Looking for the best way to explore eastern Canada and New England? This ports of call Canada & New England cruise guide will get you started.  Cruising to Canada and New England is a great way to discover many of the area’s highlights easily.

The area is rich in maritime culture and history, offering breathtaking scenery of the natural rugged east coast.

The fall colours are spectacular in late September and October but you can’t always time it right, as nature does not necessarily cooperate with your schedule. The fall can offer some windier days, fog and rain, as tropical storms might work their way north from the Caribbean. If fairer weather appeals to you, the summer months are warmer and with more days of sunshine.

All along the route, there are plenty of places to find fresh Atlantic seafood, including lobster.

There are a variety of cruise ships sailing these waters and each offer slightly different itineraries at varying price points. These are the latest cruise offerings: Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess Cruises, Oceania, Windstar, Seabourn, Silversea, Cunard and MSC.

Be prepared in any season by dressing in layers, wearing windproof and rainproof clothing as well as comfortable walking shoes.

Highlights of things to do in ports of call in Canada and New England

  • New York, New York is a popular port included on some of the north-eastern cruise routes. Here are only a few highlights of the many famous attractions:  Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Ellis Island, Times Square, Broadway, 5th Avenue and Central Park. If your cruise stops or starts here, this port is worthy of tacking on several extra days before or after your cruise. Here is a handy map of New York City.
  • Boston, Massachusetts is a friendly walkable city with many different neighbourhoods to explore. It is the largest city in New England. Nearby is Salem, famous for the witch trials. If your cruise stops or starts here, this port is worthy of tacking on several extra days before or after your cruise. If you can extend your stay even longer by another 2 days, a trip to Cape Cod, Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard is well worth it.
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is the capital of PEI and Canada’s birthplace, rich in history and filled with Victorian houses. Take a scenic drive outside the city. Here you will find rolling farmlands of vivid greens and yellow, quaint fishing villages, iconic red sandstone cliffs and pristine white sandy beaches. Green Gables is also a highlight, the house and farm made famous world-wide by author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book Anne of Green Gables.
PEI scenic Red Sands Shore drive to Fort Amherst National Historic site and Blockhouse Point Lighthouse (1876) takes you on red clay roads winding through the countryside of farmlands, rolling hills and woodlands and then onto impressive red sandstone cliffs and red sand beaches. Irish Moss can be found here. PEI is one of the ports of Call for Canada New England. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

PEI scenic Red Sands Shore drive to Fort Amherst National Historic site and Blockhouse Point Lighthouse (1876) takes you on red clay roads winding through the countryside of farmlands, rolling hills and woodlands and then onto impressive red sandstone cliffs and red sand beaches. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

  • Sydney, Nova Scotia is the gateway to the world-famous Cape Breton Island and one of the most scenic drives in North America.
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia was the entry point of many immigrants arriving by ship into Canada at Pier 21. This seaport town played a major role when the Titanic sank and also when 9/11 happened. Iconic Peggy’s Cove is only 40 kms away.
  • Bar Harbor, Maine is a charming walkable coastal town located on Mount Desert Island. It is surrounded by stunning Acadia National Park.
  • Quebec City, Quebec sits on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Its fortified historic city walls are the only ones left still standing north of Mexico. The old town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city dates from the 1600s. Most of Quebec’s people speak French and many restaurants offer traditional French Canadian dishes such as pea soup, tourtiere pie (meat pie), sugar pie and poutine.
  • Montreal, Quebec is an official UNESCO City of Design. The architecture is worth exploring. The city is very walkable and there are many neighbourhoods to discover. Old Town Montreal is no longer walled, but is filled with 17th and 18th century buildings, shops and restaurants.
  • Saguenay Fjord, Quebec is a stunning wilderness area and the most southern fjord in North America.
  • Newport, Rhode Island is a scenic resort town offering lots of charm and glorious famous mansions to explore from the golden era. The Breakers was one of our favourites.
  • Corner Brook, Newfoundland offers access to Gros Morne National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This area of rugged wilderness is on the west coast of the province.
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland is the largest city and capital of the province. This colourful city is situated on the rugged east coast. The British settled here in the 1600s, making one of the oldest cities in North America.

Discover top things to do in Sydney, Nova Scotia

Explore port of call Charlottetown

Learn about Prince Edward Island

Discover other destinations.

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