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Colonial history and rugged coastlines, craggy seaside villages and opulent mansions -- these are just a few of the things that make a Canada & New England cruise so appealing. Each northern Atlantic port offers a glimpse into the past, as well as present-day natural beauty. You can learn about America's forefathers in Newport and Boston, while Bar Harbor is known for its stunning rocky shores and towering cliffs.
In Atlantic Canada, Halifax and Saint John offer a glimpse into a different kind of city life, one where voices are quieter, the pace is slower, and a city library takes up prime real estate, overlooking Saint John's harbor from a wharfside mall.
More than ever, many itineraries are venturing down the Saint Lawrence Seaway and into the heart of Canada's francophone province, Quebec. Known as "La Belle Province" (The Beautiful Province), cruises are calling on some of the region's most picturesque and historic ports of call, from tiny Saguenay to picturesque Quebec City and cosmopolitan Montreal.
Cruising Canada and New England is not only about what you can see and learn, though. These itineraries offer a wealth of opportunities to pedal, paddle and hike -- in national parks, along coastal roads and through color-filled forests. Speedboat rides in the Bay of Fundy, whale-watching excursions and white-water rafting are all available, too.
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific?
The answer depends on many variables. For example, fall foliage enthusiasts will find September and October the best time to cruise Canada/New England, whereas families prefer to sail in summer when temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights.
For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays).
However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise.
As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.