Cruising the Coast of Eastern Canada

| August 1, 2008

For an affordable and easy getaway cruise, these Canadian ports are historically charming and rife with natural beauty.

In this age of rising gas prices, it is pretty hard to beat the value of a cruise vacation that starts close to home. If you are one of the tens of millions of people who live in the Northeast United States, a cruise to the Atlantic Coast of Canada is not only a great way to beat the summer heat, it's a bargain, too.

This year there are 18 cruise lines calling at the four main ports of the East Coast of Canada. What's the attraction? The rugged and rocky coast line, the small town colonial settings and traditions, cool ocean breezes and the beauty of nature; such as the chance to see a whale breaching, an actual iceberg and some of the world's greatest tides variations in the Bay of Fundy.

Made famous in books such as "The Perfect Storm" and "Moby Dick," this area is close to the Grand Banks, a large region of shallow water in the Atlantic Ocean teeming with swordfish and whales. It is fed by a southerly current originating in the arctic waters of western Greenland that carries icebergs directly from the Arctic fields south into the shipping lanes; the very scenario that sank the Titanic in 1912, before the advent of radar. There actually is a chance you will see an iceberg on one of these cruises.

The typical cruise to this area begins in New York City or Boston, and can be as short as four days or as long as 14. This year an expected 600,000 tourists will visit these Canadian villages by cruise ship, an increase of more than 44% over just last year. The peak of the season is from August through October to highlight the beautiful fall foliage of the area, although some cruise lines begin their cruise season in the area as early as May.

Sights to See on Larger Ships Depending on the size of ship you choose to see this area, and the length of your cruise, you can either get just a taste of lovely scenery or dig deep into both the historic and natural wonders. The short four to seven-day cruises on Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean will sail past dramatic cliffs topped with turn of the century lighthouses. You will visit St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a total of 22 different cruises from New York, Boston and Philadelphia from August 31 through October 25. These six-day, seven-day and ten-day itineraries call at ports in Canada and New England. A seven-day cruise on the Norwegian Dream departing Boston visits Saint John, the Bay of Fundy, Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia for only $549. A seven-day itinerary on the Norwegian Majesty sails from Philadelphia visiting Saint John and Halifax for $529. A 10-day itinerary departing New York (9/28, 10/08 and 10/18) also stops at Charlottetown with rates starting at $749.

Carnival began sailing from New York to Canada in the 1990s, but added New Brunswick in 2001 and this year is offering five departures on Carnival Victory. A five-day roundtrip itinerary departing New York on the Carnival Victory on August 9,18 and 23 and Sept 1 with calls at Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia, and starts as low as $509 per person. Other four-day sailings from New York range from $499, departing August 14 and 28. Next year Carnival will have 24 cruises from New York to Canada. Seven-night cruises depart Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27 From New York to visit Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia

Royal Caribbean offers five-night to nine-night itineraries from Boston, Baltimore, Bayonne NJ and Norfolk Virginia; sailing from August through October. A seven-night cruise on the Jewel of the Seas departs Boston and calls at Saint John and Halifax (plus ports in Maine) with fares as low as $749. (Sailing dates are: 9/27, 10/04, and 10/11.)

Holland America Line is sailing 10-day itineraries out of New York, and seven-day trips out of Boston. Rates for the ten-day journey on the MS Eurodam departing New York September 1 and calling at Saint John, Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown begin at $1628.

Celebrity Cruises sails 12- and 13-night cruises from Bayonne in September and October calling at four ports in Canada. The 12-night departure on the Celebrity Constellation on September 3 begins at $1199.

For those who want to sail in real luxury, Crystal Cruises has an 11-day itinerary on the Crystal Symphony from Boston to Montreal departing on October 1, calling at Saint John and Halifax with fares beginning at $2575.

Continue Article >> Even More To See on Smaller Vessels (Part 2)

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