Canada & New England 2016 Offers Plenty Of Diverse Cruises

Fall is right around the corner, and with it comes one of our favorite seasonal cruise destinations: Canada & New England.

Canada & New England voyages typically focus on the changing colours of the season, as the East Coast’s abundant foliage begins to turn from green to hundreds of shades of yellows, oranges and red. This is the quintessential, postcard-perfect version of fall: sipping hot drinks along the cobblestoned cities of Quebec and Montreal, or hiking Acadian National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Halloween is out in force in the historic streets of Old Quebec. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Exploring historic Quebec City during the fall is like stepping back in time. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

With numerous itineraries offered each fall between September and late October, some of the standard ports of call you can expect to visit include world-class American cities like Boston and New York, along with some of Eastern Canada’s most picturesque cities, including Saint John, New Brunswick and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Of course, no visit to the Canadian Maritimes is complete without a visit to the iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, just a short drive north from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The iconic lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia casts a watchful eye across the Atlantic. Photo © Aaron Saunders
The iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia casts a watchful eye across the Atlantic. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Even if you’re not a fan of the fall foliage – or if you cruise in September, when colors typically haven’t changed yet – there are plenty of other reasons to visit. These are some of the oldest places in Canada and the United States, and have rich, vibrant histories that make for some pretty interesting shore excursions. Or, you could just indulge in the region’s culinary delights: this is a seafood lover’s paradise. Indeed, the biggest lobster we’ve ever had -hands down – was served at a local restaurant in Bar Harbor.

Today, we take a look at five different ways you can sail these waters this fall:

Crystal’s Jazz-themed Canada & New England

...and the cruise terminal! Shown here is Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Crystal Symphony docked at the Port of Quebec City. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Crystal Cruises maintains a really special presence in Canada and New England, with voyages aboard Crystal Serenity that stretch throughout September and October. Numerous itineraries are available that whisk guests from New York to Quebec City (or reverse); New York and Montreal (or reverse); and even a handful of shorter sailings that operate roundtrip from New York.

One of these – Crystal Serenity’s October 2, 2016 Fall’s Crimson Voyage sailing – caught our eye. Departing roundtrip from New York, this weeklong voyage is pretty reasonably priced for Crystal (prices start at just under $3,000 per person, according to the line’s website). That it is also a Jazz-themed cruise doesn’t hurt, either: a 17-member Jazz band will be on to entertain guests with nightly live music.

Ports of call: Newport, Rhode Island; Boston; Bar Harbor; Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Grand Canada & New England Aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2

Cunard's Queen Mary 2: the only modern transatlantic ocean line. Photo courtesy of Cunard Line.
The grand Queen Mary 2 makes voyages to Canada & New England from New York (Brooklyn). Photo courtesy of Cunard Line.

Few ships are as grand and elegant as Cunard’s massive Queen Mary 2, which has recently emerged fresh from a substantial drydock that has dramatically altered many of the ship’s public rooms for the better.

Queen Mary 2 sails a number of Canada and New England voyages, many of which can be combined with a transatlantic crossing to create voyages that depart roundtrip from Southampton, England. One-way voyage segments can also be combined to create a 14-day journey that departs roundtrip from Brooklyn, New York.

For those with just a week to get away, Queen Mary 2 is sailing a great weeklong itinerary from New York (Brooklyn) to Quebec City that departs on September 27, 2016. One of the largest ships in the region, the sight of Queen Mary 2 sailing out of New York – and into Quebec City, in the shadow of the famous Fairmont Chateau Frontenac – is a truly grand one that can’t be replicated on any other line.

Ports of call: Newport, Rhode Island; Boston; Sydney, Nova Scotia, Quebec City, Quebec.

Montreal to Boston with Holland America Line

Holland America operates voyages that leave from the heart of Old Montreal aboard Veendam. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Holland America operates voyages that leave from the heart of Old Montreal aboard Veendam. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Holland America Line has been sailing to Canada & New England for years. While the company is deploying Rotterdam and Zuiderdam on the run briefly this year, we think the region is best experienced aboard the smaller, more intimate Veendam, which operates voyages throughout August and September.

Veendam’s standard weeklong runs operate between Boston and Montreal, and can be combined to create a 14-day voyage that either departs roundtrip Boston, or roundtrip Montreal.

Ports of call: Bar Harbor; Halifax; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Quebec City, Quebec.

Canada & New England from Baltimore with Royal Caribbean

The City Market in Saint John, New Brunswick - the oldest continually-operating market in Canada. Photo © Aaron Saunders
The City Market in Saint John, New Brunswick – the oldest continually-operating market in Canada. Photo © Aaron Saunders

If you don’t like the idea of leaving out of Montreal, Boston or New York, Royal Caribbean has a third alternative: a series of nine-night sailings aboard Grandeur of the Seas that operate roundtrip from the port of Baltimore, Maryland.

These nine-night cruises begin August 4, 2016 and run until the last departure on October 13, 2016. Since they depart further south than usual, these voyages include one day at sea heading north, and two days at sea on the southbound return to Baltimore, which means more time to enjoy the ship and all its amenities. It’s also a good choice for those who want to sail to Canada and New England, but who want to spend a bit more time on vacation.

Ports of call: Boston, Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Montreal to the Caribbean with Seabourn

Caribbean dreaming, Star Clippers style. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Of course, you could always sail from Canada to the Caribbean… Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

On October 21, 2016, Seabourn Quest sails an interesting, one-off itinerary: a 20-day voyage from Montreal to Bridgetown, Barbados that combines a Canada & New England cruise with a voyage along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and a swing through the Caribbean.

If you’ve got the time (and the cash), this is one of the most unique voyages in the region, effectively combining three cruises into one massive, all-encompassing voyage. This is far from the only Canada & New England voyage that Seabourn offers; the line has a whole host of sailings aboard Seabourn Quest that focus exclusively on the region. But few voyages can provide the sheer diversity of ports that this single sailing does.

That you get to sail in Seabourn’s own inimitable style is an added bonus. It could also be why, at this time, all categories except for the entry-level Ocean View Suites are listed as “sold out.”

Ports of call: Quebec City, Quebec (overnight); Illes de la Madeline, Quebec; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor; Salem, Massachusetts; New York (overnight); Charleston, South Carolina; Fort Lauderdale; Jost Van Dyke, BVI; Gustavia, St. Barth’s; Terre-de-Haute, Guadeloupe.

Exploring Vieux - or Old - Quebec! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Set sail for Quebec this fall! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

These itineraries are by no means all that Canada & New England has to offer – nor are all the lines that serve the region represented here. In fact, every major mainstream cruise line has at least some presence in Canada & New England this fall, with cruises that operate from a variety of convenient homeports in the United States and Canada. And that means there’s probably a cruise out there that’s right for you.

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