Personally I think this cruise north is highly underrated.Fall colors depend on the sprng and summer rain, etc. etc. and the whims of Mother Nature. You can not tell of the excitement of finding the color city of Halifax, laid back St. John, bustling Portland, historical Boston, quaint bar Harbor, Montreal and Quebec. We've done this cruise twice.. once when Bermuda had a storm and we were directed to Bermuda North. BTW NCL does have first dibs on berths as a regular cruise line using these ports. Leaving from NYC you may stop in Newport, R.I. and/or Martha' Vineyard or Nantucket.. The further north you go i.e. Quebec or Montreal the color will be there first..but weather wise I think I'd choose the end of September or first week in October..you will love the great seafood and lobsters hacks, the friendliness of people and uncrowded ports.