Hop Onto Color-Drenched Shores on a New England Fall Cruise

Celebrate the beginning of autumn on a Technicolor cruise.

Saguenay River, Quebec

Photo: iStock

There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of autumn than on a fall cruise through Canada and New England. Sailing from ports such as Boston, New York City and Bayonne, New Jersey, to Montréal and Quebec City, these cruises take you to gorgeous places. Get off the ship and wander the picturesque streets of Bar Harbor, Maine, and visit nearby Acadia National Park; enjoy the crisp, cool air as your ship sails slowly through fjord country on the Saguenay River to the heart of Quebec; or kick up your heels in Montreal’s lively Underground City.

But the real star of a cool New England fall cruise—and the reason many opt to take one in September or October rather than in the spring and summer—is the foliage. New England is famous for its Technicolor vegetation; leaves start changing colors as early as mid-September and peak, on average, during the first half of October. “Peaking,” though, is a mild way of putting into words what happens when swashes of purple (sumacs), scarlet (dogwoods, red oaks, maples), gold (hickories, poplars and elms) and reddish-orange (mountain maples) splash dramatically across valleys and hills, on mountains and along the coasts of New England.


Photo: eStock

Canada offers its own kaleidoscopic extravaganza. Because of the warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait, Prince Edward Island has one of the longest fall foliage periods in northeastern North America. The island’s brilliant forests of vivid yellow, vibrant orange and rich scarlet are the perfect backdrop for a horseback ride or a hike. (Check The Old Farmers’ Almanac for peaking maps with up-to-date predictions.)

Many cruise lines—including region pioneers Holland America Line and Princess Cruises®—offer Canada and New England fall cruises that range from five to 15 nights and call in ports such as Newport, Rhode Island; Bar Harbor, Maine; St. John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Montréal and Quebec City, Quebec.

And though leaf-peeping is front and center, there’s a lot more to this region, such as outdoor adventures, colonial history, stately cathedrals, wineries, fishing towns and sophisticated cities. These cool-weather cruises offer a rich, distinctive experience.

A few things to keep in mind about a Canada or New England fall cruise:

  • Book early; peak fall foliage cruises sell out quickly.
  • Remember, Canada’s Thanksgiving is the second Monday of October, so some sights may be more crowded around that time.
  • Layer up; mornings and nights in the fall can be very cool, even if days warm up a bit.

Visit New England in fall and see the colorful sights by land or sea. AAA travel experts have all the details about cruises and escorted road and rail journeys. Book now or call 877-396-7159 to contact a AAA Travel Counselor today.

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David Kallas, AAA Travel Counselor, Murray, Utah

I'm all about once-in-a-lifetime trips to destinations such as the Cook Islands, Australia or an African safari. I love to plan trips that my clients return from not regretting anything.

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