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On the heritage trail in New England and Canada


Prepare to be blown away by natural beauty and fascinating history on a cruise to New England and eastern Canada, and make sure to take in the sights of Boston and Quebec City along the way

Boston skyline and sailing boats

Boston is the largest city in New England and the oldest major city in America

From its fabulous foliage in fall – where the trees are ablaze with crimson, orange and gold – to its buzzing, cosmopolitan cities, beautiful coastlines and rich heritage, it’s no surprise that New England and the eastern coast of Canada draw visitors from all over the world.


This is a huge area with much to cover, but on a cruise to New England and Canada you can tick off many of the sights of this region, while feasting on fascinating history and culture, not to mention great food.


Birthplace of America

New England is one of the most culturally rich regions in the United States. It comprises six states in the northeast of America and was one of the earliest English settlements in the ‘New World’, following the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. They were followed by thousands of European settlers ready to start a new life, laying the foundations for the modern United States.


With its colonial past and fiercely independent streak, this dynamic region is not only a fantastic place to understand the history of America, but it is spectacular to explore, too. Expect to find long, white sandy beaches, beautiful vineyards, scenic marinas and villages, stunning lakes, and lighthouse upon lighthouse dotted along a picturesque and dramatic coastline, where whale watching is a major draw. Not to mention delicious food such as seafood chowder, lobster and the famous New England blueberry pie… what’s not to like?


Boston: the Cradle of Liberty

Cruises to New England take in ports including Bar Harbor in Maine, and the ever-buzzing Boston. Massachusetts’ capital is the heart of New England and the oldest major city in America. It is known as the ‘Cradle of Liberty’ because of the series of important historical events that took place there. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 and the Siege of Boston in 1775-6 led to the Declaration of Independence and the formation of the United States of America.


This friendly, walkable city is still one of the most forward-thinking in America and is home to important educational institutions (the prestigious Harvard University is found in Cambridge, just across the river) as well as some impressive presidential connections – John Adams, the second president of the United States, John F Kennedy and George H W Bush all hail from Massachusetts. On the American Presidents shore excursion you will get the chance to experience this first-hand with a visit to the John F Kennedy Museum and the ‘Old House’ that was once home to John Adams and John Quincy Adams, while on the An Inside Look Into Harvard University shore excursion, a Harvard student guide will take you on a walking tour through the university campus, established in 1636.


The Freedom Trail is a must on any visit to Boston. Follow the red-brick road on this walking route that winds its way around the city, connecting 16 historically significant sites. Snaking two and a half miles through the city centre, it traces the events leading up to and following the War of Independence. Experience history unfolding on the Walk the Freedom Trail shore excursion.

Château Frontenac in Quebec City

The beautiful Château Frontenac dominates the skyline in Quebec City

From lighthouse-studded coastlines, dramatic cliffs, picturesque coves and historic villages, Canada’s east coast is famed for its breathtaking natural beauty. But there’s no shortage of heritage to keep visitors learning, too, especially in the French-speaking region of Quebec.


The French connection

The French link in this northeastern part of Canada began in 1534, when explorer Jacques Cartier, the envoy of the King of France, discovered and claimed the region. French colonists then began to settle in Canada from the 17th century onwards, forming the region today known as Quebec.


On a cruise to Canada you can get a real sense of this French heritage, with visits to the capital Quebec City and cosmopolitan Montreal. And from 2018, we’ll be introducing calls into three maiden ports in Quebec: Gaspe, Iles de la Madeleine and Sept-Iles.


The Gaspe Peninsula is a place to celebrate nature. The salty waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence and Gaspe Bay are some of the best places to see whales in the world. From Gaspe itself, explore the trails and seascapes of Forillon National Park, located northeast of the city. In the middle of the Gulf of St Lawrence, the teased-out archipelago of Iles de la Madeleine is edged by white sandy beaches and red cliffs, and casts a gentle spell on visitors. Shaped by the wind and water, each of the seven inhabited islands of the Iles de la Madeleine have their distinct character – even down to the subtly different accents of the islanders. Named after the seven islands that protect its round bay, Sept-Iles has many treasures to discover. Around town, you can trace the art and culture of the Innu people, the largest First Nation in the province.


Magical Quebec City

With its narrow cobbled streets, artists displaying their wares in tree-lined squares, shops selling fine antiques and Parisian-style street cafés offering coffee and croissants, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d landed in continental France when you arrive in Quebec City. The French-Canadian capital also happens to be one of North America’s oldest settlements, and with the Old Town a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll feel like you’re strolling through an open-air museum.


Get into the spirit of Quebec on the An Evening at the Sugar Shack shore excursion, where you’ll be initiated into the ways of the Canadian staple, maple syrup, as well as experiencing some French Canadian folkloric music, song and dance and a traditional Quebecois family style meal. Or on the Old Quebec Walking Tour shore excursion, your guide will bring the history of the city alive as you walk the charming cobblestone streets of the Old Town. On the Old Quebec Walk and Château Frontenac shore excursion, discover the delights of Château Frontenac, reputedly the world's most photographed hotel, which dominates the skyline of this beautiful city.


History and natural beauty await on a cruise to these magical areas of North America and Canada.


Find out more about cruises to Canada >


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