Cruise Day 6: Halifax

Cruise to New England/Canada on Caribbean Princess

DAY 6: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Approaching Halifax

Nova Scotia has its own unique flavor and we enjoyed this port very much. I’d say it’s second to Bar Harbor as a favorite. There’s lots to see and do by the waterfront on your own without having to take a tour. The sun came out and warmed us as we strolled along the boardwalk. We went inside the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to view the very interesting exhibits of Canadian naval history and of the Titanic with relics recovered from the wreck.  Lunch was at an outdoor café in the now delightful weather. We browsed the shops, bypassing most of the artsy items. The kids toured Alexander Keith’s Brewery on Lower Water Street and highly recommend this attraction. It’s like a living history display, with costumed characters acting in their time period while explaining the brew making process. Samples of ale are offered in a tavern setting at the end.  This is all within walking distance of the ship. The terminal itself offered the most interesting shops, and we spent over an hour looking around at the wares and buying more blueberry and maple products. Scarfs, sweatshirts, tee shirts, and hoodies are available here along with the usual souvenir shot glasses, cookbooks, and such. The only cookbook I bought for my collection was from the Union Oyster House in Boston.


Back on the ship, we watched a folk performance of bagpipers and dancers. It was one of the highlights of the cruise and gave a flavor of the area. Nova Scotia is worth a return visit. It’s picturesque with attractive shops and restaurants and scenic attractions if you want them. There’s even the requisite citadel on a hill.  Dinner tonight: beef medallions.

city street
city street
ship with museum


Cruise Day 5: Saint John

Caribbean Princess Cruise to New England/Canada

DAY 5: Saint John, New Brunswick

Saint John
Saint John

 Another rainy day put us in a dreary mood as we boarded the tour bus for the scenic overview of Saint John, our first stop in Eastern Canada. We had to turn our clocks ahead one hour last night.

We drove through this sprawling, industrial city to Martello Tower, a stone keep which housed soldiers and ammunition in days of old. It seems every port has a fort, and yes, when you’ve seen one…you’ve seen them all. This was interesting in that it had the bunks inside to depict how the troops lived there. It was cold, windy, and rainy. We scampered back into the bus. Next stop was Reversing Falls, where the Bay of Fundy meets the St. John River with voracious tides. I’d seen these huge tides sweep in like a tidal wave on a dry river bed on a previous trip to Canada with my parents in my youth, but here you can see the currents swirling around. Across the water is a pulp plant spewing white smoke. The plant has filters so you don’t get that awful sulfur smell, but it’s a highly unattractive feature of the city.

Martello Tower
Martello Tower


Martello Tower
Martello Tower


Pulp Plant
Pulp Plant


We got out again by the Saint John City Market for a quick peek and decided this was worth a return visit. After lunch on the ship, we walked briskly outdoors to Market Square, a brick building housing a shopping mall. This led into Brunswick Square Shopping Center, which in turn led to the City Market. You don’t have to walk outside; there’s an indoor pedway to get from one place to another. City Market had the best souvenir items with maple sugar, maple spread, more blueberry items, and other foodie goods. There’s some English china and table linens if you’re into that stuff. We didn’t buy a lot here, just a few maple products. The sugar candies are too sweet but worth trying if you’ve never eaten one, and the maple fudge is fresher at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival. We tried their java but prefer Starbucks. We were happy to get back to the ship. Despite its natural wonders, this was our least favorite port. Maybe some of the other tours further afield are better. If you arrive before 11:00am, ladies are gifted with a fresh rose and men with a souvenir pin when you disembark. The people are very courteous and eager for tourism so I wish them well, but I’d suggest a nature tour of some sort rather than a ride around the industrial city.

Saint John
Saint John


City Market
City Market

Cruise Day 4: Bar Harbor

Caribbean Princess Cruise to New England/Canada

DAY 4, Tuesday: Bar Harbor, ME

We took a tender into town in the midst of a raging thunderstorm with rain pouring down and lightning flashing in the sky. After hovering under a tent until the rain let up, we dashed to our bus for a two and a half hour tour of scenic Acadia National Park with a lobster bake lunch. This by far was our best shore excursion and recommended for anyone on this route.

 A blur of shops and restaurants passed by out the rain-soaked window, and within ten minutes, we were out of town and climbing into the tree-covered hills of Acadia National Park. White birch trees stood starkly among aspen and other tall, green leafy trees. Up and up we climbed toward Cadillac Mountain, fog drifting by but parting enough for us to glimpse lovely vistas of valleys and lakes. Finally reaching the summit at 1530 feet, we disembarked and huddled in our raingear and jackets to the restrooms and gift shop. Took a few quick photos and enjoyed the brisk air before boarding the bus again for the ride back to town.      

The clouds were breaking up as we entered a dining hall for our lobster bake lunch. Bibs and nutcrackers were waiting on the tables. Lunch was buffet style. We collected a bowl of clam chowder and a plateful of whole Maine lobster, corn on the cob, potatoes and cole slaw.  A server came around and took off the shell for each of us who’d never eaten a whole lobster before. The meat was very moist. And the dessert…a To-Die-For rich blueberry tart. Maine blueberries are tiny little things that pack a punch.

