Saint John — Proving the axiom “all publicity is good publicity” is true when promoting a dubious tour enterprise, Nova Star Cruises has announced a new tour to New Brunswick’s very own port of Saint John beginning later this summer.
This exciting new tourist trap, dubbed “Blast Up the Bay for Breakfast,” will see potential American travellers departing Portland, Maine, on a Nova Star ferry at 6 p.m. Atlantic Time in order to speed up the eastern seaboard overnight. Once on our damp, misty shore (approximately 13 hours later), travellers will have exactly 30 minutes in which to clear Canadian customs, rub the sleep dirt from their groggy eyes, and grab a local bite to eat before dashing back to the ferry before she pulls out for the direct return trip to Portland.
The unique promotion comes hot on the heels of Nova Star Cruises’ controversial launch of their “Ninety-Minute Dash in a Dying Fishing Town” tour to Yarmouth, N.S. In honour of their latest promotion, Nova Star is offering yet another fantastic deal through Groupon. Whereas travellers are enjoying a limited-time $199 price (per person) on the Yarmouth overnighter, the Saint John excursion will begin at the low, low price of $249. But that’s not all — both exciting packages could be yours this summer for $369!
Part of the buzz surrounding this tour is the newly constructed Saint John Room, which is situated in the forward cabin of the luxury ferry. With 3 of the room’s four walls featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, this swarthy lady offers a beautiful, anticipatory view of the horizon and your eventual destination. The room itself has been outfitted with 2 pairs of high-powered binoculars and free maps of the uptown area. Travellers can get a glimpse of Saint John proper from afar and plan whether they have enough time to walk to Tim Hortons for an extra-large double-double and to McDonald’s for an egg McMuffin — or whether they might need a taxi.
Besides the view, the Saint John Room also boasts a bar sponsored by Moosehead. Here you can enjoy a beer while discussing your troubles, politics or both, with interpreters born and raised in The John who are actual disgruntled former employees of the brewery.
Last, but certainly not least, is the historical exhibit of the Irving Pulp and Paper mill, complete with grainy black-and-white wall coverings of employees forced to grimace for photos, while trying not to get sucked into the equipment they’re operating. This display definitely sets the mood for the whole voyage with the aroma of the pulp mill wafting into the room. The folks at Nova Star dare you to guess how they recreate the Saint John funk so authentically!
Mayor Mel Norton likens the “Blast Up the Bay for Breakfast” experience to a very brief, yet moving trailer for a fantasy film mash-up between The Poseidon Adventure and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, both films he’s never seen, but heard were very good.
“It’s a teaser,” said Mayor Norton, “like when you hold a treat out on the palm of your hand for your dog, but you don’t let him have it. He can see it, smell it, but then you put it away and tell him, ‘Come back later. Maybe then I’ll give you the good stuff.’”