FALLING FOR FALL: To Enjoy Autumn Colors, Travelers Flock To Cruises To New England, Canada
MIAMI, Sept. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In September and October, Mother Nature shows off her colors in eastern Canada and New England, as leaves begin their change from green to orange, crimson and glowing gold. The colorful palette seen from a cruise ship is a powerful sight. The leaves will eventually fall but for a glorious period of time they paint the landscape.
Even well-traveled sea captains are impressed by the colors of fall on cruises to New England and Canada. (Photo courtesy of Holland America Line)
Add such delights as iconic lighthouses, lessons in American and Canadian history, fresh lobster and delightfully creamy clam chowder, seaside Victorian mansions and opportunity to spot humpbacks and other whales before they migrate to warmer waters, and it's easy to see why New England and Canada itineraries are a favorite – even for cruise ship captains.
"Voyages to New England and Canada are always very special and popular for both our guests and crew alike," says Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Captain Aseem A. Hashmi. "I am personally so fascinated by this part of the world for not only its striking and ever-changing natural beauty, but also the very rich history associated with the region."
Cruise lines explore New England and Canada in September and October, Cunard with the Queen Mary 2 and Holland America Line with three mid-size ships sailing between Boston and New York and Canada, either Montreal or Quebec City. Princess Cruises has two ships sailing from Brooklyn, and in fall 2020, one of the ships will be the new, 3,660-passenger Sky Princess, which debuts next month in Europe.
Carnival Cruise Line in the fall does weekly itineraries from New York City that visit Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Portland, Maine; and Boston. This year the ship sailing the route is the 2,984-passenger Carnival Sunrise, which recently underwent a $200 million upgrade. Next year the Carnival Radiance, fresh from a similarly extensive makeover, will take over the itinerary. The line's most innovative ship, the new 5,280-passenger Mardi Gras, will make her inaugural departure from the U.S. when she embarks on a six-day cruise from New York to Saint John and Portland in September 2020.
Ultraluxury line Seabourn explores the region with the intimate, 458-passenger Seabourn Quest, including calls at small, less-visited ports, while British line P&O Cruises visits on longer itineraries from Southampton, U.K.
"Coastal-wise, there aren't many places in the world I know of where specifically the change of a season, in all its true colors, is so beautiful," says Seabourn Quest Captain Joost Eldering. "It all happens within only a few weeks, like watching slow motion in real life. I'm very much a fall season person, happy for peace to return within nature."
Exploration of the northeast coast of North America will bring travelers to Atlantic Canada and provinces such as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Many itineraries also explore the St. Lawrence, Canada's most important river, which flows between the Atlantic and the Great Lakes, past colorful hardwood forests and quaint villages and the world-class metropolises of Quebec City and Montreal.
Captain Hashmi says he particularly enjoys the distinctness of the different ports of call, from seaside towns with wooden houses to the chic cities.
"As a captain, sailing in the St. Lawrence River in fall is so awe-inspiring, especially when the leaves start turning and is a reflection of just how beautiful our world is," he says. "As a Cunard captain, Nova Scotia holds a special place in our company's 180-year history as Halifax is where it all began and is the birthplace of our founder, Sir Samuel Cunard. Halifax always gives our ships a special welcome and for us it is always a 'homecoming' too."
The lively port embraces its Scottish heritage. Don't be surprised if there may be bagpipes at the Halifax pier. Head uphill to 19th-century Citadel, the most advanced British fortification of its day. Downtown is very walkable and along the water are historic wharves and warehouses converted into markets, galleries and shops. Fans of lighthouses will want to take a shore excursion to visit quaint Peggy's Cove.
If your ship calls at Sydney, Nova Scotia, you are in for the treat of discovering Cape Breton, with its Celtic music and traditions, and such nearby attractions as the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in nearby Baddeck.
Montreal, which recently celebrated its 375th birthday, provides a delightful mix of old and new, with modern glass towers, historic sites and a welcoming Old-World European charm. For sweeping views, head to the top of Mount Royal. You'll want to linger in Old Montreal with its cobblestone streets, art galleries, museums, shops and eateries.
Quebec City was founded in the early 17th century, and the historic district of Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk the cobblestone streets, admiring the well-preserved buildings, churches and historic ramparts, with the elegant Château Frontenac hotel towering above.
On some itineraries, ships linger on the St. Lawrence to explore the tree-lined Saguenay Fjord, which cuts through some of the oldest rocks on earth. Colored by the fallen leaves and needles from the tree-covered slopes on both sides, the water is the color of tea. A call at the riverfront town of Sept-Îles, Quebec, affords visitors further views of the natural beauty and insight into the First Nations culture of the region.
On the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean, keep an eye out for the many varieties of whales that hang out here.
"Last year I saw my first white beluga whale. We kept a safe distance, but it was a beautiful sight," says Seabourn's Captain Eldering.
A visit to Saint John brings the attraction of reversing tidal rapids right in the center of the city. Or head along the coast of the Bay of Fundy to experience the world's highest tides at the Hopewell Rocks – where twice each day 100 billion tons of water create tides that rise as high as 50 feet.
With its pastoral fields and the red cliffs of the North Cape, Prince Edward Island leaves a lasting impression. Explore among the Victorian buildings of Charlottetown or head off on unique island experiences such as joining a local oyster fisherman as he uses long tongs to collect prized Malpeque oysters (with shucking and eating also part of the fun). Fans of author Lucy Maud Montgomery will not want to miss a visit to the "Anne of Green Gables" sites.
Exploring coastal New England
"When approaching the coast, the almost uniform green appearance of summer can be seen to change to the riot of fall colors and makes you very much aware the season change is underway," says Holland America Line's Zaandam Captain Chris Norman.
In Bar Harbor, Maine, Victorian homes show the area's history as a playground for the wealthy, while the vast Acadia National Park delights nature lovers with its forests and scenic vistas along the rocky coastline. Hop on a lobster boat to watch the captain haul the traps or explore the park on a hike or in a horse-drawn carriage, keeping an eye out for the resident moose.
Portland is home to award-winning restaurants and brewpubs, boutiques, lobstermen, lighthouses and Victorian buildings overlooking Casco Bay. It's a lively and fun place to linger.
In Boston, American history unfolds on the Freedom Trail, where sights include the home of Paul Revere, Bunker Hill and the celebrated war ship USS Constitution. For a pop culture diversion, visit the bar that inspired the TV show "CHEERS!"
A side trip to Salem provides a history lesson on the famous 17th century witch trials. Baseball fans will want to make a pilgrimage to Fenway Park, to see the imposing "Green Monster" (the high left field wall).
In Newport, Rhode Island, travel back in time to the Gilded Age, visiting palatial mansions built by the robber barons of the last century. The Breakers was the Italian Renaissance-style palazzo of the Vanderbilt family. A jaunt on the Cliff Walk affords stunning ocean views and a look at the backyards and gardens of the mansions. Or stay on the water for a sail on a private America's Cup yacht, in the city that hosted the sailing event for more than 50 years.
A Canada and New England cruise delivers history, culture and gorgeous fall colors. It's a ticket to one of Mother Nature's best shows, with no need to deal with finding hotel reservations or negotiating roadways clogged with leaf-peepers.
SOURCE Carnival Corporation & plc