Independent Shore Excursions in Canada/New England

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#1
Brentwood, Northern CA
1,011 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Hello! My husband and I are planning to book a Canada/New England cruise in October 2011. I have read several reviews that mention that many of the ports can be done on your own with a map and some planning. I was wondering if anyone can give me more details, such as tour companies you used and enjoyed, or even great places to walk/take a bus to in each port.

We will be at: Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John's, and Halifax.

It seems like Newport has lots of sight-seeing, Boston has lots of history (I need to learn more about the Freedom Trail), Bar Harbor has a cute town and Acadia National Park, St. John's has Reversing Falls, and Halifax has Titanic history and Peggy's Cove. That's the extent of my knowledge.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can give me!
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TrojanJulez
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#2
Green Bay, WI
1,008 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
You do not want to miss Peggy's Cove. It is beautiful. Visit Lunenburg while you are in that area. The whale watching tours are wonderful. It is a very easy drive.
#3
The West of Scotland
4,381 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We did these ports in 2009.

In Newport you can take the local bus and get off at a stop to see the mansions. You can walk along the clifftop and re-board the bus at a later stop. It is a circular route.

In Boston we took a taxi from the ship to Quincey`s Market then started walking the Freedom trail from there. It is really easy to do and we loved it. There is a ferry to bring you back across if you want to cut down on the walking but we just missed one and took a taxi to Cheers, then finished the rest of the Freedom Trail from there.

In St John, New Brunswick we walked to the reversing falls and then to the market. It was quite a walk but make sure you time it to see the reversing falls at the right time.

In Bar Harbour we went on Olly`s Trolley Tour to the Acadia National Park. We booked online beforehand but you could have walked on if you got there early enough.

We took a taxi tour in Halifax. http://www.halifaxtaxitours.com/ We had pre-booked it. We went to the Titanic Graveyard and Peggy`s Cove. There were other itineraries available also from this company. The driver was really knowledgeable.

It is a good cruise.
#4
North Carolina
154 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
My wife and I did the following:

New London (not Newport) - took the free bus into town and walked around.

Boston - took a cab to the USS Conststution and did the Freedom Trail in reverse. Grabbed a cab from Boston Commons back to the Crown.

Bar Harbour - Bought tickets at the dock for Olie's Tolley and a shore excursion to see the lighthouses.

Saint John - we did the shore excursion hop on, hop out bus.

Halifax - shore excursion to Peggy's Cove (be sure to see this place)

Sydney - walked around town and took a shore excursion to the shoreline.

Charlottetown - rented a car then saw fifteen lighthouses and Anneland.

Quebec - walked aound town

You can read more by clicking on the link below - have a great cruise!
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#5
Currently ported in Las Vegas, NV
2,946 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Our trip in 2009:

Newport: Walked for miles along the "Cliff Walk" and ate lunch at a local place. Sunny, brisk day. Loved it.

Boston: Did the "Old Town HoHo" trolley (paid in advance) and saw tons of places, and got off at several stops and walked. Loved it.

Bar Harbor: Did a trolley tour to Acadia Natl Park. Beautiful fall colors. Walked around BH after. Had lobster and chowdah and brews. Walked through the old Bar Harbor Inn (wanted to leave the ship and book a room, it was that beautiful!)

St. Johns: Walked from ship to the huge indoor market area. Great place. Walked back to the pier area and negotiated for a 3 hour private tour with a cab driver (along with another couple). "Phil" took us all over St Johns, including the reversing falls (cool and interesting, but not very exciting). The tour was scenic and enjoyable.

Halifax: A Cruise Critic member organized a tour for 12 of us with "YourCab". Jonathon was our guide and it was a GREAT day. Titanic cemetery, parks, maple factory, lunch, and trip to Peggy's Cove. Loved it!
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#6
Long Island, NY
16,636 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
In Halifax, we just walked the Harbour walk boardwalk adjacent to the pier, and stopped in at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to see the Titanic exhibit.

In Boston, we purchased tickets online for the Hop on Hop off bus, and simply explored the city on our own. http://www.trolleytours.com/boston/

In Bar Harbor, we booked the National Park service bus tour http://www.acadiatours.com/ and highly recommend it!
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#7
Ohio
1,981 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Halifax - Bruce's tours - Peggy's Cove & Lunenburg, a wonderful day. Lunenburg is a UNESCO heritage site fishing village with beautiful wooden historical houses. The school looks like a wedding cake. We arrived at Peggy's Cove later in the day, after the mobs of people.

Loved the Lighthouse Boat ride in Bar Harbor. We have done whale watches, nature cruises from this company in the past. This was a new cruise for us. I loved it! We saw not 5 but 6 lighthouses.
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#9
Lincoln, CA USA
111 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Bar Harbor has free shuttle buses that go throughout Acadia National Park.