 After we ate our fill, we strolled through town toward the gift shops.  The sun came out, radiating warmth and light over the hilly terrain and attractive shops of the waterfront area.

There were nice quality shops, especially The North Face store on Cottage Street where I bought a lightweight rain jacket. In the other stores, hoodies and sweatshirts are everywhere but they all look the same at each port.  We snapped up wild Maine blueberry jam, dried blueberries, blueberry honey, and wild blueberry maple spread. 


Then the clouds came back so we headed for the ship while considering our next meal. I’d already had prime ribs, veal scallopini, and lamb with mint jelly for dinner. What should I try tonight? A lobster tail, of course. It came with jumbo prawns and garlic butter sauce and was even tastier than the lobster we’d had for lunch. Ah, such choices. Beef Wellington and roast pheasant were also on the menu. Now we’re home and back to plebian food. 

In conclusion, I would say Bar Harbor was my favorite port on this trip with its scenic beauty, high quality shops, and attractive downtown.


There’s No Place Like Home

There’s no place like home. Isn’t that the sentiment at the heart of Wizard of Oz?  It’s what I am feeling right now after sitting by the swimming pool at our condo and admiring the aqua color of the water, the golden yellow of the pool area enclosure, the coral table umbrellas, the bright blue sky, and the fluffy white cumulous clouds.           

Hey, aren’t these the same tropical colors as on my website? You betcha. I love the tropics, and that fact was brought home more vividly on our recent 7 day cruise to New England/Canada.

I will be providing port details and descriptions of the ship in subsequent blogs. Suffice it to say I wore three layers of clothing on top and a sweater to bed each night, I was so cold. It doesn’t matter that I grew up in the north. I’m an acclimated Floridian now. Add in some rain to the windy, cool weather, and that’s sore throat time for me. Yep, I got a cold.  Nonetheless, I went on every shore excursion we’d booked, ate my share of food at the buffet, and enjoyed the nightly shows.

Now we’re home, and although I miss the lobster and scrod and New England clam chowder, I am enamored all over again with our warm, sunny south. No more gray skies. No more cold, driving rain. No more shivering at least for a few more months. It should be plenty of time for me to walk off all the calories I’ve gained.


Besides the shenanigans that happen on the Tropical Sun, my fictional cruise ship in Killer Knots, real crimes take place on ships at sea. You’ve all read news articles about people who go overboard or go missing on ocean voyages. What about murders and rapes and robberies? 

 A cruise ship is like a city. You should take the same precautions there as anywhere. Don’t go alone into deserted parts of the ship. Keep your valuables locked up. Steer clear of areas with high winds and a single railing between you and the ocean, especially if you’ve been consuming alcohol. Be wary of strangers who come on to you. The crew are no exception. Don’t go off to uncharted territory with a crew member just because he’s cute.  You don’t know his background or his motivation.  Always get your own drinks. Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drinks unattended.  Know where your children are and warn them to be cautious. Vacations are no place to let down your guard.

In many cases, jurisdiction over a shipboard crime is questionable. Lack of communication, overlapping authority, and poorly trained staff who don’t know how to collect evidence have been problems in solving crimes at sea. Plus it’s hard for local authorities to examine a crime scene when the ship is in port for one day and by then, days may have passed since the incident.

Fortunately, new laws aim to tighten standards. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 will require ships to install video surveillance in common areas plus door viewers and safety latches on cabin doors. Ships will need to carry kits to conduct sexual assault exams and to administer drugs that prevent STDs after an attack. They will need to log in all deaths, missing persons, assaults involving U.S. citizens, and other alleged crimes.  These reports will be available to the FBI and Coast Guard.

The FBI has jurisdiction if the ship is owned by a U.S. company, if the victim is a U.S. citizen on a ship departing or arriving at a U.S. port, if the crime takes place within 12 miles of our coastline, or if an act of terrorism against the U.S. is involved. 

You don’t want to become a cruise ship victim. Be as careful on vacation as you would be on shore, and you should have a great time.



The Florida Romance Writers are proud to present              

Independence of the Seas
Independence of the Seas

Heather Graham, Joan Johnston and Sally Schoeneweiss
as the keynote speakers for the 2011 Fun in the Sun Conference.

Join us and Cruise with your Muse January 20th-24th, 2011
on-board the Carnival Destiny
Departs from Miami, Fl.
Ports-of-Call: Key West, Fl. & Cozumel, Mexico

Confirmed Agents and Editors are:
Wanda Ottewell- Harlequin,
Erica Tsang- Avon,
Lucienne Diver- The Knight Agency, and
Lucy Childs- Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency.

Current pricing valid thru June 15th, 2010, register today!               

Other Highlights include:
A sampling of events and workshops is available on our website at:
* Sizzling Workshops
* Floridian Idol, Season 4
* Shipboard Entertainment
* Panoramic Ocean Views

Conference with FRW on our 25th Anniversary!
We promise to make it an amazing experience!

Space is limited, so don’t delay. Reserve your spot and get those passports ready.

For more information visit our website at

Passport is required!

You can also find us on Facebook @ FRW Cruise With Your Muse
http://www.facebook .com/group. php?gid=33410248 0558#!/group.php? v=wall&gid= 334102480558

We look forward to seeing you in January,
Kimberly Burke
Conference Coordinator