Overnight we’ve crossed the international border, docking in the early morning at Saint John on the Bay of Fundy. The port is right next to the town, so it’s only a short walk after disembarkation.
Not so great – it’s Canadian Thanksgiving and everything is closed. Everything.
We wander up steep streets into the middle of the city – again, mostly deserted. Eventually we discover the local market has opened specially to capture business from the tourists on Sky Princess. Annoyingly, there’s nothing we’re really interested in buying.
Perhaps worst of all, we can’t even score a local beer. Early return to Sky Princess.
Today we’re in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is nice. claiming to be ‘The World’s Friendliest Cruise Port’, we’re even greeted by a bagpiper down on the dock.
In the cruise terminal, a local guide directs us towards a bus that will take us out to a true dark tourism site – the Fairlawn Cemetery. This is the final resting place for the majority of victims recovered from Titanic. The range of ages and occupations is extremely interesting – as is the fact that some of the people still have not been identified.
Afterwards we take a walk to a local shopping mall. On the way we pass a much less well-known dark tourism site, the West End Cemetery. This unassuming black-fenced lot is the final resting place of 125 victims of the Halifax Explosion – an event that levelled most of the city in 1917. I doubt that any of the cruise excursions go past this relatively anonymous corner of the city.
Another bus back from the mall and we stop at the Garrison Brewery on the dock. This is a great excuse to try out one of their beer flights – and sample five beers at once. It certainly makes up for not trying any local brews yesterday.
We arrive in St John’s as the sun rises. Spectacular.
This is what having a balcony cabin stateroom is all about
Saint John followed by St. John’s – almost like the Canadians ran out of names for their cities. On the plus side, the ship docks right in the centre of town, so there’s no messing around when we decide to go ashore.
This time we decide to catch a bus to the outskirts of town. Why? So we can pick up some more soap at the ‘local’ Bath & Bodyworks store which is located in the Avalon Mall. The bus journey allows us to see some of the city – which looks remarkably like any other in North America.
We also stop at a Tim Horton’s to try the local fare. There is so much sugar I fear we will both have hypoglycaemic shock. I won’t be rushing to repeat the experience either. Later we learn that the Tim Horton’s restaurant closest to the dock ran out of coffee and could not meet demand from thirsty cruisers – so our trip out of town paid off.
Back into town and we stop into Broderick’s Pub – thankfully they have a beer from a brewery in town. Which is a good way to end the landside portion of the cruise.