1. Home
  2. Destinations
  3. Canada & New England
  4. 5 Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise

5 Reasons to Take a Fall Foliage Cruise

View of Camden, Maine harbor from the summit of Mount Battie, Camden Hills State Park (Photo: E.J.Johnson Photography)
View of Camden, Maine harbor from the summit of Mount Battie, Camden Hills State Park (Photo: E.J.Johnson Photography)

Find Cruises to Canada & New England from

Fall is Mother Nature's magic show. Dazzling hues of burgundy, crimson and gold transform the landscape, beckoning us to embrace the outdoors. Instead of limiting yourself to your hometown leaf display, opt for a fall foliage cruise in Canada and New England.

Itineraries run the gamut from five nights to more than two weeks, and take place during the leaf-peeping high season between late September and mid-October. Most ships disembark from New York or Boston and call at ports like Bar Harbor, Quebec City and Prince Edward Island. For a more intimate leaf-peeping experience, splurge on a river cruise through New York's Hudson Valley or a luxury cruise to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Are pretty leaves the only reason to take a fall foliage cruise? Certainly not. Here are five compelling reasons to take a fall foliage cruise.

Updated August 21, 2018

1. The scenery is beautiful.

A fall foliage cruise allows you to soak up the scenery and crisp air in a beautifully mapped out itinerary, which you can enjoy from onboard or by foot or bus, in multiple ports. Cruise lines target their foliage cruises for peak season (late September to mid-October) when deciduous trees show off their richest colors. Even on a short cruise, you're guaranteed a good show. Longer sailings highlight even more of the transition from summer to winter; some also include overnights in select ports. Think about it: What could be better than enjoying the views from your cruise ship balcony, snuggled up with a fleece blanket and glass of wine?

Bass Harbor Lighthouse at Acadia National Park

2. The port cities are full of character, history and charm.

Canada and New England, and even New York, are dotted with old, picture-perfect port cities that are fun and easy to explore on your own. Tour a lighthouse, stroll through the park or shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs at a boutique shop. For those who prefer to have their days organized for them, cruise lines offer an array of excursions in port or to nearby attractions, such as Acadia National Park.

3. Seasonal delicacies abound.

The Halloween and pre-Christmas holiday spirit will be in full effect during your cruise, so expect lots of seasonal decor and bustling farmers' markets -- and pumpkin-flavored everything. Farmers' markets are a great way to sample local "fall harvest" flavors. Throughout New England, for example, you can indulge in apple cider doughnuts and pressed apple cider (head to a restaurant for apple pancakes drenched in warm maple syrup). Meanwhile, fall foliage cruises cater to pumpkin lovers with everything from savory pies to soups.

Anne of Green Gables House

4. The shore excursions are both fun and enriching.

Leaf peeping isn't the only way to relish Canada and New England's rugged beauty. Cruise lines offer a wide variety of shore excursions that are both fun and enriching and appeal to everyone, from adventure seekers to history buffs. Some of our favorites include a guided kayak tour with popular outfitter L.L. Bean and a visit to the famous Anne of Green Gables homestead in Prince Edward Island. The region is also home to a number of landmarks -- such as Fenway Park and the Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic -- that you can easily visit on your own. 

5. The weather is in your favor.

Fall weather is like Goldilocks' perfect porridge, not too hot and not too cold. The crisp air makes for comfortable shore tours, refreshing walks on the top deck and soothing hot tub dips. Just make sure you pack lots of layers, as mornings and nights tend to be a bit chilly. We also recommend heavier outdoor wear for ports along the Atlantic coast such as Bar Harbor and Halifax, which are significantly cooler (averaging in the 50s) than inland ports like Quebec City and Montreal (mid-60s to low-70s). And while the Atlantic hurricane season is at its peak during fall foliage season, the Northeast is less likely to be affected by a major storm than the Caribbean.

Find Cruises to Canada & New England from

Popular on Cruise Critic

How to Find the Best Cruise Bargains in 2019
It's the end of a decade, 2019, and a lot has changed in the world of cruising -- race cars, haute cuisine, digital everything -- but some tips on how to save on your next sailing stay tried and true. To uncover the best ways to land a cruise bargain this year, we spoke to travel agent experts and consulted industry surveys. What we found is that cruising shows no signs of slowing down, but getting on the right ship to the right destination might mean taking quick action. We've narrowed down the who, what, where and when of finding the best cruise deals in 2019 so you can spend less money and more time enjoying the seas.
What Not to Forget On a Cruise: 10 Things to Remember to Pack
We all know that sinking feeling when you realize you've left something important behind, whether it's your phone in the car or your wallet at the restaurant you just left. That feeling is much worse when you're on a cruise and discover that you've forgotten something at home. While not every "oops" will upend your cruise, some will, while others can prove to be enough of headache to put a dent in an otherwise great vacation. From A to Z, we list a few critical things not to forget the next time you cruise.
7 Ways to Outsmart Deck Chair Hogs
In the wee hours of the morning, under the cover of darkness, they creep. Their flip-flops smack across the pool decks of cruise ships everywhere as they shuffle like a horde of zombies armed with towels, sunscreen and books. If it sounds like a scene from a horror movie, you're on the right track. We're talking about deck chair hogs -- those inconsiderate fellow passengers who rise before the sun to stake out prime poolside real estate, mark it with personal belongings and then abandon it, rendering it useless to others. If you've had enough, we urge you to stand up to these selfish sunbathers and claim the deck chair that's rightfully yours. Join the peaceful revolution by employing the following seven tips for outsmarting deck chair hogs.

Find Cruises to Canada & New England from