New England Cruises
Ahoy! Cruise along the diverse coast of New England
Travelers taking a cruise ship along the northeast coast of America get a breathtaking perspective of the New England region and a chance to sample highlights — from the boating mecca of Newport, Rhode Island, to the streets of historic Boston, to a grand view of the islands of Maine. The New England cruise season runs from April into October and is especially recommended during late summer and fall foliage time. Many travelers add on a New England road trip before or after their cruising experience.
New England’s major cruise ship ports are: Newport, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; and the Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park region in the state of Maine. Read more about these New England cruising destinations.
New England Cruise Options: Large and Mid-sized Ships
The following are the major cruise ships and yachts stopping at New England destinations:
- Carnival Cruise Lines
- Celebrity Cruises
- Crystal Cruises
- Holland America
- MSC Cruises
- Norwegian Cruise Lines
- Royal Caribbean International
- Princess Cruises
- Seven Seas
To learn which ships are harbored out of Boston, read the Boston Cruiseport section below.
Photo: Cruise ship off Newport, Rhode Island (credit: www.billyblack.com)
New England CRUISE OPTIONS: Small Ship & Windjammer Cruising
There are also several companies offering small ship and unique cruising options to explore the New England region. These boats explore smaller ports and harbors that cannot be accessed by the larger ships and provide more intimate settings — ranging from 100 to less than 10 passengers. Some even allow you to steer the course!
American Cruise Lines: this company specializes in a unique style of small ship (maximum of 120 passengers) with trips around Rhode Island and the coast of New England, including the islands. Departures from Rhode Island and Maine.
Blount Small Ship Adventures (formerly American Canadian Caribbean Line): Blount offers trips along the coast of Maine, Maine islands, and Lake Champlain. On board are historians and naturalists, wine-tastings, photography workshops and culinary demonstrations…and always less than 96 guests.
Maine Windjammer Association: A highly unique boating journey, windjammers are historic, iron or steel-hulled, four-masted schooners built to carry cargo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The Maine Windjammer Association represents the largest fleet of traditional sailing schooners in North America – 12 privately owned vessels – which explore Maine harbors and islands. The boats accommodate 20-40 guests, depending on the vessel, with journeys lasting 3-6 days. Some boats specialize in family cruising, including wedding parties, family reunions, and families with young children. Learn more about the Maine Windjammer experience and review a complete list of windjammer and other unique boating vacation options.
Go Inland: Vermont Discovery Cruises: New England’s most western state borders Lake Champlain – the sixth largest fresh water body in the United States. On Vermont Discovery Cruises, you can board the Moonlight Lady, a 65-foot replica of a 1920s-era plum stern inland waterways cruiser. See Vermont’s famous natural beauty as you travel past islands of historical significance, magnificent wildlife and unique geographic formations and into the international waterways of Quebec. Two-four day cruises (1-2 nights).
Travel Dynamics International: one of the leading operators of high-caliber educational programs aboard small cruise ships, Travel Dynamics International offers customized New England voyages guided by distinguished scholars and experts. Itineraries cruise Maine’s breathtaking coast, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, as well as Providence and historic Newport, Rhode Island.
Many cruises arrive/depart or stop at Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, which recently completed an $11 million renovation. The facility has been enlarged 300 percent and includes people-mover ramps and a VIP lounge. The Cruiseport is just a short walk to downtown and an easy 10-minute coach transfer from Boston Logan International Airport. Three ships are currently home-based in Boston, the oldest continuously operated port in the Western Hemisphere:
- Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Spirit sails weekly to Bermuda 22 times each year and also offers two Canada/New England cruises in the fall.
- Holland America’s Maasdam sails every other week to Montreal seven times each year.
- Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas has five cruises sailing from Boston to ports in New England and Canada.
For more information on this website: