City impresses cruise ship passengers

Tourism Carnival Triumph's arrival kicks off 2009 season

SAINT JOHN - With the arrival Tuesday of the Carnival Triumph, the first cruise ship of the season, and her 3,200 passengers, it was like someone had flicked a switch and brought the city alive.


Passengers from the Carnival Triumph, the first cruise ship of the season, exit the vessel via the new pedway at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal on Tuesday.


Miranda McCausland plays her cello for passengers from the Carnival Triumph.

Miranda McCausland sat outside the wrought-iron gate at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal with her cello and a sign that read: "Saving for travel, education."

"I like meeting all the people," McCausland, 15, said.

Jason and Dianne Marks from Pennsylvania walked arm-in-arm down Water Street toward Market Square. The couple marvelled at how clean the city is.

"You have to realize we left from New York," Diane Marks said with a smile.

Near the bronze moose in front of Market Square, tourist after tourist stood in front of the immovable beast and had a picture taken.

Even though Joe Mont of New York State admitted there are moose back home, he and his wife still had their picture taken in front of it. They were part of a group of three couples who were travelling.

"I don't know," he said with a smile. "The women wanted it."

As to where they were going next, Mont said that wasn't up to him.

"Whatever the women want. I have to keep the peace."

Denisa Protani of Annapolis, Maryland, was seeking out locals to ask where the must-see sites were.

"The best thing you can do when you travel is ask a local," Protani said.

In the city for just a few hours, she said she already wanted to come back.

Along the uptown streets, the click clack of horse hooves mixed with the normal traffic noises as horse-drawn trolleys took the cruise ship passengers on guided tours.

Smiling and saying excuse me, locals sliced through the strolling throng of tourists at the City Market as the visitors gawked at the sights and took in the smells.

Barry Williams said he and his wife Mary found exactly what they were looking for in the market.

"I love it," he said. "This is everything in one place."

The Brooklyn couple said they have indoor markets back home, but not like this.

"It's got everything in here and it smells so good," Mary Williams said.

In the Loyalist Burial Ground, the scene was more sedate, almost respectful. Small groups of people walked through the well-groomed grounds and struggled to read the eroded memorials.

Michael and Daniell Sciarini and their four-year-old son Mike walked past the tombstones. The Boston family said it reminds them of home and the importance of having reverence for those who came before.

"It's good that somebody still cares," Michael Sciarini said.

Along the waterfront near the Hilton Hotel, Doug and Cathy Medlin said the city and the area really have something to offer. The couple, from North Carolina, work in the tourism industry.

"I think you got a great thing going here," Doug said.

But it was the welcome that really impressed the well-travelled couple. Like every passenger who came off the ship, he got a Saint John pin and she got a rose as they passed through the brand-new terminal.

"They met us and handed us something, instead of having a hand out," he said.

Back at the bronze moose and hours later, McCausland had relocated with the cello that dwarfed her. The instrument's dulcet tones filtered through the crowd as the clouds moved in and the day cooled off.

A young cruise ship passenger threw an American greenback into the open case at her feet and wished her good luck. She played Southwind Waltz for the umpteenth time. With a gracious smile crossing her face, she said she had done well, but there was a cost.

"They're kind of sore," she said, showing off a badly blistered thumb.

Source: Published Wednesday June 10th, 2009 - Telegraph Journal