Saint John — As one of the largest cruise ships to visit the Renaissance City left port this week, some of the passengers aboard complained that the Saint Johners they met were very unfriendly and extremely rude.
“I have no idea what happened,” exclaimed Mayor Mel Norton. “We go out of our way to roll out the proverbial red carpet when we have cruise ship passengers in town. I don’t know who they ran into, but we are very distressed to hear a poor review of our hospitality.”
The Liberty of the Seas is one of the largest cruise ships to visit Saint John this season, with more than 3,800 passengers and 1,600 crew. These most recent passengers are just some of the almost 36,000 cruise ship tourists who have visited Saint John since the season started in early May. Considering these guests are a huge economic boon to the uptown, Saint Johners typically make every effort to make passengers feel welcome.
The Liberty docked overnight early on Tuesday morning, and some passengers were already exploring the barren streets of the uptown core at dawn. It is around this time that the passengers claim that they encountered the aloof locals.
“We’d never met a real Canadian before, so we didn’t quite know what to expect or even what they looked like,” said New Jersey resident Anthony Johnson. “No one was around that early so when we saw some people by the General Store, we were very relieved. My wife Emily and I walked up and introduced ourselves — no response at all. Then we asked directions, but they just ignored us completely. They acted like we weren’t even there.
“After asking a few times nicely, I got a little irate,” continued Johnson. “I hate being ignored when I’m speaking, so these people were really pushing my buttons. One man just buried his head in his newspaper and wouldn’t even look up at us. The couple on the motorcycle didn’t say a word to us either.
“We went over to Market Square to talk to the people hanging out there, and they did the exact same thing! They completely refused to acknowledge us in any way; it was like they couldn’t even hear us! I told Emily that if this the kind of hospitality that Saint John has to offer, I’m not spending one penny in this city!”
“Luckily, the couple snapped some pictures,” said Norton. “We’ve contacted the cruise line and asked them to email us the photos so we can try to figure out what happened.” The Manatee also contacted the cruise line to obtain these pictures. If you recognize these Saint Johners (see photo), please contact the mayor’s office.
“I’m not proud of this,” concluded Johnson, “but I became so angry that I took a swing at one of those jerks. I’ll tell you one thing — whoever they are, they sure can take a punch.”