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Sabin’s on the Sea 2023 - Day #32- St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog

Today we woke up again to another foggy day. We thought as we headed south that the weather would be less foggy.


Most days at port we have had beautiful weather. Today it was raining most of the day.

This was a longer time at port from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm. We haven’t figured out why some ports are shorter than others. The good thing is this is a larger city with lots to see and do. Plus, having cell service gets us back connected to friends and family.

Newfoundland’s time is off by a half hour instead of the more common hour difference. When time zones were introduced in the late 19th century, Newfoundlanders chose their 30-minute offset because that was close to the local solar time in St. John's, the city where most Newfoundlanders lived. The saying goes the world ends at midnight, 12:30 Newfoundland time.

St. John's, a city on Newfoundland island off Canada's Atlantic coast, is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador province. Its harbour was settled by the British in the 1600s. Downtown is known for its colourful row houses. Above the city is Signal Hill with walking trails and the site of the first transatlantic wireless communication, Cabot Tower, which commemorates John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland.

Since it was a pretty dreary day, we took our time heading out to explore. Holland America provided guests to use on their voyage a bright orange large umbrella that has their name on the edge. Nothing says tourist like a bright orange Holland America umbrella! However, we were very grateful to have those umbrellas.

Since we didn’t get off the ship till about noon and it was so wet out, we decided to make our first stop to a popular local pub, The Duke of Duckworth.


The Duke of Duckworth has been a St. John’s institution for over 25 years. Offering one of the largest selections of Draught Beers in Newfoundland.

This was a great place to begin tour of St. Johns. I enjoyed a local cider, No Boats on Sunday, definitely an unusual name for a cider.


The cider pays homage to a time in Hallifax (our next port) when hard working locals restricted boat traffic on Sundays. This was their way to enjoy time with family and friends.


John enjoyed a flavorful red ale and we share a common meal - cod and poutine meal.

Poutine a dish of frencf fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy.

After the rain let up some, we decided to do the hike to Signal Hill. Along the walk we admired the colorful houses, churches and buildings.

Although the hike was a bit steep and wet we enjoyed the journey and the panoramic views of the coastal landscape were captivating. We also had spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the harbor narrows, that we observed as a ship entered the port earlier in the day.


Signal Hill is where Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, the message–simply the Morse-code signal for the letter “s”–traveled more than 2,000 miles from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada.


It is also the last landmark Charles Lindberg sighted on his flight across the Atlantic in 1927.

Standing above the city we could watch the mist and fog roll in toward the shore, experience the smell of the salty air and listen to the seagulls as they soar above us.


Instead of taking the trail back we decided to walk along the road.

This way our feet could be a little drier.

There are many shops and restaurants to enjoy while in St. John’s. The main streets to investigate are: Duckworth Street, where St. John’s oldest store is located; Water Street (the oldest street); Military Road, the location of the Basilica of St. Johns; and Church Street where visitors can see the little neighborhood of colorful houses which were painted that way so the sailors coming home at night to find there homes.


One observation we have made about Newfoundland and Canada in general is the people are very friendly and courteous. When you are ready to cross the street, it appears people have the right away and cars stop for you. This is not as common in other places we have lived and visited.

Since the weather improved we decided to have dinner off the ship and went to two more local establishments: O'Reillys and Conjones Tacos and Tequil. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was so upbeat. What a wonderful time in St. John’s, Newfoundland.


Tomorrow is another sea day and then our last port of call, Halifax, Nova Scotia, before arriving back in Boston in four days.


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