Explore beautiful coastal towns, hike around breathtaking national parks, and stroll through historic districts by taking a cruise along the East Coast of the United States and Canada.
A popular choice with travelers, East Coast cruises are wonderful opportunities to soak in the New England charm in picturesque towns such as Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; brush up on your history in cities like Charleston, South Carolina, and Boston, Massachusetts; and spend a day admiring colonial architecture in Newport, Rhode Island.
If you’re considering a cruise along the Atlantic, here are five of the best East Coast cruises to take this year.
Bermuda, Newport, and Charleston
Cruise from Cape Liberty, New Jersey to Newport, Rhode Island, where a major draw is spending hours touring the stunning Gilded Age mansions that line Newport’s Ocean Drive. If you’d rather get some exercise in, you can also admire the architecture from afar during a scenic walk around Cliff Walk.
An overnight stay in Charleston gives you the perfect opportunity to sample local Southern cuisine. Cap off your vacation with three days in heavenly Bermuda, where the island’s famous pink sand beaches and transparent water will have you wishing you could extend your cruise for just a few days more.
Boston, Maine, and Canada
On a Boston, Maine, and Canada cruise, you’ll sail to picturesque towns throughout New England and Canada. Cruise from Boston and spend the morning walking along the Freedom Trail and learning more about the Revolutionary War.
Depending on your itinerary, you might visit Portland, Maine, where you can enjoy fresh oysters and New England lobster, or Bar Harbor, Maine, where you’ll have the opportunity to hike through the sprawling trees and wildlife of Acadia National Park.
In Canada, cruise itineraries may include stops in Quebec City, where you’ll quickly understand why it’s called the “Paris of America” after having a romantic dinner in a cozy bistro and walking along the city’s beautiful boardwalk.
In Prince Edward Island, don’t miss a chance to sample the local mussels. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, make your way to the top of Citadel Hill for panoramic views of the harbor city. In Sydney, follow in the footsteps of Alexander Graham Bell and discover the town’s Scottish roots.
Bermuda and Newport
Kick off this week-long cruise by spending a day or two in New York City, which is about 30 minutes away from the departure port of Cape Liberty, New Jersey.
You’ll sail past the iconic Statue of Liberty before heading towards Bermuda, where you’ll spend three days relaxing on the island’s pristine beaches and swimming in its turquoise ocean.
Since you’ll be spending some time on the island, schedule a tour through Kings Wharf’s stunning Crystal Caves, where you’ll marvel at its natural stalactites and stalagmites. If you’re feeling adventurous, set off on a catamaran to a protected cove, where you’ll spot all kinds of wildlife while snorkeling.
Your ship will stop in Newport, Rhode Island, where you can spend a day visiting the many extraordinary mansions that once belonged to some of the richest families in America, including the Vanderbilts and the Dukes.
Bermuda and Charleston
If you prefer cruises with overnight stays, you’ll love this nine-night cruise itinerary which includes two overnights in both Charleston and Bermuda.
Walk around the cobblestone streets of Charleston’s French Quarter, tour an old plantation, discover the beauty of Magnolia Gardens, and enjoy a Southern meal in one of the city’s many award-winning restaurants.
After a day at sea, take advantage of your two nights in Kings Wharf, Bermuda, where you can have fun at Harbour Nights, a weekly party in downtown Hamilton with live music and local street food.
Where do East Coast cruises depart from?
Most East Coast cruises depart from either Boston, Massachusetts or Cape Liberty, New Jersey, two major American cities with plenty to do in case you want to extend your vacation.
Boston is a history buff’s dream. During a day in Boston, visit Boston Common (the city’s oldest park), the Bunker Hill Monument, and the Paul Revere House.
Sports fans won’t want to miss seeing a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, while teenagers might enjoy crossing the Charles River and landing in Cambridge, home to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Cape Liberty, New Jersey
Meanwhile, Cape Liberty, New Jersey is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from New York City. If you sail from New Jersey, you could add a few days to your vacation and explore the Big Apple.
With so many attractions to choose from, the possibilities of what to do in New York are endless. Walk around Times Square and Central Park, have lunch in one of its many award-winning restaurants, shop in SoHo, or catch a Broadway show in the evening.
Small towns to visit during cruises along the East Coast
If big cities aren’t a draw, then you’ll also enjoy the myriad of charming small towns you’ll visit during your cruise.
Tour the arts district in Halifax, Nova Scotia and try the fresh seafood in Portland, Maine. Take photos in front of majestic Gilded Age mansions in Newport, Rhode Island and admire the signature red-and-white lighthouses in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Walk on the ocean floor (yes, on it) during the low tide in the Bay of Fundy in Saint John, New Brunswick.
East Coast cruises to Bermuda
If you think the best East Coast cruises don’t have beautiful beaches and transparent oceans anywhere on their itineraries, think again. One of the major ports in several East Coast cruise itineraries is the island of Bermuda.
Located approximately 650 miles east of South Carolina, Bermuda is surrounded by the glistening blues of the Atlantic Ocean. As an official territory of Great Britain, Bermuda provides an interesting mix of British culture and a laid-back island vibe, making for both a fun and relaxing getaway with plenty of active things to do alongside leisurely beaches and spas.
Bermuda cruise ships pull into port in King’s Wharf, and from there, it’s easy to explore many other sides of Bermuda during a shore excursion. Popular excursions include a day spent on one of Bermuda’s famous pink-sand beaches, a tour of the 19th-century Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, and a visit to the mystical Crystal Cave.
There are also plenty of beach bars, shops, and restaurants throughout the island to keep you entertained. Even better, the best East Coast cruises with stops in Bermuda usually offer up to two overnight stays, giving you ample time to enjoy the island’s vibrant nightlife.
When do cruises along the East Coast sail?
The East Coast cruise season kicks off in May and lasts until mid-October. Autumn is one of the most popular seasons to sail around the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada for its gorgeous fall foliage. Once you’re sailing past a coastline dotted with trees in dramatic shades of red, orange, and yellow, you’ll understand why.
An especially alluring port of call for fall foliage cruises is Bar Harbor, Maine, which is located on Mount Desert Island and is home to Acadia National Park. During Maine cruises, you’ll get to see this esteemed national park awash in colorful fall foliage, made even more breathtaking by its proximity to the surrounding sea.
Book Your Cruise to the East Coast Today
Get ready to sail on a cruise along the East Coast by booking one of these extraordinary itineraries today. Don’t miss out on discovering the best of New England, Canada, Bermuda, and South Carolina while onboard one of our award-winning luxury ships. Browse itineraries online and reserve your shore excursions today.