Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

Saint John on our own!

There were two ports on our 5-Night Canada & New England Coast cruise: Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In both ports, my mom and I decided to explore the cities without a car, on our own, instead of booking a shore excursion.

The weather on the early September day that we docked in Halifax was perfect, slightly cloudy with daytime high temperatures in the low 70's F/20's C, and so we had high hopes for the weather the following day in Saint John; unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the weather in Saint John was different.

When we looked out of a porthole of our ship, we discovered that it was raining. We pulled on the rain gear and beach shoes that we had packed and ventured off the ship.

I'd read that the tide change in Saint John is so great that there is an obvious difference in the level of ships in the water at high and low tide, and so we snapped some "low tide" pictures of our beautiful ship, the Disney Magic,  from the dock, planning to snap some matching pictures that afternoon, when we returned.

Inside a brand-new cruise ship terminal, we were greeted with fresh roses and little Saint John pins; children were given Canadian flags.

Because of the rain, we decided to make use of Saint John's extensive system of indoor walkways. I asked the woman who greeted us for advice on how to best make use of the walkways to get to City Market (47 Charlotte Street), an indoor farmers market. The woman suggested that we make a left after exiting the cruise ship terminal and walk to Market Square shopping mall, which connects to City Market via the walkways.

After a three block walk in the rain, we entered Market Square mall and easily found our way to City Market. I had expected City Market to be the highlight of our visit, and the market offering fresh produce, crafts, syrups, jams, and other grocery items was interesting, but the true highlight of our visit was completely unplanned and unexpected.

After exploring City Market, we stepped outside into very light rain to visit Kings Square (Charlotte Street and King Street), a small park with a central fountain. As we walked toward the fountain, the rain began to fall harder and harder. Then it began to pour!

We left the square and ducked for cover under the marquee of a theater across the street. We pulled out our map to plan our next move.

A woman in the lobby of the theater poked her head out and invited us inside. The woman, Olive, offered to show us the auditorium of the theater with such enthusiasm that we agreed to take a quick look. Olive led us into a palace of an auditorium topped with a gorgeous chandelier where she entertained us with stories (ask about the owl) and facts about the theater. The historic Imperial Theatre (24 Kings Square South) originally opened in 1913. In 1929, it became a movie theater. In 1957, it became a place of worship. In the 1980's and 90's it underwent an extensive restoration, and now, once again, the theater hosts various live performances.

After our magical visit to the theater, we headed into the light rain to visit Trinity Church (116 Princess Street), about two blocks away. We explored the interior of the historic church, constructed in 1879-80, with its beautiful stained-glass windows and intricate wood carvings.

Satisfied with our rainy visit to Saint John, we walked back to City Market and used the indoor walkways through the mall to make our way to the cruise ship terminal. We stopped at Lawtons Drugs (39 King Street) on the lower level of the mall for some more Cadbury Wunderbars, chocolate-coated bars of caramelly, peanuty wonderfulness that we had discovered on our visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the day before.

We exited the mall into a downpour and walked the three outdoor blocks back to the ship, very glad that we had worn our rain gear and water shoes in contrast to the other tourists that we saw in soggy jeans and sneakers.

Before reboarding the ship, we snapped a few pictures of the Disney Magic from points similar to where we'd taken our earlier shots.

Back on the Disney Magic we changed into warm, dry clothes and compared our lower and higher tide photos of the ship. The difference was remarkable!

I did this in September 2012 in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Jen (California, USA)

The free map of Saint John, New Brunswick, that was given to us at the cruise ship terminal:

Note: The new cruise ship terminal is located adjacent to the one pictured (off map). The indoor tunnel system (Inside Connection Pedway) is indicated in light yellow. Trinity Church is number 85 on the map.