Our guide to New England & Canada cruises

Cunard's guide to cruising the beautiful and historic coastlines of North-East America and Canada.

Cruising New England and Canada is simply breathtaking. Calm waters reflect rugged snow-tipped mountain peaks, lush forests bathed in deep green and golden hues, and cosmopolitan cities packed with fascinating sights and irresistible smells.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or considering your first holiday to the region, read on to discover more about what makes a New England and Canada cruise such a magical experience.

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Why cruise to New England and Canada?

Picturesque, natural splendour, paired with bustling cities, fascinating history and a range of culinary and cultural delights make New England and Canada one of the most diverse and beautiful cruise options available.

Marvel from deck as you pass by the towering red spruce forests of Maine, wander the cobblestone streets of Quebec City and sample mouth-watering cedar-plank salmon, or the sweetness of pancakes and fresh maple syrup.

On top of all of this, New England and Canada enjoys some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife. Picture spectacular whale-watching on both the eastern and western shores, mighty moose lazily strolling through thick pine forests and beavers carefully crafting their homes by trickling streams.

New England and Canada cruise highlights

Cruises to New England and Canada are full of unforgettable experiences, but there are some things you simply can’t miss. Make sure some of these top experiences are on your New England and Canada cruise itinerary.

New England and Canada cruise sights

New England and Canada cruises are laden with hotspots of unrivalled natural beauty, offering you a unique perspective on some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery.

Arcadia National Park, Maine: Explore the towering Cadillac Mountain, or the beauty of Jordan Pond, surrounded by dizzying cliffs and an abundance of smaller ponds and rich forests.

Reversing Fall Rapids, Saint John: Take a stroll through the Harbour Passage nature trail, soaking up the wonderous scenery before coming close with the invigorating rapids. The rapids stem from the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the highest tidal range in the world with waters so powerful that they reverse the direction of the river itself.

Montmorency Falls, Quebec: Leave the rich, French influences behind in Quebec City and travel to the heart-stopping Montmorency Falls, a waterfall estimated to be around 275 foot tall – approximately 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls!

Cultural and capital highlights

Quebec City: Sample this traditionally European city, full of culture, dainty patisseries and tasteful wine bars. Quebec City is home to the Chateau Frontenac, a castle-like structure first opened in 1893 and for art enthusiasts, take time to meander around the Saint Anne de Beaupre Basilica.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: The inspiration behind the novel Anne of Green Gables, experience the Green Gables Heritage Place, with stunning views of Charlottetown’s russet-toned beaches. Hike through the Prince Edward Island National Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding the Covehead Harbour Lighthouse.

Halifax, Nova Scotia: History enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on the historical sites and museums that Halifax has to offer. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic houses a vast collection of historic Titanic artefacts, whereas the long-standing Citadel, built in 1749, holds daily firings of the Noon Gun.

Boston, Massachusetts: A city steeped in history, Boston is not only a fascinating cruise highlight, but also one of the cultural standouts of the U.S. Visit the historical site of the Boston Tea Party or walk in the footsteps of Paul Revere along the red-bricked path of the Freedom Trail, commemorating significant locations of the Revolutionary War.

New England and Canada food highlights

You won’t be disappointed by the culinary options on offer on a New England and Canadian cruise. From the rich gravy and cheese curd laden French fries of Quebec’s classic poutine, to the sea-harvest delights of Maine, particularly the lobster dishes, there truly is something to suit every preference.

Food isn’t the only thing on the menu. New England and Canada has a significant wine and beer culture as well, with an array of wineries and breweries on offer to explore and experience.

On board, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a range of delectable menu offerings to experience throughout your voyage, including traditional pub fare at the Golden Lion, sumptuous seafood at Steakhouse at the Veranda, and poolside grills where you can eat al fresco in the glorious sunshine.

New England and Canada shore experiences

We offer a range of exciting day trips and shore experiences to truly enrich your New England and Canada cruise.

We offer a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, essential destination highlights and bespoke excursions so you don’t miss those unforgettable moments that you’ve been eager to tick off your bucket list.

New England & Canada festivals and events

From the colour-soaked oak, maple and aspen trees that blanket the coastline and national parks in autumn, to the toe tapping sounds of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in summer, there are whole host of festivals and events for you to enjoy, helping you get a true taste of the New England and Canada experience.

