Our guide to Canada and New England cruises

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

Cruising Canada and New England 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 traveler or considering your first vacation to the region, read on to discover more about what makes a Canada and New England cruise such a magical experience.

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Why cruise to Canada and New England?

Picturesque, natural splendor, paired with bustling cities, fascinating history and a range of culinary and cultural delights make Canada and New England 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, Canada and New England 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.

Canada and New England cruise ports

At Cunard, our Canada and New England cruises offer a mix of natural beauty and rich culture and history. If you so choose, you can leave the busy cities behind and take in the rugged natural landscape of the plentiful National Parks. However, a cruise to New England and Canada is so much more than scenic splendor alone, as every port is packed full of cultural, culinary and architectural delights.

Boston, USA

Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts and New England's most famous. Located in a natural harbor full of significant historic sites including The Freedom Trail, a visit here is truly historic.

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Sydney, Canada

Off the east coast of Canada lies a group of large islands that make up the region of Nova Scotia. The port of Sydney is at the end of a long waterway to Canada’s ocean gateway to Cape Breton Island.

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Quebec City, Canada

Sailing into Quebec City you arrive at the oldest inland port in Canada, just minutes from the city center. As you head inland to explore the Old Town, you begin to sense a unique history and romance.

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Saguenay, Canada

As it flows into the St. Lawrence River, the Saguenay River winds through a majestic fjord to reveal a host of picturesque villages. Natural beauty surrounds Saguenay Harbor, this vibrant conurbation.

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Sept-Iles, Canada

Almost 400 miles northeast of Quebec City, Sept-Iles stands proud in the Côte-Nord region, where roads are scarce. It looks over the St. Lawrence River as it widens into the mighty Gulf of St. Lawrence.

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Halifax, Canada

A star-shaped fortress welcomes you to this fascinating city. Here you can stand beside the visionary Sir Samuel Cunard himself, or rather the bronze statue that presides over his hometown waterfront.

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Canada and New England 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 Canada and New England cruise itinerary.

Canada and New England cruise sights

Canada and New England cruises are laden with hotspots of unrivaled natural beauty, offering you a unique perspective on some of the world’s most breathtaking 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 Harbor Passage nature trail, soaking up the wondrous 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 Harbor 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 artifacts, 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.

Canada and New England food highlights

You won’t be disappointed by the culinary options on offer on a Canada and New England 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. Canada and New England 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 Verandah, and poolside grills where you can eat al fresco in the glorious sunshine.

Canada and New England Shore Experiences

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

Canada and New England festivals and events

From the color-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 a whole host of festivals and events for you to enjoy, helping you get a true taste of the Canada and New England 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 localized 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 Canada and New England sees the spectacular arrival of the fall foliage, with the sweeping landscapes transformed into a 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.

Canada and New England cruise seasons

The cruise season in New England and Canada typically runs from May to October, with the most popular cruising period taking place in the fall. The trees begin to shift into their renowned fall colors 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 Canada and New England may enjoy fewer rainy days and more abundant sunshine, evenings are still cool. Daytime average highs reach around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, with evenings dipping to around 53 - 59 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a very comfortable time to travel.

Fall – September, October, November

Autumn in Canada and New England 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 66 degrees Fahrenheit in September to a brisk 23 in November.

Winter – December, January, February

While not the traditional season for cruising, visiting Canada and New England 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 23 degrees Fahrenheit 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 59-66 degrees Fahrenheit in May. Even though rain showers are still frequent, quick spells of sunshine signal the arrival of summer.

What to pack for a Canada and New England cruise

The weather in Canada and New England 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 cozy 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, pants 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 the 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.

Canada and New England cruise FAQs

Explore Canada and New England

Canada and New England, 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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Canada and New England 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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