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As native New Englanders, we sometimes take the fall foliage for granted.  For many travelers around the world, this seasonal change is a sight to behold; hence, it is the peak of the cruise season in New England. A host of cruise ships call on some of our favorite spots from mid September to the end of October.

Fall Foliage CruiseTop Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise

However, there is a lot more to a Canada/New England cruise than just the leaves. In fact, the coastal towns spanning from New York City to Halifax offer cruisers an array of pleasant surprises. So, even if taking pictures of brightly colored trees is not reason enough to take a fall foliage cruise, we have 10 reasons why you should consider sailing in our neck of the woods. If nothing else, you can stop in and say hello to me and the Princess!

10 Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise

The Weather

You can’t beat the autumn weather in the Northeast. The hot humid days of the summer are gone, and the snowy winter has yet to arrive. These moderate temperatures make the fall season a great time for sightseeing and cruising. If you visit in mid-September, temperatures could still hover in the 70’s to 80’s, but by the time you hit October, daytime temps are typically in the 50’s and 60’s . A light jacket or sweater is the perfect layer as you cruise along the coast and explore your ports of call in comfort.

The Cruise Ships

If you decide to take a fall foliage cruise, you will have an abundance of cruise ship options. From the newly remodeled Norwegian Dawn to the smart ship Anthem of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line offer contemporary cruises in New England. The Carnival Sunshine is also here to let you take in the views.  Princess Cruises’ newest ship, Regal Princess, also makes her way up north during the fall foliage cruise season. Plenty of premium and luxury ships also cruise our cool waters including vessels from Holland America, Crystal Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and other boutique voyages.

Take a Fall Foliage CruiseTop Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise – Regal Princess, Courtesy of Princess Cruises

The Food

Our cuisine is reason enough to take a fall foliage cruise. Portland, ME is home to the one and only Maine Lobster, but the waters off these coasts are home to other seafood delights as well. You can enjoy a rich and creamy cup of New England clam chowder or some Rhode Island style calamari (fried squid). There are also plenty of sweet treats including maple syrup and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream nearby in Vermont. When in Saint John, New Brunswick, be sure to chow down on the British style fare, along with the traditional Canadian seafood offerings. Make sure to save room for all these local favorites.

The Drinks

Along with some authentic New England eats, you will need to sample our beloved drinks. The micro beer renaissance in the United States got started with a couple of Boston brands, Harpoon Brewery and Sam Adams. You can tour these facilities or at least enjoy a sip or two of these local brews. Several wineries up and down the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast also offer their own varietals. You could take a wine tour while stopped in port or just grab a few bottles to take home with you.

Take a Fall Foliage CruiseTop Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise – The Tasting Room Inside Harpoon Brewery in Boston, MA

The Waterways

When you take a fall foliage cruise to New England, you can reconnect with the ocean even while docked in port. Survey the local islands, inlets, and coastal communities on a harbor cruise. Or, step back in time and sail on an authentic tall ship. See a river reverse course at the famous Reversing Rapids in Saint John, New Brunswick. Man your own vessel as you kayak to discover places that large vessels can not enter. Whatever you choose, it is sure to be a great time.

The History

Each port of call has a unique culture and history all its own. Learn more about the founding of the United States by trekking the 3 mile Boston Freedom Trail. Learn more about the sinking of the Titanic and the aftermath of the tragedy when in Halifax, Nova Scotia. See the 19th century summer mansions of the rich and famous in Newport, RI or the Victorian era architecture and historic homes of Portland, ME. No matter what cities you visit during your fall foliage cruise, you will find a rich and vibrant history that is worthy of exploring.

Boston Freedom TrailTop Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise – The Beginning of the Boston Freedom Trail

The Games

Depending on when you cruise, you might still have a chance to catch either the New York Yankees in NYC or visit “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”, Fenway Park, to watch the Boston Red Sox. There is also the opportunity for some American football in both cities. Our home team, the New England Patriots, play just outside of Boston, and the New York Jets and Giants can be found in the New York metro area. If your cruise ship stops in Newport, RI, you can take a skip over to the International Tennis Hall of Fame located not far from your tender docking location.

Take a Fal Foliage CruiseTop Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise – Inside Fenway Park

The Wildlife

Fall is the perfect time of year to see some of the beautiful creatures on land and sea. Whale watching off the coast of Maine and Eastern Canada is popular as humpbacks and other species are known to frequent these waters this time of year. You can also choose to navigate the tranquil waterways for seal, porpoise, and other wildlife sightings. If  you’d rather stay on land, you can discover some unique birds and mammals in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with hundreds of migrant sightings possible including bald eagles, cormorants, and the cute penguin-like puffins.

Top Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage CruiseTop Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise – The Wildlife

The Locals

Yes, our warm hospitality, accents, and wicked sense of humor are among the most distinct of all U.S. stereotypes. From the Boston bravado to the laid back Maine way of life, most of those caricatures are not too far off. When you visit any of the ports of call on your fall foliage cruise, you will meet some down to earth people who love where they live and what they do. Let them show you what New England and Eastern Canada have to offer during your time on land.

Oh Yeah, The Scenery

We almost forgot! If you plan to take a fall foliage cruise, you should pack your camera. Along with the quaint historic towns and seaside restaurants, there are the beautiful autumn colors. Mountain vistas filled with brightly colored trees and the maple lined streets flowing with amber colored leaves are a photographer’s dream. Get inspired as you walk the trails of Arcadia National Park in Maine or as you sail by the rocky coasts and hundred year old lighthouses. There is no better time of year to see and discover the New England area than the fall. We hope our Top Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise have convinced you to visit!


What are your top reasons to take a fall foliage cruise? Have you traveled to New England and Canada via cruise ship? Drop us an anchor below to share your experiences traveling in this region of the world.

Top Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise

About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard!We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since.Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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