Halifax has taxis that will take 6 people to Peggy's Cove. I think 3 hours cost us $20 a piece.

Auto rentals are an option available at most all of the ports. However, note that some of the Canadian rentals have limited mileage.
#10
Trinity,Fl USA
2,868 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Newport - We tendered in and went to The Breakers and The Marble House. Got there by taxi (we took a taxi to beat the ship excursions), came back by bus #67. Houses were great, saw people walking on Cliffwalk along the water. Back in town went over to Trinity Church, built in 1726. Then walked over to St. Mary's Church where JFK and Jackie were married. If you want, you can go to the web site for RIPTA to “contact us” and request a bus schedule for bus #67. Beware, this is a tender port and if the weather is bad the ship may bypass this port. Tickets to the mansions are not refundable so do not buy them ahead on line.

Boston - If you want a HOHO, this one has the largest route:
http://www.trolleytours.com/boston/b...ton-travel.asp
There is a small discount if you buy e-tickets ahead on line and this one has a pick up location near the ship - no need to get a taxi or buy the ship shuttle ticket to get to its starting point. It has several stops near points of interest on the Freedom Trail.

Bar Harbor - We've been on Oli's Trolleys twice and would hightly recommend it as others have mentioned. I believe you can have tickets reserved and held at the ticket window to be picked up. Once again, this is a tender port - do not pay for anything ahead. The 2 1/2hr. tour is really nice.
http://www.exploreacadia.com/index.htm This is the free shuttle which was talked about before but may not still be running when you are there and I'm not sure if it goes to the top of Cadillac Mountain.
http://www.acadiamagic.com/ShorePath.html This is info on the walking path by the waters' edge. The site has pictures of the path and I can say from our experience that it is a really nice walk.

St. John's is Newfoundland, Saint John is New Brunswick. Which one are you going to. The advice that was given by another poster was for Saint John, but you typed St. John's. Just wondering. If it's really Saint John (NB), we had a great tour with Freedom Travel. Also, Saint John Transit offers a 2 hr. tour at a great price but the web site hasn't been updated yet for 2011. Look that up in a few months.

Good advice already about Halifax, except no-one mentioned just walking the town. There is the Citadel at the top of the hill and the Public Gardens just a short walk from the Citadel. And, of course, what has been mentioned - Peggy's Cove (1 hr. drive from Halifax), Fairview Cemetery (Titanic graves, just outside of town, too far to walk to),
Maritime Museum (on the boardwalk, nice walk from where the ship docks). All of these sites can be googled for your research.













#11
Georgia
224 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by nctraveler54
My wife and I did the following:

New London (not Newport) - took the free bus into town and walked around.

Boston - took a cab to the USS Conststution and did the Freedom Trail in reverse. Grabbed a cab from Boston Commons back to the Crown.

Bar Harbour - Bought tickets at the dock for Olie's Tolley and a shore excursion to see the lighthouses.

Saint John - we did the shore excursion hop on, hop out bus.

Halifax - shore excursion to Peggy's Cove (be sure to see this place)

Sydney - walked around town and took a shore excursion to the shoreline.

Charlottetown - rented a car then saw fifteen lighthouses and Anneland.

Quebec - walked aound town

You can read more by clicking on the link below - have a great cruise!

Did you set up the rent a car ahead of time in Charlottetown and if so who did you use?

Thank you.
#12
North Carolina
8,247 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Second the recommendation re walking tour or just spending day along waterfront, Citadel and maybe a harbor cruise if you don't want to go to Peggy's Cover. Maritime Museum is fascinating and there are great restaurants everywhere. We went to Lunenburg last time we were there to see Bluenose II.. IF the Bluenose II is in Halifax when you are there that is great option for harbor tour.

In St Johns NB reversing rapids are fascinating to see and there are so many good places for lunch near the big market downtown.. sort of an indoor type Pikes Market like Seattle if you've ever been there.
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#13
Central Ohio
3,218 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by teacherplus
Did you set up the rent a car ahead of time in Charlottetown and if so who did you use?

Thank you.
We reserved Enterprise who will pick you up at the pier. Cost of a Compact car for the day is 32.29.