July 1st sees the countrywide celebration of Canada Day, with residents from coast to coast wearing red and white, with widespread firework displays, food and drink stalls and many localised events on the day.

Summer in Quebec heralds in the eclectic sights, sounds and smells of the Quebec City Summer Festival, a defining element of local culture and a traditional celebration as the residents say farewell to the harsh, long winter months.

Autumn in New England and Canada sees the spectacular arrival of the fall foliage, with the sweeping landscapes transformed into patchwork cacophony of intense ruby, deep gold and vibrant yellow of the aspen, larch and maple trees. Events such as the Mont Sutton Fall Festival celebrate the changing of the seasons, with guided hikes, al fresco dining and musical displays set amongst the backdrop of the postcard-perfect trees.

New England and Canada cruises seasons

The cruise season in New England and Canada typically runs from May to October, with the most popular cruising period taking place in autumn. The trees begin to shift into their renowned fall colours and the weather is crisp and cool – perfect for a leisurely afternoon watching the beautiful coastline drift by while cosily wrapped up on deck.

Summer – June, July, August

While summer in New England and Canada may enjoy fewer rainy days and more abundant sunshine, evenings are still cool. Daytime average highs reach around 20 degrees Celsius, with evenings dipping to around 12- 15 degrees Celsius, making it a very comfortable time to travel.

Autumn – September, October, November

Autumn in New England and Canada ushers in the peak season for cruising, with cool, crisp days interspersed with more frequent showers and the first snowfalls arriving in November. Temperatures can change rapidly, with the daily average temperature dropping from a comfortable 19 degrees Celsius in September to a brisk -5 in November.

Winter – December, January, February

While not the traditional season for cruising, visiting New England and Canada in the winter months provides a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the plentiful snowfall and visit some of the numerous ski mountains close to Quebec City, such as Stoneham Mountain Resort or Mont Tremblant. Temperatures often dip well below freezing, with an average daytime temperature of -5 to -15 degrees Celsius during the day.

Spring – March, April, May

While still a quiet period for cruising, the end of spring heralds in the beginning of the tourism period, with temperatures slowly rising to reach around 15-19 degrees Celsius in May. Even though rain showers are still frequent, quick spells of sunshine signal the arrival of summer.

What to pack for a New England and Canada cruise

The weather in New England and Canada can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to be prepared for sporadic bursts of sunshine, showers or snowfall depending on when you travel.

Shore experiences

When on shore, whether you’re strolling around the cobbled streets of Quebec or taking in the scenery in one of Canada’s stunning national parks during a hike, it’s strongly recommended that you include a sturdy pair of walking shoes in your luggage.

Thin, casual layers that can easily be built up or removed are advised, and a good-quality all-weather top layer such as a raincoat or parker is essential. Don’t forget to include a hat, scarves, gloves and thick socks to help keep you comfortable while sightseeing on deck or on shore.

Days on board

On board, keep things cosy and casual with plenty of light layers and a warm coat or waterproof jacket for any wetter days. A pair of casual boots or trainers are the perfect choice for taking a stroll around the deck.

Finally, remember to bring a couple of swimsuits and flip flops for the pools and spa, as well as sunglasses, a camera and a pair of binoculars for those wildlife encounters.


When it comes to evenings on board, you can let your personality do the talking. We advise packing a selection of smarter items you feel comfortable in, such as dresses, skirts, trousers and smart shirts with tailoring. Nights under the stars on deck can be cold, so don’t forget a wrap, pashmina or other cover-up for those moonlit strolls.

On Gala Evenings, of which there are normally two per seven-night Cunard cruise, we invite you to dress up a little more and embrace the spirit of occasion. Tuxedos, tailored suiting, cocktail dresses and floor-length evening gowns are all commonly worn, and with our new themes you’re sure to be entranced by the glamour on show.

Read our cruise packing guide for more helpful suggestions on the types of clothing to include in your luggage, Gala Evening theme ideas, and a list of must-haves for a Cunard cruise.

New England and Canada cruise FAQs

Explore New England and Canada

New England and Canada, with Cunard

Explore our current voyages to this stunning region, including local routes from New York or an unmissable combination with a Transatlantic Crossing.

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New England and Canada shore experiences

Whether you seek adventure, local cuisine or cultural insight, Cunard's hand-picked selection of shore experiences are ripe with options for you to choose from.

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