Let’s just say we had an early wake up call today. Although we weren’t doing a shore excursion, five members of our group were doing one and we offered to help get them to where they needed to go. We were up at 6:15 am although I didn’t get much sleep worrying about whether or not I would oversleep and have them miss the excursion. Their paperwork said they would need to be there at 8 am and we had heard that the ship would arrive at 7 am into Saint John. Knowing how this usually works, we allowed for 30 minutes from arrival until they would announce overhead that we could know disembark. What I didn’t think about and what everyone was talking about was the time difference since on land it would be one hour ahead of ship time.
|Marco Polo Cruise Terminal, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
We waited with my in-laws in their cabin while the ship docked in port and then we waited some more. Strangely enough, there was never an overhead announcement and the only reason we started moving out of the cabin was because my husband recognized the telltale dinging of cards going into the machine by security. If you have ever cruised before, you know that has a very distinctive sound. We quickly hustled them out of their cabins and toward their excursion, the Fundy Coast to Shore Tour, where we made sure they were set and we would meet them again later in the afternoon.
|Red Sail Restaurant Buffet
It was now time for breakfast and despite thinking that most people would get off the ship, I know realize that they were all at the buffet. All of the lines at 9:30 am were excruciatingly long including the omelet station where my son stayed until he received his no matter what. Typical breakfast fare includes fruit, breads, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, sausage, ham, bacon, and cold and hot cereals. This morning I saw panko crusted hard boiled eggs, which is a little strange, but I guess if you like hard boiled eggs you might like to try something different. A couple of cups of coffee and I felt like a brand new woman, ready to take on the world.
With no definitive plans for Saint John, it didn’t prevent us from walking off the ship and exploring a little. When getting off any cruise ship, always plan to have your photo ID and cabin card with you. You’ll need to show your card to get on and off the ship and your ID to get back into the terminal to access your ship. There were so many people who didn’t know about this and were completely unprepared for an otherwise simple on and off situation.
|Dockside Market at the cruise terminal
Upon arrival into the terminal, we noticed that every woman from the cruise is greeted by a female volunteer from the community who provides her with a rose. This touching gesture is indicative of the area and the people and shows you how truly caring the people of Saint John are. We walked outside and there is a tent set up with items for purchase such as jewelry, Christmas items, clothing, food (including maple syrup, maple candy, maple sugar, maple cookies, and more maple items), and souvenirs. We had heard that there was a festival in town so we walked ahead and past the many places targeting tourists including the many photo ops, items for sale on the street, and tours. We finally arrived and saw that the Buskers on the Boardwalk Festival was ongoing and there were many activities for children, but nothing that motivated us enough to stop. When we all agreed that we were tapped out for activities in Saint John, we made the short trek back to the ship and got back onboard. If you bring your laptop, iPad, or smartphone to Saint John, there is free WiFi in the terminal – no password needed.
A quick change out of our street clothes and into my bathing suit and I was off to fulfill my commitment of going down the water slide with my husband and son. Keep in mind that although they were predicting a sunny day and 75 degree weather, it was still on the cold side. But I braved the colder weather and equally cold water and went down the slide. In fact, I did it more than once and then promptly jumped in the hot tub to warm up! If you or a family member is hesitant to try something on a cruise ship because of the crowds that usually form during sea days, try it instead on a port day. We basically had the slide to ourselves and could go up and down it as many times as we wanted.
Lunch was in the buffet again, but remember you can easily opt for a sit down meal in a main dining room during sea days. They had a Caribbean theme lunch so we were only more than happy to eat rice and beans, plantains, salad, and more. Yum! The Mongolian Wok, Burrito Bar, and Deli were more than popular and the lines were too long to wait in so we didn’t do that. I tried the Mongolian Wok on day two of our cruise and I liked it, but I don’t want to have to wait in a line forever for my meal. Clearly persistence and perseverance pays off for those who wait, but it wasn’t in the cards for me today. Don’t forget you can always opt for the 24-hour pizzeria that is always available if you can’t stand the lines.
As today is the actual day of my in-laws wedding anniversary, we were excited to have everyone together for dinner as we had ordered them a cake. For my appetizer I ordered the black bean soup, but realized that it had meat in it (pork maybe?) as soon as I tasted it. They brought me a salad instead and then I waited for my entrée, which was polenta with a mushroom ragout. The mushrooms were delicious, but unfortunately, the polenta looked more like a dip than typical polenta. I ate the mushrooms and bypassed that and waited for dessert. The wait staff got up and danced and entertained the diners and then dessert time came. Little did I know that they were going to sing and they told my in-laws to not stop kissing until they had stopped singing! Oh my!
Everyone parted ways after dinner and so now I can tell you that they are all either looking for or have located some form of entertainment. The Love and Marriage game show was something that we were hoping to get my in-laws up on stage, but I think the whole cake and song and dinner was just about all we were going to pull out of them for the evening. My husband was excited to use the match play coupon that he received by having a drink with dinner so I kind of now where he might spend some time tonight! With a sea day tomorrow there will be more to report on from the Carnival Glory so stay tuned for more!