We also have National at 40.79 in Halifax, using the Via Rail station for pickup, Enterprise at 38.94 in Sydney and Budget at 27.90 in Montreal using the Iberville Passinger Terminal (below the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth) for pickup.
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#14
659 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We did a cruise this past summer with an identical itinerary...here's what we did at each port, followed by my reccomendation.
- Newport: Took public transportation (we're from the NY area, so for us, it's basically 2nd nature but honestly it was so easy and the staff were so friendly, I think anyone could do it.) The day passes are $6 per person, with unlimited rides. The buses loop and run every 15 - 20 minutes, we had no problem with long waits. http://www.ripta.com/schedules/view.php There's the link, it goes past many of the mansions (breakers, marble house, etc.) cliff walk, tennis hall of fame, most of the big attractions. We got on/off as we pleased after doing some online research, we stopped at Touro Synagogue, Tennis Hall of Fame, Breakers, and Cliff Walk. A full day but it was lots of fun! The bus departs about 2 blocks from the tender dropoff, just walk to your left when getting off - you can't miss the HUGE building. HIGHLY RECCOMMENDED!
- Boston: We have been to Boston numerous times (the only port that wasn't brand new to us) but somehow still fell into taking the HOHO trolley that everyone has mentioned above. It's fine, but expensive and since we've already seen a lot of the city, we probably just could've done something that was less pricey and hit the spots we wanted. But if it's your first time visiting, not a bad way to see the city.
- Bar Harbor: Did the Oli's Trolley tour mentioned above and had a PHENOMENAL time...highly reccomended, the best way to see Acadia with a tight schedule. We had ample time to walk around and each lunch, Bar Harbor has a very nice, quaint, "All-American town" kinda feel to it. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here, probably our favorite port.
- Saint John: We booked the HOHO pick bus tour, again very expensive and we happened to be exhausted that day, so I don't think we really got our money's worth. Many of the loops also didn't really appeal to us. I wouldn't reccomend it, if we went again, we'd probably do Reversing Falls and maybe some exploring on foot (we like walking and it's a very walkable city)
- Halifax: We did the Historic Halifax/Peggy's Cove Tour with Jonathan on a reccomendation from cruise critic. Here's his website: http://www.yourcab.ca/ It's his own business and he runs a great trip, you can book privately or lower the cost by booking with others if you know anyone going. Yes, it was expensive, but it worked out to be the same price per person as the HOHO tours and we felt we got much more out of it. While he has a definitive plan that he knows works well, you basically rent him for 5 hours and do whatever you'd like in that time. More time at Peggy's Cove? No problem! Skip the Titanic cemetery? Sure! He's great, couldn't think of a better way to spend the day there!

Enjoy whatever you choose. It was an awesome itinerary and we had a great time!
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#15
North Carolina
154 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by teacherplus
Did you set up the rent a car ahead of time in Charlottetown and if so who did you use?

Thank you.

We booked ahead of time with Enterprise. They picked us up (they were running a shuttle van) and carried us back to the dock. Ran about a $110.00 with full insurance and they filled it up.
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Don and Teresa

https://sites.google.com/site/nctraveler54/
#16
Texas
65 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Julie,

Do you have any contact info for "YourCab"? We'd like to do an independent tour like that with other cruisers.

Originally posted by julia
Our trip in 2009:

Newport: Walked for miles along the "Cliff Walk" and ate lunch at a local place. Sunny, brisk day. Loved it.

Boston: Did the "Old Town HoHo" trolley (paid in advance) and saw tons of places, and got off at several stops and walked. Loved it.

Bar Harbor: Did a trolley tour to Acadia Natl Park. Beautiful fall colors. Walked around BH after. Had lobster and chowdah and brews. Walked through the old Bar Harbor Inn (wanted to leave the ship and book a room, it was that beautiful!)

St. Johns: Walked from ship to the huge indoor market area. Great place. Walked back to the pier area and negotiated for a 3 hour private tour with a cab driver (along with another couple). "Phil" took us all over St Johns, including the reversing falls (cool and interesting, but not very exciting). The tour was scenic and enjoyable.

Halifax: A Cruise Critic member organized a tour for 12 of us with "YourCab". Jonathon was our guide and it was a GREAT day. Titanic cemetery, parks, maple factory, lunch, and trip to Peggy's Cove. Loved it!
#18
Georgia
224 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Astro Flyer
Here's a link for Oli's Trolley tour which we enjoyed in Bar Harbor & can be booked in advance. Enjoyed it more than the Park Service's school bus & if the ship can't tender into port they won't charge you.

http://acadiaislandtours.com/
I emailed Oli's Trolley two days ago to reserve for May and have not heard back from them. Do you remember how long it takes? Did you email or call?
#19
Windsor Locks, CT
6,417 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
teacherplus wrote: ....emailed Oli's Trolley two days ago to reserve for May and have not heard back from them......

Bar Harbor is just waking up from its long winter nap. Give them time.


SBtS
#20
Georgia
224 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by SailBadtheSinner
teacherplus wrote: ....emailed Oli's Trolley two days ago to reserve for May and have not heard back from them......

Bar Harbor is just waking up from its long winter nap. Give them time.


SBtS

They answered after I sent it again. They said they never got the first one. It's out in space still.