were trying to charm us (in a cute way, not a sexual harassment kind of way). It was really fun. 
    Travis
  • Quebec City is the best.  Be prepared to eat the best food that you've ever had in your life.  There's a lot of competition in the restaurant industry there and you can get meals in the $20-$25 range that you'd pay $50 for in other cities.

    Also, go to a 'greasy spoon' type of restaurant and get a poutine.  Don't go for the fancy-dancy stuff (some places like to put a 'twist' on poutine and add baccon to it or whatever...don't do that), get the basic fries-curds-gravy made by someone who could be your grandmother.

    The Plains of Abraham are also close by.  That's the location of a battle that decided Canada's fate and where we became a British colony (the battle was fought between England and France, we'd end up belonging to whoever won that battle).

    It would be easy to spend money there, but you don't really have to.  Walk around the city, especially the old part of town.  Take in the character of the city, enjoy the architecture, ambiance etc  Grab a drink on sidewalk patio and soak in the lifestyle.

    Quebec City is a really special place. 
    OK, so. Our cruise overnights in Quebec City, so we'll have the full day there on Friday, and it's also where we debark on Saturday morning. So we could conceivably spend more time there. Flights from there back to Seattle are kind of long and wacky and expensive, so we were thinking about taking a bus transfer that the cruise line offers to Montreal and flying out from there, although that also makes for a wacky journey and I am not sure it makes up for the extra flight leg we'd have to do. I also thought about taking that bus to Montreal and overnighting there in a hotel and flying back on Sunday, although I haven't convinced hubby yet since he wants to be home a full day before going back to work. I just feel like this is the second time we've been SO CLOSE to Montreal and missed it (the first time being when we visited Toronto in 2004).  I might be totally exhausted myself.
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    CeciliaM said:

    Tue 09/10/19 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm

    My wife is from Cape Breton. It's an incredible place even without planned activities. I would rent a car and drive the Cabot Trail for the day. It's about a 35 minute drive from Sydney.

    https://www.cbisland.com/cabot-trail/

    It's about 300km around the trail and there are many little communities you can visit along the way. The scenery is spectacular and unforgettable.

    Many people spend a few days along the trail, but it's also ideal for a sight-seeing day trip. You'll have to keep moving to stay within your time allowance, but it's a pretty amazing place to see, even if you only stop a few times.


    CeciliaM
  • Flukes said:
    CeciliaM said:

    Tue 09/10/19 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm

    My wife is from Cape Breton. It's an incredible place even without planned activities. I would rent a car and drive the Cabot Trail for the day. It's about a 35 minute drive from Sydney.

    https://www.cbisland.com/cabot-trail/

    It's about 300km around the trail and there are many little communities you can visit along the way. The scenery is spectacular and unforgettable.

    Many people spend a few days along the trail, but it's also ideal for a sight-seeing day trip. You'll have to keep moving to stay within your time allowance, but it's a pretty amazing place to see, even if you only stop a few times.


    Thanks! At that stop I was thinking about taking an excursion that goes here:
    https://highlandvillage.novascotia.ca/


    Flukes
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    edited June 11
    CeciliaM said:
    Flukes said:
    CeciliaM said:

    Tue 09/10/19 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm

    My wife is from Cape Breton. It's an incredible place even without planned activities. I would rent a car and drive the Cabot Trail for the day. It's about a 35 minute drive from Sydney.

    https://www.cbisland.com/cabot-trail/

    It's about 300km around the trail and there are many little communities you can visit along the way. The scenery is spectacular and unforgettable.

    Many people spend a few days along the trail, but it's also ideal for a sight-seeing day trip. You'll have to keep moving to stay within your time allowance, but it's a pretty amazing place to see, even if you only stop a few times.


    Thanks! At that stop I was thinking about taking an excursion that goes here:
    https://highlandvillage.novascotia.ca/


    I haven't been to the Highland Village, but my wife grew up on the shores of Lac Bras D'or. Her grandparents' house literally backs onto the lake.  It's much closer to Sydney and still a beautiful area. I'm really jealous!


    Edit: 
    My wife says the Highland Village is lovely. She says her favourite historic site is the Fortress of Louisbourg

    https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/ns/louisbourg

    You can even fire replica 18th-century muskets and cannons!

    Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
    Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
    CeciliaM
  • asmallcat said:
    My perspective is someone who lives in Boston and has been to all the US places on this list, and 0 of the 

    It depends on what you like. If you like historical stuff, then NYC, Newport, Boston, Halifax, and Quebec City are likely must sees. 

    If you like art, then NYC is an absolute must see for the Met and MOMA. Boston has the Isabella Stewart Gardener museum, and the ICA (a smaller version of the MOMA) and the MFA (a smaller version of the Met). 

    If you like natural beauty, Boston and NYC are easy skips. 

    Here's what I know about each stop

    NYC - What is there to say? Best museums in the US outside of DC, great shopping, crazy expensive. Central Park gets bragged about a lot, but honestly, it's only impressive to people who live in NYC cause they never get to see any other trees or grass. 

    Newport - Most famous for its guilded age mansions, the Breakers being the most well known. If you are interested in opulent late-18th century architecture, it has some of the best. There's also a very nice ocean walk that winds along the shore in front of all the mansions. 

    Boston - Best historical city in the US. The Freedom Trail hits all the main spots and is VERY walk-able, especially if you skip the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill monument. If you are interested in US history, Boston is a must see. If you are super into baseball, Fenway Park is a nice stop as well. If history isn't your jam, honestly, Boston is skippable. 

    Bar Harbor - A quaint, cute fishing town that has become fairly touristy. Most famous for it's natural beauty and Acadia National Park, which takes up the lion's share of the island the town is on. If you like hiking, this is your stop. If you aren't really interested in nature, you can take an easy day in the small town. 

    I haven't been to any of the places in Canada, so I can't advice you as well there, but I know Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are supposed to be beautiful. I also know (think I know?) that Quebec City was the site of the failed US invasion of canada during the revolution. 
    I forgot to cosign, regarding Newport. My wife and I spent about half a day in Newport on our roadtrip through the NE and did the mansions. It was really fun. We have sort of a disposition towards those kinds of things to begin with (historical and museum-y and nice architecture and gardens and what not), but it was definitely worth the price of admission for us. Granted we didn't do anything else there aside from eat breakfast and go for a really nice walk, so I can't speak to any other options, but we dug it.

    I'm super bummed that we missed Bar Harbor. Really wanted to check it out, but expanding the loop that high felt like it would mess up the driving to experiencing places ratio too much. Didn't make it higher than Portland in Maine (which was a super cool town to spend a day for what it's worth).

    For NYC, can't really go wrong in my limited experience. That said, you should be sure to go to the Whole Foods by Bryant Park and get the insulated grocery backpack. It's awesome, and apparently you can't get it around these parts. You will be the envy of Whole Foods shoppers and employees alike. Ha! Most people think you have to go to the fashion district to get exclusive NYC accessories, but nah. Just go to Whole Foods.
    CeciliaM
  • We will have so little time in NY that I don't think we will make it to Whole Foods! :) 

    I definitely want to go ashore in Bar Harbor, mainly because I have never been to Maine before. Newport seems like a good port for a kind of half day of messing around and then going back to the ship. I think they have a public transit bus that goes by the mansions so we'll probably do that to save money, and not be on a tour bus full of old people lol
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