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Home > Member Reviews > Aelder2259's Port Reviews of Portland (Maine), Bar Harbor, Saint John (New Brunswick), Halifax

Aelder2259's Port Reviews of Portland (Maine), Bar Harbor, Saint John (New Brunswick), Halifax
Grandeur of the Seas cruise in October 2013
Member Name: Aelder2259
Cruise Date: October 2013
Embarkation: St. John (U.S.V.I.)
Destination: Canada & New England
Member Review: Aelder2259's Grandeur of the Seas Review
Portland (Maine)
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

I wish I would have taken one of the excursions - my feet hurt to much to do any exploring. Instead, I walked along the promenade for a bit and ate lunch at the Old Seaport Seafood Grill. I'm sure I could have found lobster much cheaper if I went further into the city. Market Price means "we see a tourist and will charge a higher rate," I'm sure. The restaurant has great food with friendly staff. After receiving a deformed lobster (it was missing meat in the tail and claws, so the fisherman surely saved it from a life of misery), I was comped my beer and a shrimp cocktail while waiting for a new lobster.

If you walk around the wharf in the old port, you will probably see fisherman unloading their lobster catch.

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Bar Harbor
Historic Lighthouse Cruise Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

Since the government was shut down, Acadia National Park was closed. So, all those excursions were cancelled and they booked people on other ones. Our cruise was doubled in size with a different boat that was not conducive to taking photographs of the lighthouses. Plus, a third of the people had to sit outside on the top deck, where it was extremely cold and windy when the boat was moving and higher speeds.

We had lunch at the Fish House Grill. I ordered the combination of lobster tail, snow crab, stone crab claws, lobster claws, clams, mussels & shrimp. One of the clams was filled with black, sticky mud and it really grossed me out. They took everything and just washed it off instead of giving me a new order. They didn't even take some money off the order as an apology (the cook should have caught this is they scrubbed the shells before cooking them). The siphons of the clams had a dark, gritty skin on them that should have been removed (I had never eaten a clam that required this before...they looks and tasted gross). They steamed the shrimp in salt water and butter, making them very oily and weird tasting. The only good thing I ate was the cornbread, which was excellent.

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Saint John (New Brunswick)
Photography Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Small group size of 20 was a big plus for this excursion. Matt, the tour guide, is a professional photographer who shared his knowledge of photo composition (rule of thirds, leading lines, etc.) and camera settings (aperture, speed), while showing examples from his own work. I had taken a photography class, so I knew this information already, but it was very informative for my cousin and most of the other people on the trip. He took us to some great spots for shooting photos - I only wish there would have been more places to stop with more time overall.

This is an excellent excursion if you love to take photos and wish to get away from the crowds of other tourists.

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Peggy's Cove Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

After reading the disappointing reviews by other cruise critic members, I was starting to regret that I signed up for the Peggy's Cove excursion. I'm glad I did, was my favorite place of the whole cruise to take photos!

Unlike some of the other reviewers, we spent 75 minutes at Peggy's Cove - plenty of time to walk through the town, take photos, get a bite to eat, and do a little shopping.

Hints: Take your passport with you and go upstairs of the main gift shop/restaurant - they will stamp it with a passport stamp that has the lighthouse in it. Also, everything upstairs is locally made (instead of China) and there was NO line at the checkout! Skip the crowd at the restaurant and head over to the hotdog cart ($5 for a dog and a soda) - she even makes her own relish and mustard.

My only negative comments are that there are so many people walking around the lighthouse that it's near impossible to get a complete photo of it without people in it. Too bad they don't make everyone clear out every 30 minutes (for 15 minutes) so people can take photos. Also, too many buses there at one time...I think 3 buses at a time is plenty (not the 20 that seemed to be there). The place is just too small for that many people.

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