Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fog and Poutine - My Very First Disney Cruise Part 3

Disney Magic NYC-Canada Cruise 2012

^^ Just my humble opinion, but if you need to be told this, maybe you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a boat...  (EDIT: Just noticed the hilarious ..."Please..."  As in, "Please don't climb over this giant barrier and fall off the boat and kill yourself!  It would make all of us very upset, you know!")

Today, I'm going to discuss the first of our two ports of call, St. John, New Brunswick.  According to the official Disney Cruise Line description, "Infused with a profound history, Saint John is Canada's oldest incorporated city. Having welcomed immigrants from Eastern Europe and the UK onto its shores for centuries, it claims the country's oldest museum and farmer's market, as well as a critical role in the events leading up to World War II. Because it's seated on the Bay of Fundy and divided by the St. John River, the city is home to a unique, sometimes treacherous phenomenon called Reversing Waterfalls. During high tide, the prevailing river current reverses itself against the normal flow of water, creating rapids or falls.

"Compared to inland locations, the climate of Saint John is moderate, with plenty of romantic fog billowing into the city throughout the year. Take a walk along the waterfront to enjoy the cloud kiss (EDIT: A-HA-hahahaha!!!  Oh, Disney.) as the salt air revives your senses. Later visit one of the many museums dedicated to the city's heritage, shop in the boutiques and art galleries, and savor a lunch of fresh seafood. Saint John offers a relaxing day that sweeps you back in time and refreshes your spirit."

So... about that "romantic fog:"

Disney Magic NYC-Canada Cruise 2012

This was our very first view of St. John pulling in.  I think I can see land in all that fog, maybe, if I squint?

In each port-of-call, we had eight hours total in port.  We had about six hours to explore each city.  When you are dropped off at a city and given only six hours to explore, sadly, you do not have a lot of time to find things to do there that you wouldn't be able to do at home.  After all is said and done, my family absolutely wants to return to the Canadian Maritime Provinces and spend more time there. Everyone was genuinely nice and friendly to us silly tourists.  At St, John we were greeted at the terminal by folks handing out little gifts like pins and roses.

From what I understand, the most beautiful parts of New Brunswick are quite a ways away from St. John, and there was simply no time to visit the Hopewell Rocks or undersea (usually) caves.  But the short bus tour of the city we took (called "St. John Highlights") brought us to one fantastic natural phenomenon: the Reversing Waterfalls.

Disney Magic NYC-Canada Cruise 2012

The tides are indeed crazy in New Brunswick, and this particular stretch of river is prone to especially violent tides.

Disney Magic NYC-Canada Cruise 2012

A speedboat tour of the 'falls. I'd imagine this would be fun for about a minute and a half.

Disney Magic NYC-Canada Cruise 2012

Cormorants resting after surfing the rapids.

After the waterfalls, we headed up to the Carleton Martello Tower, a historic sight that, having been built on the top of a hill, gives you a lovely view of the enrite city and harbor.

On a sunny day, that is. As for the day we visited, well...

Disney Magic NYC-Canada Cruise 2012

Yeah.

Now, to be fair, this wasn't anyone's fault and it wasn't anything anyone could have helped. Still, I am a New Englander, and therefore I am defined as an animal that complains about the weather.

After the tour bus dropped up off near the ship, we walked up to a very nice pub run by very friendly people and tried some of this stuff:

Disney Magic NYC-Canada Cruise 2012

This here, next to the relatively mundane fried fish, is Poutine, something we couldn't leave Canada without trying and I'm glad we took the opportunity to do so when we did. It's french fries, gravy, and cheese curds. It is, to say the least, different.

After this, we headed to the big indoor market and explored that for a while (I got a bunch of Christmas shopping done).  Then we leisurely walked back to the ship. I got to take a short nap before heading up to see what the schedule called the "Rockin' Deck Party" or something and do a few watercolor sketches.

The people at the St. John cruise terminal made a bigger deal of our departure than Disney did. The deck party was just a gang of entertainment staff dancing to the theme music from Disney Channel series; once again, all the focus was directed in and away from the far more interesting things happening around the boat itself.  Because meanwhile, the cruise terminal people saw us off by waving giant Mickey hands and with bagpipers and a general feeling of being honored that Disney Cruise Lines visited their city.

Overall, I really loved our relaxing day at St. John. Top it off with the best live show of the entire trip ("Villains Tonight"), a good dinner at Lumier's, and a 3D screening of "The Avengers" and you have my favorite day of the whole voyage.

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Sketch of the Day!

My impression of the Reversing Waterfalls:

9.17.12 Sketchbook Page

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