Charlottetown - Port Guide
Where is the ship/how to get to the sights?
Spring/summer May-September, cruise ship season, the temperature is around 15-25 degrees Celsius. The weather can be very unpredictable and changeable throughout the spring and summer season, and can be sunny, windy, rainy, cold, cloudy and hot, all within a couple of hours. The key to the weather is to wear layers. Never leave the ship without an umbrella and rain jacket, and have two or three layers you can take on or off to be prepared for whatever the weather brings.
Sights & Sites
- Anne of Green Gables – If you are a fan of the stories then you can take the Anne of Green Gables related tours to the site of the scenes in the books, or you can see the musical Anne of Green Gables, or musical about Anne when she grew up – Anne and Gilbert.
- Island tour – There are island tours to see the scenery of the place, which is very picturesque.
- Falcon Tour – One of the best tours is going to the falconry, where you can see, touch and learn about the art of this at a center based in the countryside.
- City center shopping – There is a shopping center, with an array of local boutiques inside it as well as two banks where you can exchange currency.
- Victoria Park – This park in the center of town is very pretty and a good spot to relax away from town. It is a pleasant park to walk around and sit and have a picnic in.
- Shopping outlet area – Outside the town, about 7 miles north, there is a shopping outlet area with many large stores, including a Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Michaels etc. It can be reached by local bus $1.75, buses run every 20 minutes from town and take about 20 minutes.
- Waterfront walk – From the ship, there’s a lovely walk along the waterfront that stretches all the way round to the neighborhood that takes you into Victoria Park. One the way, you pass bar restaurant Peakes Quay, Cow’s Creamery, the Red Dirt T-Shirt Company, the Charlottetown Conventiom centre, the harbor, round to the bottom of Queen Street, where you can continue on to get to Victoria Park. During summer months, there is often live music in the small square area in front of Peakes Quay restaurant.
There are quite a lot of local treats to buy in Charlottetown. Homemade chocolates, from the Anne of Green Gables Chocolate Shop, T-shirts with local animals with humorous slogans on, shirts baked in local red mud from the Red Dirt Company, souvenirs and trinkets in stores and the market in the port, and Anne of Green Gables souvenirs are all available in town.
If you only have two hours
The town of Charlottetown is close to the ship, and you can reached all the stores, restaurants and amenities in less than 15 minutes walking. The restaurants near the ship are within a 5-minute walk from the ship and have great seafood. Victoria Park can be walked to in about 15 minutes by just keeping left after leaving the ship and following the coastline around.
What is it known for?
Charlottetown is known as a charming, fishing town with great seafood. It is known for Anne of Green Gables and a wholesome lifestyle, picturesque countryside, potatoes, and red dirt. It supports and celebrates music and the arts with festivals lasting throughout the summer, and communities feel.
Food & Drink
Charlottetown is a foodie’s paradise, and especially if you’re a fan of seafood. It is available in pretty much all restaurants, cafes, and many bars, and you can even buy a souvenir “Mussel (muscle) shirt” in several of the stores. Mussels, clams, lobster and scallops are the most prolific. Prince Edward Island is one of the world’s greatest potato producers, and as such, they have fantastic potato products to eat here. They are best sampled as triple cooked fries from The Chip Shack, or covered in chocolate as home baked potato chips from the Anne of Green Gables Chocolate shop on Queen Street. Sugar Skull Cantina on Water Street is a good spot for local fish tacos and multiple choice margaritas.
There are many fine seafood choices, from the lobster roll at the Chip Shack, to the pricier, (but worth it as a special treat) full on lobster dinner and bacon wrapped scallops at Lobster on the Wharf, the mussels at the Irish bar, as well as probably any of the other dinging spots in town, I really don’t think its possible to have a bad meal in Charlottetown.
The ship terminal has free Wi-Fi, which usually has a decent enough signal for checking emails and suchlike, but not strong enough if you are doing any uploading or downloading. Wi-Fi is available in most restaurants and bars, and in some spots around the city in the street too. My favorite spot to get online is at the Kettle Black coffee house on Queen Street, as their signal is reliable, coffee freshly ground, and scones delicious and usually still warm from the oven.
US dollars are accepted in many businesses in the center of town, plus all the stalls in the market in the ship’s terminal, but the rate you will be given is often given as one to one, which is less favorable. Credit and debit cards are accepted everywhere, and the banks on the high street – the Bank of Montreal, and Canadian Bank – both located in the shopping center, are the options in town. Check with both of their rate that day though, as they often offer different rates, so check which one is better before exchanging, and crew, show your crew card.
Karen’s Top Tip
Enjoy the small town, friendly atmosphere of this pretty seaside settlement. Sample the local seafood, as it really is outstanding.
My experience here
I have been to Charlottetown many times. I am currently about to begin my third season there on a ship (May 2018). As a crew member, coming back again and again to this port, it is one of my favorite towns to get to know a little more each time, including befriending some of the genuinely friendly locals, mainly some business owners and baristas.
Charlottetown is a charming place to take a walking tour if you can, to really get the feel of the place. My personal top tour here was the culinary walk. This tour gives you a lot of information about the town and its history, and takes you to some of the top local food spots with a quality introduction to some local specialties. This tour is how I heard about all my favorite food spots that I mention in this Port Guide – The Chip Shack, Lobster on the Wharf, the Irish pub, even coffee shop Kettle Black was a tip from the guide.
I’ve spent quite a few visits in Charlottetown picnicking in Victoria Park with friends, enjoying the summer sunshine, and also quite a few visits working online or catching up sipping coffee in Kettle Black or at the bar of Lobster on the Wharf.
I’ve spent too many visits munching on lobster poutine at the Chip Shack.
While I still haven’t read any of the Anne of Green Gables books so haven’t done the tours related to her yet, I have been to see Anne and Gilbert the musical, which was very sweet and enjoyable, and unnecessary to know the back story of main character Anne’s life to enjoy or understand.
I went on the Island Falconry Tour, where you go out to the house of family run falconer who teaches you about the art of falconry and give demonstrations. You get to meet the birds close up and even hold one (while safely gloved of course). This tour gave a good insight into Prince Edward Island life as well as learning about the birds, and you see a lot of the rolling hills and peaceful fields and forests scenery on the way out to it.
I’ve also taken local bus out to the Wal-Mart, Michael’s etc. area for shopping. For crew especially requiring any practical things, this is the best spot on the itinerary for large practical stores with huge choices and low prices. In this area, there is also a Radio Shack, Best Buy, Old Navy, H & M, gym supplies store and several others where you can probably get anything you could need. You take local bus out here from the main street, Queen Street in Charlottetown out here for $1.75 CAD each way. Bring exact change as none is given, buses leave every 20 minutes and take about 20 minutes. Or if you have several people, you can catch a cab.
During the summer, there are a lot of festivals on in Charlottetown, of music, local tribe M’ik Maw celebrations and food festivals. Check online for specific dates for when you’re there, and also you can ask in any local business, the locals are all very clued in on community happenings.
My Most Memorable Moment
My most memorable moment thus far in Charlottetown is just sitting on a picnic blanket in Victoria Park with crew friends, enjoying the summer sunshine, sharing stories and nibbling on picnics of fresh local food bits and pieces that everyone brought something of to the mix. The view from the corner of the park beside the heritage house out to the water is lovely and feels very far from the ship and worries, despite being only about a 15 minute walk away.
This is my quick guide to Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island in Canada. I show you around the charming town of Charlottetown, and highlight some of the best sights and places to see as well as of course, the best places to eat and drink local specialties.