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Home > Member Reviews > colewade's Port Reviews of Baltimore, Hamilton, Boston, Newport

colewade's Port Reviews of Baltimore, Hamilton, Boston, Newport
Enchantment of the Seas cruise in August 2012
Member Name: colewade
Cruise Date: August 2012
Embarkation: Baltimore
Destination: Bermuda
Member Review: colewade's Enchantment of the Seas Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
A taxi from BWI to downtown or the cruise port cost around $30. The free Charm City Circulator Buses and hotel shuttles can be very helpful for independent travelers without a car. We overnighted at the HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BALTIMORE AT THE STADIUMS. It is not on the Inner Harbor, it is in a warehouse district south of the Inner Harbor and the Stadiums. This less than ideal location that is close to the inner harbor by shuttle is really what makes the hotel much more reasonably priced pre-cruise hotel. It also cost $100 less than many of the Inner Harbor hotels, which are of similar quality. It offered just what we needed, a nice clean room, a very decent breakfast, and free shuttle service. The shuttle drop off in the Inner Harbor is in front of the Aquarium. Upon your return trip from the Inner Harbor, use the local hotel phone number and they will add you to the return trip roster.

We had a great attraction packed day in Baltimore. Arriving just after noon at Holiday Inn Express, we were able to check into our hotel room immediately. We started the day at FAIDLEY'S SEAFOOD in the somewhat sketchy but very interesting LEXINGTON MARKET. Faidley's did offer one the best whole lump crab cakes that I have ever tasted, and I am a crab cake snob. The Reist Plaza Bound #27 city bus will take you directly there from just behind the hotel at Haines and Warner Streets. Upon leaving the market, just walk three blocks east on Lexington Street and north (left) on Charles Plaza, which becomes Cathedral Place to get to three very worthwhile FREE ATTRACTIONS in the much more upscale Mount Vernon Neighborhood.

If you are leaving from the Inner Harbor, the northbound Purple Route on the Charm City Circulator buses will take you on a free and quick trip from the visitor's center to three of Baltimore's best attractions in the Mount Vernon neighborhood. Hop off at Hamilton Street stop #306 to walk one block south to THE BASILICA OF THE ASSUMPTION, America's oldest cathedral, is a magnificent unusually light and airy place of worship that was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, the architect of the US Capitol. Walk just one block north on Charles Street to Centre Street to visit the WALTERS ART MUSEUM. This museum offers a world-class art collection that rivals some of the best museums in Washington and New York. Even a very abbreviated tour of the Walter's is worth your time. Just up Charles Street, take a right at the nation's oldest Washington Monument. The magnificent and historic multistoried library of the PEABODY INSTUTUTE LIBRARY is truly a "Cathedral of Books". To return to Baltimore Harbor, just take the Purple Route back from stop # 315, just one block south at Centre Street and St. Paul. Taking just a couple hours out of you day, these three free attractions, are arguably better than anything the that the very touristy Inner Harbor has to offer.

As for the INNER HARBOR, the repurposed architecture and waterfront scenery is really it's best attraction. After having been to many large aquariums, I have decided that am not particularly into aquariums. That being said, The National Aquarium at Baltimore is the single biggest attraction in the Inner Harbor. The Historic Ships of Baltimore is the only other thing here that I think that could qualify as an attraction. While others may disagree I do not consider Hard Rock Cafe, The Cheesecake Factory, and Barnes and Noble scenic attractions at all. Added together the harbor does offer a fantastic photo-op that would be an absolute crime to be missed by any Baltimore visitor. We simply used it as a hub to get to even better sightseeing north in Mount Vernon or East in Fells Point.

FELLS POINT is a scenic and truly historic neighborhood for a pub-crawl and dinner. It is only about a mile walk - each way or a quick cab ride from the Inner Harbor. Weaving your way across the footbridges that connect the Inner Harbor, take Aliceanna Street East down to South Broadway. We especially enjoyed Bertha's Mussels and the really old Horse You Came in On Pub. The attraction here is the very old row houses, taverns, and cobbled streets that make up this very scenic almost spooky seafaring neighborhood. This is where the famous Baltimore Clippers were built. With a one-mile walk back to the Inner Harbor, we waited for about thirty minutes in front of the aquarium for the last hotel shuttle of the evening at around 10:00 pm. This was a great day in Baltimore.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
BERMUDA was every bit as beautiful as I expected. With only a day and a half in port at Royal Navy Dockyard, we thought it best to stick to Hamilton and the West End. Those that ventured on to St. Georges spent a large part of the day on the bus and little time at there destination. The St. George's Ferry does not operate on the weekend. If you are there during the week, the St. George's Ferry makes that trip perfectly doable by cutting the travel time in half.

