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

mikebz's Port Reviews of Portland (Maine), Bar Harbor, Saint John (New Brunswick), Halifax, Boston
Explorer of the Seas cruise in October 2010
Member Name: mikebz
Cruise Date: October 2010
Embarkation: other
Destination: Canada & New England
Member Review: mikebz's Explorer of the Seas Review
Portland (Maine)
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

Portland Maine.

We took the ship excursion to Freeport. Thirty minute bus ride with a knowledgable guide. Learned some history, but it was mostly a shopping trip. Freeport was nice. L.L. Bean is big there, but went to other shops as well. I can go outlet shopping here, but I did manage to find some things, especially in the smaller non outlet stores. I had, hands down, the best chowder and lobster roll here. I don't remember the name of the place, but if you turn down the street by Cool As A Moose, it is tucked in the basement. Local place, and not fancy, but definately worth it.

Arrived back with time to spare, so walked around the town. Nice town, felt safe, and found the narrow gauge railroad. It is a train ride along the coast, but not far. Really enjoyed it. You could also just walk along the coast on a paved path with no vehicular traffic. Most locals do.


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Bar Harbor
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Hands down, the best port. You had to be tendered in, and some people were upset that you weren't aloowed to take their scooters, but it is a safety issue. Booked a trip with Acadia National Tours, and really enjoyed it. Colors were near peak, and the guide was very knowledgable about local history. Shopping along main street was very good. In addition to the usual tourist type stores, there were some really nice local stores. There was a local woodcrafting store that was very good. I would definately return on my own, and spend more time exploring the park.


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Saint John (New Brunswick)
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+

Ah, St. John's. Didn't really like this port. Went to the market, and it was nice, even picked up some local ice wine. Went to the Loyalist Cemetary, nicely done. Went to the Loyalist house, and the oldest church, and it was okay. Even went to the reversing falls to see the tide change. It was interesting, but okay. It wasn't that St. John's is a bad port of call, it is that nothing stands out in my mind. I would give it another chance, but I need to plan better.


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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

Halifax was great. Walked off the ship onto their boardwalk and walked to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Really well done museum focussing on shipwrecks in the area, most notably the Titanic. Very well done. Interactive exhibits, and some movies. They had an exhibit there of naval art that I thought was very well done.

After that, we walked to the Citadel. A word of caution: it is a long, steep hill to get to the base of the Citadel, and then another steep climb to get in. I enjoyed it, and thought it was worth it. You may not. There is a guided tour every hour. Take it if you can. This site is not ADA approved in my opinion. The parade grounds are dirt, gravel and uneven. The ramps to get above the wall are worse, and the tunnel to get between the walls is worst yet. If you are at all unsteady on your feet, do not take the tour. The tunnel is especially uneven and dark/claustrophobic.


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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

We took the ship's tour to Salem, as it was close to Halloween. Really enjoyed it, and the witch museum. The museum is factual, not Hollywood. There are Hollywood type atractions there as well. After coming back, we took the shuttle to Quincy Market. A quick disclaimer: I have been to Boston too many times to count, that's why I wanted to go to Salem. I had never been there around Halloween. My wife had never been to Boston, so we walked around part of the Freedom Trail. You could easily spend the day walking the Freedom Trail, and not be bored.


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