New England Cruise

Fall is a great time to cruise New England.

For passengers who want to experience the luxurious life of cruise travel without braving foreign ports, a New England cruise is the perfect opportunity to sail close to home without missing out on a delightful cruise experience.

When to Take a New England Cruise

Most cruise lines only offer New England itineraries when the scenic fall foliage is at its peak: generally during September and October. For the best viewing, late September voyages are the most attractive, and they are the perfect choice for a unique honeymoon or casual getaway. Larger cruise lines may offer New England cruises during the summer as well, when the weather is milder and more enjoyable than southern itineraries.

Cruise Length

Depending on the cruise line, New England voyages range from four nights to two weeks. Longer voyages may start from distant embarkation ports or may venture into several Canadian ports as well as visits along the eastern seaboard. Itineraries generally include at least one day at sea or opportunity for scenic cruising, giving passengers plenty of time to relax as the seasons change around them.

Cruise Lines

Many cruise lines offer New England cruise options, including:

  • Carnival Cruise Line: The largest cruise line in the world, Carnival offers dozens of options for a fun cruise vacation.
  • Seabourn Cruises: A smaller, more luxurious line than most mainstream cruise companies, Seabourn prides itself on distinguished and elegant voyages.
  • Crystal Cruises: A borderline luxury cruise line, Crystal Cruises offers refined travel for discerning passengers.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises: With a focus on fitness and multiple options for adventurous fun, Royal Caribbean is a great line for families with older children and teens.
  • Princess Cruises: A mainstream line with luxury amenities, Princess is perfect for a laid-back, relaxed voyage.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: Known for value pricing and generous discounts, Norwegian is an excellent cruise line choice for first-time cruisers are well as repeat travelers.
  • Silversea Cruises: An impressive line with delicate refinement, Silversea offers a classy vacation experience for every traveler.
  • Celebrity Cruises: With excellent attributes of both mainstream and luxury lines, Celebrity insures that every passenger receives the star treatment.
  • Holland America Cruise Line: A leader in tour options, Holland America offers in-depth experiences on all its voyages.

Every cruise line has different characteristics and before choosing which one to sail, prospective passengers should consult a travel agent for advice about which line may best suit their needs.

Embarkation Ports

There are several embarkation ports that offer New England cruise options, with the most popular ports being New York, Boston, and Montreal, since they are closest to the destination ports. Longer itineraries may depart from more distant locations, including Norfolk, Virginia or Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Both round-trip and one-way itineraries are available from several lines, particularly with longer itineraries.

New England Cruise Ports of Call

Ports of call along New England itineraries vary for each cruise line, but they generally include stops in Massachusetts and Maine, as well as potential visits to Connecticut, Rhode Island, or New York. Depending on the specific itinerary, ports of call may include:

Scenic lighthouse
  • New London, CT
  • Gloucester, MA
  • Bar Harbor, ME
  • Martha's Vineyard, MA
  • Albany, NY
  • New York, NY
  • Newport, RI
  • Portsmouth, NH

Most New England cruise vacations also include visits to one or more Canadian ports, such as Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; or Quebec City, Quebec, depending on how far along the St. Lawrence River the itinerary extends.

Shore Excursions

Shore Excursions also vary by cruise line, but passengers are likely to have several options for fascinating tours on each voyage. Historic walking and driving tours are especially popular to trace the path of American independence with visits to key locations such as Lexington, Concord, and Salem in Massachusetts as well as visits to historical highlights in Boston and other prominent cities. Some cruise lines even offer excursions to Fenway Park while the ship is docked in Boston, offering a glimpse of sporting history to all baseball fans. Other tour options may include lobster bakes (emphasizing the seafood culinary tradition of New England), lighthouse visits, and kayaking journeys.


Sailing on a luxurious cruise ship is an excellent way to experience the beauty and history of New England. With multiple cruise lines, ports of call, and itinerary lengths to choose from, every passenger is sure to find the perfect option for their vacation to indulge in history, tradition, and relaxation close to home.

New England Cruise