The public transportation system really does work here. We each got two-day passes, which covered the bus and the ferry for $20. On day one we took the ferry over to Hamilton, and enjoyed the Gombay Dancers in Queen Elizabeth Park. From Hamilton we took the #7 bus to Warwick Long Beach. Any #7 bus departing Hamilton will get you to the south beaches. Just tell the bus driver up front where you want to get off. These have to be some of the most beautiful beaches in Bermuda. After hot dogs from a stand at Warwick Long Bay Beach, we hiked an absolutely stunning coastal trail to Horseshoe Bay. It was also about the hottest mile I have walked in my life. The beer at Horseshoe was a welcomed reward. Upon leaving you can take the $2 shuttle up the short but steep hill or just walk it. The bus station is just on the right as you leave Horseshoe Bay. Here you want to take only the #7 bus that says DOCKYARD if you are heading straight back to the ship. Some #7 buses stop at Barnes Corner or in Somerset.

On day two we walked to the Sea Glass beach a mile or so down the road from the Dockyard near the Convict Cemetery. Just walk out of the Dockyard toward Somerset. Take a right at the Y just beyond the bridge. Follow the road down behind some old bight blue project houses. Take a right and walk through the Convict Cemetery toward the water. The beach is absolutely covered in Sea Glass. Take a plastic bag with you.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the Royal Navy Dockyard. So the second day of our transport pass was pretty much wasted. It really is a beautiful and historic place that is worth your time. The Dockyard is full of re-purposed buildings and hulking ruins. It is a huge place. Have an Amber Ale at the Frog and Onion. It is a delicious cold local brew with a kick. We sampled the rum cake and watched the glass blowers. If had had more time, I would have visited The Bermuda Maritime Museum and the Commissioner's House up on the cliffs. The heat and a back ache from an already long walk, made the Amber Ale much more appealing than climbing the ramparts of this huge place.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
BOSTON turned out to be a fantastic and inexpensive port for a one-day cruise stop to walk the Freedom Trail. Having never been before, we were lucky enough to get the # 4 commuter bus from Dry Dock Avenue at Harbor Street and take it to the old north end to Hanover and Commercial Street. From the cruise terminal turn left out the door. Right on Design Place. Left on Dry Dock Avenue. It is the second bus stop about a block away on the right. The last one leaves at 08:34 am so you have to get off early to make this route. The alternative is the Silver Line # 2 Bus from The Design Center across the road. We returned from the Freedom trail this way.

We started our Freedom Trail from the Old North Church, which opens at 9:00am. We meandered down the red line, which marks the Freedom Trail where we found Modern Pastry and Mikes. Both famous Italian Bakeries were open with no crowds, no lines, just locals. We then saw the Paul Revere house as it opened at 09:30 and headed on through the Holocaust Memorial and the wonderfully scenic meeting hall upstairs at Faneuil Hall. You can then walked through Quincy Market to go over to the Long Wharf Ferry. We had hoped to visit the USS Constitution at Charlestowne and get a super cheap harbor tour in the process for $2. Unfortunately the ferry was leaving as we walked up.

Fearing time constraints, we continued south on the Freedom trail to Boston Commons and wound up with plenty of time to spare. I think we would have had time even if we had waited on the next ferry thirty minutes later. We took the Red Line Subway from Park Street to South Station and connect to the very strange Silver Line #2 partially underground bus service directly back to the cruise port. I think we spent $15 between the two of us for the transportation and attractions. This was a wonderful and cheap day in Boston.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
NEWPORT may have been my favorite port on the route. You absolutely should line up as early as possible for your tender tickets or you will find yourself getting off the ship in the mid afternoon. You have to tender from the middle of Naraganset Bay to the Newport Waterfront. The captain even extended our departure to 07:30pm because this is a long process. We headed straight to the visitor center and brought a Breakers Plus Ticket which allowed us to See the Breakers plus one other mansion of our choice. This was worth every dime of $25 ticket price. Next we had an absolutely delicious but pricey lobster roll at the Brick Alley Pub. Then we spent $2 each way on the #67 bus to Bellevue Avenue from the bus station behind the visitor center. Hop off at the first stop for the Cliff walk. Enjoy the stunning views as you walk along the Ocean to the Breakers. If you enjoy beautiful Mansions at all, the Breakers is the queen bee of Newport. If this house doesn't make your jaw drop, you numb to beauty. Next we walked the road to tour The Marble House, another gloriously overdecorated Vanderbilt confection that is also very worthwhile.

Catch the #67 back from The Marble House or points south or north rather than The Breakers. The buses were full when they got to the Breakers, which always has the biggest crowds. If you are lining up for the tenders around 4:30 pm as we did, expect a wait. Newport is a wonderfully old New England Village with lots of Colonial area houses, and plenty of other worthwhile attractions in town. I wish I had more time here. I understand that Newport may be discontinued from the route because of the tendering logistics. What a shame. No word on what port may be substituted when the Grandeur assumes this route next year.

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