This visit to Saint John was our extra port of call scheduled only after we were unable to call at Sydney and Charlottetown. We had had a one day transit from our first port of Corner Brook to arrive here.
Day 9: Sunday 2nd October 2022: Saint John, New Brunswick
I was woken by the pilot boat when it came alongside at just before 6 am. Overnight Sky Princess had been travelling much faster than the previous days on the Atlantic. We did a quick check on the Internet and confirmed that poor satellite coverage was still the case.
For breakfast we went up to the buffet restaurant on the 16th. We walked forward to the Marketplace and had a simple breakfast there. This area was not as crowded or as hectic as the main buffet.
As we left the secure area we noticed the requirement to have photo ID as well as our Princess Medallions to get back onto the ship. Unfortunately no mention of this requirement was in the day’s ship’s Daily Patter. When we checked the Patter we also noticed that the ship’s agents details were not included there either.
From the cruise’s Facebook group, we had learned that the market would be open, even though it was a Sunday. Definitely good news.
After we had run the gauntlet of anxious taxi drivers, we walked towards the downtown area. The area in front of the ship has been cleared since our last visit. As we neared the small mall and restaurants, it was obvious that the boardwalk had gone as well. The public restrooms were still there, but behind barriers. The sound stage that faced the bars had also gone too.
There was very little traffic or local residents about as we walked up towards Union Street to the art centre and turned along the cross street.
Along the street this brought us to the Loyalist House.
Definitely a forgotten part of history was the large numbers of people (100,000 plus) who had left the newly independent USA for Canada. They were loyal to the Crown and did not feel safe in the new country. Their property and their lives were all abandoned as they fled North to the relative safety of Canada.
The City Market
We eventually found our way to the covered market. The market had a lot of stalls open just as promised.
I spent a lot of time looking at the art on display as well as the photographs for sale at the top of the market.
Outside of the market we crossed the road and went into a small park. There we found a bandstand that was over a fountain! Opposite the park was this imposing building.
Brunswick Square Mall
Rather walk back down through the market, instead we walked down the outside to the street below. Opposite us was an entrabnce to the Brunswick Mall.
This mall was surprisingly empty of shops and customers.
There was, however, a small queue inside of the mall to the only place that we could see that was open – a café, Cora.
Once in a booth we ordered more than just coffee, I had French toast with strawberries. This was absolutely delicious.
We chatted to our server, who told us that the mall as well as the one by the boardwalk were now mainly empty. Even before Covid, the downtown shops were not very popular. In her words, even the mall built alongside the WalMart outside of town wasn’t great. Her advice was to shop at the best places downtown which were in the container village alongside the cruise terminal.
Walking to the Reversing Falls
As we had so much time in this unscheduled visit, we decided to walk to the Reversing Falls. Down the street we came to the large intersection. The ship was on our left and the remains of the boardwalk was in front of us.
Despite our earlier advice, we went into the other mall at the intersection. It too was empty. Even the Wi-Fi wouldn’t work! After the row of bars the boardwalk was now boarded again and here’s the small lighthouse.
This visit to SaintJohn we knew how to get to the Reversing Falls unlike our previous visit! We followed the path alongside the harbour, under the roads and past the sculptures in the public parks.
The Reversing Falls
We left the parks and walked along the pavement at the side of the very busy road until we came to the bridge over the river. There we watched the swirling waters beneath us.
The Sky Bridge café was open, but as on our early visit, empty tables and seats were scarce. Further along, it was sad to find that the other restaurant had not survived the Covid lockdowns. At the side of the now deserted restaurant I went down the public path to the river. There at the bottom of all the steps I came to a viewing platform just above the swirling river.
The climb back up added to my steps …
From the bridge the tide looked to be swirling even more.
Looking down the the rocks were covered with birds.
Walking back to Saint John
We then retraced our steps back to the public park and the sculptures.
As we reached the end of the path in the park, alongside the remaining boardwalk, this truck appeared riding the rails!
This small harbour had two pilot boats docked.
On the shore below us were the remains of wooden piers now rotting.
The Saint John Ale House
The boardwalk may have been gone but the bars were all open and we stopped at the first one. This was the Saint John Ale House. Rather than go inside, we sat at one of the tables outside. We enjoyed a drink of local beer as we watched every one walking by. We did watch fascinated as the couple on the next table ordered fish and chips. For some reason the girl decided it wasn’t what she wanted right now and after picking at the chips she asked for a takeaway box for the meal.
The manager explained that the boardwalk and the stand stage would be replaced as part of a large new project costing nearly 90 million Canadian dollars. The timescales did seem a bit vague but the promise of heated patios for all the bars did sound a great idea.
The boardwalk loos are still there but are now fenced off. The stage has gone along with the Royal Jubilee celebration garden.
The Waterfront Container Village
Before going into the cruise terminal we did visit the waterfront container village.
This was not a secure area so we guess this was how the server at the Cora restaurant was able to give the place such glowing references!
Back on board Sky Princess
The Princess Patter, and the various briefings by the ship had made no mention of needing photo ID to enter the secure area in the terminal. We had to go to a representative of the port agent who searched a copy of the passenger manifest to then confirm our identity.
Our step count for the day was way above what we had planned. Using the MedallionClass app, we ordered drinks and food to be delivered to our cabin. The service was terrific and everything was delivered in less than 10 minutes– my street chicken tacos were excellent again.
The weather was perfect for the ship’s sail away.
We sat on our balcony with our drinks and enjoyed the views as Sky Princess left Saint John.
The Captain’s Circle was still open as we went into the Vista lounge after 6 pm. On the stage we entertained by the strings.
Chris Watkins in the Theatre
After dinner we went into the theatre to watch Chris Watkins. The show started at 10pm and was titled ‘Fireworks on Four Strings with Chris Watkins’. He had been travelling for many days, trying to catch up with the ship after all the itinerary changes. His journey had not been helped by the travel agents mixing up St John’s and Saint John!
He gave us an amazing concert on his violin backed by the full ship’s orchestra. This blog has more images from the concert.
After the show we went to the Piazza to enjoy the music of Ocean Boulevard, plus of course joining in all the dancing.