A week-long cruise typically starts or ends in New York or Boston, while longer cruises—12 days or more—often use Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or Charleston, South Carolina, as a terminus. Either way, as you wind your way along Canada’s coast, panoramas of reds, golds and yellows sparkle in the sunlight, punctuated by quaint fishing harbors and culture-rich coastal cities.
The ocean portion of the cruise will take you to the three Maritime Provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. This trio serves up some of the nation’s prettiest small towns—along with world-renowned seafood. Try the sweet, tender mussels on Prince Edward Island; its ocean climate and tidal patterns are uniquely favorable to this delectable shellfish.
Your journey then heads inland to sail along the St. Lawrence Seaway, where more fall color awaits. The boreal forest on the river’s north shore is a mix of coniferous trees—firs and pines—and deciduous trees, those that change color. Their warm hues pop against the green canvas of conifers, creating a distinctive mosaic. On the south shore, the forest teems with red maples, yellow birch, white ash and others. The only sights that might steal your attention from nature are the 40 lighthouses that line the waterway in and around Quebec.
The St. Lawrence Seaway cruise also takes you to some of Canada’s most impressive cities. Montreal hums with a global vibe, while Quebec City—founded before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock—charms with its 17th- and 18th-century stone architecture and European feel.
Other cruise options include a tour around the Great Lakes, sailing between Chicago and Toronto, with a day spent in Niagara Falls. Or you can explore Canada’s west coast from Vancouver in the summer. A popular stop is Vancouver Island, with its glorious 55-acre Butchart Gardens, and many journeys wind their way through Canada’s rugged Inside Passage, past pine-covered fjords, peaceful inlets and adorable harbor seals.