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njseawee

Nova Scotia Cruise

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In July I'm planning on taking a cruise on RCCL to Halifax, NS which leaves from New Jersey. Just wondering if anyone has done something like this before--would the water be particularly choppy and will it be much colder than a typical July in NJ (mid-80's)? I've been on one cruise before in the Caribbean and didn't mind being on the boat (calm waters) but I've heard things about the choppy northern Atlantic. Does the time of year you go have anything to do with it? Any answers/experiences would be welcome!

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Hi njseawee, and welcome aboard!

We've made four Canada/New England cruises, and have not experienced rough seas near Halifax. Once you go further north, it can get a bit choppy, but that's usually in the autumn months. Weather should be in the 70s or so at sea during the daytime, yet there can be some variations from week to week. Definitely bring a sweater for those evenings out on deck.

Happy to answer questions about Halifax -- one of our favorite ports of call.

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Hi njseawee and Lisa63

I've never sailed north of Florida either. I would love to hear the attraction for Canadian bound cruises since I live in New York and ships sail to Canada from New York.

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When you are in Halifax, you likely won't notice any difference in the weather than at home in NJ. Any time I've been to Halifax in the summer months, it's been hot (mid 80's usually). They don't have the length of hot seasons as areas to the south (like NY/NJ) or even central Canada, but they still get hot in the summer.

If you are only going to Halifax, you probably won't notice much difference in sea conditions along the way. If you were heading up to Sydney, or around to PEI, or Quebece, you may notice more rough conditions as noted above by Lisa. One thing that may or may not affect your cruise, is how bad and how early hurricane season starts. Typically, the tropical depressions head up the coast, and bring bad weather to Canada's east coast. We had that in 2001, when we caught the tail end of a hurricane and couldn't get into Sydney due to the winds. Didn't really give us any trouble with rough seas though.

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Mebert, the attraction for us to sail a Canada/New England cruise (even though we are Canadian), was firstly, to visit my dad and his family in Halifax. But it also gave us a chance to see other areas that we hadn't seen before, and are quite different from the typical Caribbean cruise. I was born in Fredericton New Brunswick, and spent lots of time in Moncton, NB, where I also have family, but had never been to Saint John until we went there on a cruise. I had never been to Boston, and the closest I had been to Maine was looking across the Saint John River in northern New Brunswick at it LOL.

Usually when people talk of a cruise, they talk about escaping the cold, and going somewhere to lay around a pool and relax in the sun. After the winter we've had, I can't see any fault in that logic. But, if you are looking for fun of a cruise, as well as learning a little history of your own country, or Canada, then a C/NE cruise is something I heartily recommend. And if you have the time and $$, they have repositioning cruises on some lines that combine Canada/New England, with Caribbean, ending in Florida in late October, or the reverse in April/May. That's one I'd like to try sometime too.

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Thanks all! Knowing this information (that we won't freeze while we're out there) will hopefully make some of my first time cruising friends more interested! Since we live in the NY/NJ area, it's just so convenient to sail right from there.

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Well, Halifax consisted of getting in my dad's car and going to visit family LOL. But, if we were just visiting like any other port, there is a ton to do right along the waterfront. From the terminal (Pier 21, a historic site in and of itself), along the harbour up to the Navy yard, is all boardwalk with restaurants and shops. The Maritime Museum Of The Atlantic is in this area too. There are many different kind of harbour tours available, including the Harbour Hopper, which is the World War 2 "Duck" boats that you see in many other coastal cities, like Boston and Portland Maine. For a couple bucks eachway, you can take the Metro Transit harbour ferry, which crosses to Dartmouth every 15 minutes or so. Quite the way to see the city from the water, and see the ships as well. Downtown Dartmouth is a pretty area to walk around. They have finished a lot of the waterfront in the ferry terminal area into parkland. It's less touristy over here, so you can usually find good deals in the shops.

The ship will offer a Peggy's Cove tour. We've been there several times, so we didn't do the tour. Peggy's Cove is most known nowadays for where Swissair Flight 111 crashed 6 or 7 years ago, and there is a memorial alonf the highway. The town is actually a small fishing village, with a lighthouse up on the rocks. Very picturesque, especially with the waves that crash up on the rocks. There are some souvenir shops here.

Saint John was a very nice and friendly place to visit. When we were there, they gave the men a pin, and the women a rose as they got off the ship. We did the 2 hour bus tour of town, which stopped at the farmers market downtown, the reversing falls, where you can take a jetboat ride, and an old fort tower up on the hill overlooking the harbour. One of the interesting things here is the tides. If you are off the ship for any length of time, you can really notice how much the tide goes up or down. We were off for about 3 hours, and we got back on the ship one deck lower than we got off from.

One thing I notice that really differs from Caribbean ports is how much less "in your face" the people trying to sell you something are. Halifax is more touristy on the waterfront than Saint John, and both have markets in the terminals, but I find I feel more pressure to buy something in the islands.

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Dan covered it very well, so I have very little to add.

In Halifax, you can also visit the Citadel, a magnificent fort built in the mid-1800s. It's now part of the Canada National Park system, and has been a National Historic Site since around 1950. They still have a noontime gun salute.

Also in Halifax, as Dan mentioned, is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. They have a fabulous exhibit on Titanic, including an original deck chair. There are other excellent exhibits, including one very touching one about the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

You can also take a tour or a taxi to visit the cemeteries where hundreds of Titanic passengers are buried. Halifax was the main recovery site after the disaster.

In Saint John, we once took a shore excursion to a zoo -- I believe it was called Cherry Brook, but I'd have to check. They specialize in endangered species -- very educational. Even without a tour, it's a great port of call. The public market is great. And the people are just wonderful.

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