Leaving New York, we sailed on board the beautiful Anthem of the Seas towards Boston, Maine and Nova Scotia, Canada. Make sure you read all about the first part of our adventure in New York and taking a look around Anthem of the Seas – read here.
Leaving New York our first port of call on this cruise was Boston. I have wanted to visit Boston for a long time and this cruise was the perfect opportunity to get to know this famous city. With only a few hours in port the perfect way to get about is always a hop-on and hop-off bus. Boston is no exception. We took the Old Town Trolley Tours which takes you across the length and breadth of the city. You will see the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship that’s still afloat; the Old State House, one of the most important buildings in the USA, it is the oldest surviving public building in Boston and is where the and the Declaration of Independence was originally read; the picture-perfect area of Beacon Hill and the public gardens; the Massachusetts State House; and the opportunity to jump off and visit MIT and Harvard if you wish. It’s honestly the best way to get a taste for the city.
Bar Harbour and Portland, Maine
By far the highlight of this trip for me was Maine. First-up was Portland, the largest city in the county of Maine. Given all there is to see and do, my top-tip is to do two tours. We took a morning trolley-bus tour (through Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours) around the city and the famous Portland Head Lighthouse – Here you’ll learn first-hand the history of this city, its role in American history and the four devastating fires that have destroyed parts of the city over and over. In the afternoon jump on a harbour tour and see the various forts and lighthouses that are scattered around the area.
Take some time to enjoy the city, have a wander around the cute streets and the lively waterfront area. You cannot leave here without trying a local lobster roll and some of the craft beers. Maine is known for its lobsters and you’ll see it is a local delicacy. In fact if you’re a fan of lobster, this trip is for you as it can be found everywhere in most of the ports.
Heading to our next port we found ourselves in beautiful Bar Harbour. Known for its spectacular coastal beauty, it is the perfect port to get back to nature and enjoy the outdoors. Southwest of Bar Harbor you will find Acadia National Park, the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River. There’s a variety of ways of seeing the Park including a free shuttle bus, hiring a car or a hop-on and hop-off bus – whatever way you choose you will not want to miss out on it.
You can see why many of the rich and famous choose to live here part of the year. Highlights include experiencing the beautiful coastline, including its unusual pink granite and the Thunderock, which roars parts of the day when the tide is right. Or pay a visit to the stunning Jordan Pond, where you can take in the view of the bubble mountains, enjoy the famous tea house or perhaps, if you have time, hike through some of the beautiful landscape. Finally, you won’t want to miss out on Cadillac Mountain, the first place to see the sunrise in the USA some of the year. This picturesque viewing point high above Bar Harbour affords spectacular views across Maine and Nova Scotia.
Halifax and St John, Nova Scotia, Canada
Our final set of calls took us to Nova Scotia, Canada. Firstly, to Halifax which is a cultural hub for Canada featuring a number of art galleries, theatres and museums. A day in the city, like many of the places mentioned here, really isn’t enough to experience everything. Cruise ships dock in the downtown area and it’s worth hopping off the ship to take a stroll along the waterfront boardwalk. The Boardwalk features events taking place throughout the day, amazing looking eateries, and a number of local breweries and markets. If you have time definitely try some local Poutine.
We opted to head up to the one of the City’s National Historic Sites, the Citadel Hill (Fort George). It has overlooked and protected Halifax since the first British settlers back in the 18th Century. The site gives visitors the opportunity to explore the history of the fortress, walk around its various features and the soldiers who were stationed there. It also still has great views over Halifax.
If you fancy travelling farther afield, head to Peggy’s Cove. This site is famed for its natural beauty as well as a whole host of activities you can take part in. This includes hiking trails, gorgeous beaches, kayaking, whale watching, birding activities, and golf courses.
Finally, our final port was St John, New Brunswick. This is another cultural hotspot in Canada which hosts numerous productions and concerts through the year. The ship docks right in the middle of town so it’s easy to get about and see the city. Take a wander through the City Market and enjoy the city’s architecture and shops.
If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, head to the Reversing Falls. As the name suggests, this is a series of rapids that appear to be going backwards due to tidal currents. There’s several ways to experience this. You can watch the churning water from either Fallsview Park or Reversing Falls Park, or you can observe from above on the rooftop viewing platform (all of these options are free). If you want to get up close and personal, many people recommend challenging gravity on a zip line tour – I wasn’t fortunate enough to do this, but it sound so much fun!
We were fortunate to be joined by Adam Goldstein, the Vice Chairman of Royal Caribbean. He joined the ship in St Johns for a friendly round of Table Tennis against local politicians to highlight the importance of St Johns tourism.
When we set off on this adventure I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would see, but through this cruise I experienced and learnt about so much culture and history, experienced local food and drink, as well as go outdoors into nature – all in all it’s a cruise that really has something for everyone to enjoy. It’s this sort of experience that shows why I love cruising so much. I would happily do this itinerary again in a heartbeat and I feel like I only touched the surface of what’s on offer.
To head back to Part 1, click here.
Anthem of the Seas will continue to sail on Canada and New England itineraries through 2019, before repositioning to the UK in 2020. Take a look at what’s on offer here.