Halifax is great, a waterfront walk & maritime museum is very good, combine it with a 3/3.5 hour taxi ride to peggies cove that should also include halifax highlights (park & titanic graveyard etc)
Sydney was not a particularly attractive town to us, but get in a taxi & do the trip to Badeck (A Bell museum etc) scenary is superb, but I fear you will be a little too early for fall foliage. We had a great time on these two taxi rides (app $90 US) the highlights of our trip & well worth the money
I agree with Eric's reply but, being Canadaian permit me to add a little more with repect to the Cdn ports and just answer the second part of your question with respect to the American ports. Boston....well, is Boston. A beautiful city full of history. The harbour is definitely located wihtin walking distance of the downtown core (I'm assuming you are relatively fit). You can do a walking tour of the sights following lines that are painted on the sidewalks and a free guide from the city. Beautiful parks, markets, the Italian section. You can have a great day without a tour.
Portland a nice little city with shops, also within walking distance. If you don't take a tour you may be done in a couple of hours. There are tours going to duty free shopping incl L.L. Bean if you are into that type of thing. Also tours going to seashore parks and mountains etc.
Halifax is a beautiful and clean city. You can spend hours walking around if the weather is nice. The port is a good 30 min. walk from the downtown core but is in a pleasant area. Point pleasant park is beautiful, so are the Spring Gardens. The waterfront is a very popular tourist area. The "Bluenose" is usually parked there. Nice stores on Spring Garden Rd.. This is where I'll give you my sales pitch: Being American you shouldn't feel at all out of place. One thing I recomend in Halifax as well as Sydney is renting a car and driving to Peggy's Cove. If you can get together with another couple so much the better. There are a lot of beautiful little towns along the seashore a short drive from Halifax on your way to the cove.
Sydney: definitely a small town with little to do on foot except a Drug Store on their Main St. with a real old time Soda Fountain. Louisbourg Fortress is a must, Badeck is also nice. Again if you rent a car you can do both in the same day. The main attraction out of Sydney is the famous Cabot Trail. Again you can take a tour or do it yourself by car. Let's be blunt the Cabot Trail is amazing if the weather cooperates. Seeing fog won't be overly inspiring. I don't think tours will reimburse you if the weather isn't nice. Renting a car permits you to tailor your day accordingly. If it's nice you can do the Trail, if not you can go to Badeck and Louisbourg. The rental companies will come and get you at the ship. You asked for my 2 cents worth....Boy what a mistake :-).
Have yourself a great cruise, Phil.
Please check out the following websites relevant to your visit at Portland, Maine. If the onboard shore excursions are not your bag, you can easily explore Portland on the city's dedicated Cruise Ship Passenger Shuttle Bus, which will pick you up in front of the terminal. For just $5.00 per person you can ride the electric shuttle bus throughout the city all day! The bus will take you to the Portland Public Market, the Portland Museum of Art, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow House and the Victoria Mansion...these are just a few of the attractions along the buses route. Enjoy Portland!
I hope you will enjoy your time in my home town of Halifax. One thing that may be of interest is the "harbour Hopper". it is an amphibious vehicle that takes you on a sightseeing tour oh halifax and then drives into the harbour for a harbur cruise tour, $20 CDN.
Was on the Victory last year to Halifax. go to www.halifaxns.com
DO NOT take the excursions from the ship too expensive. As you get off the ship in Halifax there are sightseeing companies right there. I grabbed a taxi $6 went to downtown to the Grayline SIghtseeing. THey have a 3 hr tour amount other choices. You want to go to Grayline by the SHeraton. Halifax is like a mini San Fran and the people are friendly. Shopping is great on the harbor. Most tours leave about 9AM so get a hold of grayline they may send you a brochure...... Go to Search engine and put in Grayline tours. Have a great time!
Phil, I must disagree with you. Black Falcon pier is not an easy walk for most folks in Boston. The traffic is heavy with lots of construction still taking place in the South Station area because of the Big Dig. I advise taking a trolley tour which should pick you up right at the pier and you can get on and off at sites you like to inspect more closely: Fanuel Hall Market, Boston Public Garden, "skip Cheers" it's a tourist trap, go up the Prudential Building to the observation tower for a bird's eye view of the city, ride through Back Bay, Newbury Street, etc. Cost less than $20 pp.
I agree w Nanatravel. The Big Dig construction has made walking in that area difficult and irksome (due to the noise) for the locals. Out of towners would probably find it more so. The trolley tour is a good idea. I've taken it a couple of times, myself, when I've had out of state guests staying with us. It's a great way to see and learn about some interesting sights and figure out which ones you really want to see.
Or, you can take a taxi to the downtown area. Once you're away from the Big Dig area, pretty much everything in Boston is in walking distance.
Booked for 2004 on Constellation , 11 day, doing Newport. halifax Sydney,,Quebec, Maine etc. Are there any safety issues in these ports that would militate against doing some on your own? They all seem so quaint as to invite a bit of off the beaten path exploration.
I just bought online tickets for Old Town Trolley Tours in Boston. I called the company and asked where the closest pick-up location to the Black Falcon Pier was and I was told it was on Congress St in front of Three Cheers Restaurant. Do you happen to know if this is within walking distance of the pier? I have the brochure from the company and I thought that it looked like there was a shuttle with a stop that was closer to the pier that connected to the main trolley. Which trolley did you use? Is there more than one? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I sorry to report Congress St. is not within walking distance if you think 3.5 to 4.0 Miles close. You maybe able to pick up a shuttle in front of the Seaport Hotel opp. Boston World Trade Center.
i posted another mesage just got back. sydney and portland not as nuch to do. i rented a car to get out of that area and go a furhter bit oput. it is true in halifax i would have rented a car or taxi service very "tourist ready when you get of f the ship"