New Brunswick is blossoming into a popular cruise destination. Studies show more Americans will be cruising north in 2012 and more cruise lines will be sailing to New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada. This year, Disney will have one of five ships making inaugural calls in Saint John, the province’s top cruise port. For the first time, Carnival will sail from Boston to Saint John. And a new cruise terminal will debut in September.
Last year, 184,790 cruised to Saint John on the Bay of Fundy, which New Brunswick shares with Nova Scotia, and for 2012, some 75 ship calls will bring 190,000 cruise passengers.
New this year:
– Starting June 13, the Disney Magic will call at Saint John nine times between June and September. The port will participate in the Disney Legacy Project. Each child taking the “Whale of a Time” shore excursion will paint a mosaic tile as part of a mural to be displayed at the new cruise ship terminal.
– 2012 marks the first year Carnival will be sailing from Boston to New Brunswick. Saint John is a port of call on all the four-, five- and seven-day Carnival cruises from Boston, and it is the only stop on the four-day itinerary. Halifax is added to the five-day cruise, and the seven-day itinerary also includes Sydney, Nova Scotia.
– Saint John will receive six inaugural calls from five cruise lines: Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Blount Small Ship Adventures, Saga Shipping and Phoenix Reisen.
– The $19.7 million expansion of the port of Saint John is scheduled to be completed by September. In addition to the existing Marco Polo cruise terminal, a second cruise terminal will be built at Pugsley C to facilitate embarkation. Berthing capacity will be expanded at that pier and at Long Wharf. Funding is being provided by the Saint John Port Authority and both the provincial and federal governments.
Cruise passengers to New Brunswick will be thrilled by its stunning natural beauty, including one of the world’s natural wonders, the Bay of Fundy, one of the finalists in last year’s “New7Wonders” contest. Canada’s oldest incorporated city dating from 1785, Saint John has North America’s oldest market (1876) and Canada’s oldest museum in continuous operation, the New Brunswick Museum whose exhibits present 350 million years of natural history. Offering spectacular views of the city, the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic site, dating from the War of 1812, will interest history buffs.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the big draw is nature and some thrilling soft adventure options. Cruise passengers can experience the highest tides in the world on a boat ride at Reversing Falls on the mighty Saint John River. Whether on a boat excursion, canoeing or kayaking, they are sure to see whales. The Bay has 12 species, including 50 percent of the world’s endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. And adrenaline junkies can take a zip line over the Saint John River. Or they can walk among billion-year-old rock formations at sites in Stonehammer, North America’s first UNESCO-designated Geopark. The recently-expanded Fundy Trail Parkway allows travellers to see some of the last undeveloped coastline in North America. Visitors can opt for taking the 10-mile scenic drive or hiking one of the trails in a 10-mile network. By 2012, the Parkway will connect to Fundy National Park which offers 80 square miles of forest with hiking and mountain-biking trails.
Culture lovers will enjoy “Le Faubourg,” a new show designed specifically for cruise passengers that brings to life the province’s Acadian heritage with live entertainment, food tastings and a multi-media show.
New this year, Ambassatours Gray Line is partnering with the New Brunswick Southern Railway to offer the “Bay of Fundy Scenic Railway” tour. The train takes passengers on a trip along the Bay of Fundy for four and a half miles and will stop over the dramatic Reversing Falls Rapids.
Two other ports in the province will welcome cruisers this year. The charming turn-of-the-century seaside resort of St. Andrews-by-the Sea will welcome five new ships: Blount’s Grand Caribe and the Grand Mariner, Saga’s Quest for Adventure and The World. Passengers will be able to visit Campobello, Roosevelt’s summer “White House,” and charming Grand Manan Island. New Brunswick has a rich Acadian culture and is Canada’s official bi-lingual province. Passengers aboard Travel Dynamics’ Yorktown will experience that French flavor at Caraquet on the Acadian Coast.