Cruise lines and boat tour companies offer a relaxing and scenic way to see the changing leaf colors during New England's fall foliage season. Which will you choose: an ocean, lake, or river cruise? Each provides a unique perspective on New England's scenery at this most photogenic and breathtaking time of year.
Cruise Lines With New England Itineraries
Several major cruise lines offer New England and Canada sailing itineraries to coincide with fall foliage peak times. All of the cruise lines have similar itineraries with differing duration from six to 14 days in length. These cruises hug the Atlantic coastline: Some visit the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, and other cruises travel to or from Quebec ports via the St. Lawrence River.
- Celebrity Cruises: Visit New England ports of call like Bar Harbor and Boston and equally charming Canadian ports like Halifax and Quebec City.
- Holland America: Cruise the historic coast of New England with visits to Boston and Bar Harbor, plus Canadian ports like Quebec City and Montreal.
- Norwegian Cruise Lines: NCL offers seven-, nine-, and 10-day cruises to New England and Canada to view the fall foliage including ashore time in Boston, Portland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and ports in Quebec.
- Princess Cruises: Fabulous fall foliage sights from New England to Canada will be yours from the deck of your Princess ship when you choose a five- to 24-day cruise to ports like Quebec City, Halifax, Bar Harbor, and Newport.
- Royal Caribbean: Royal Caribbean offers a vast variety of Canada and New England cruise itineraries, sailing from New Jersey, Montreal, or Quebec City. Ports of call include Bar Harbor, Portland, New Brunswick, Halifax, and Prince Edward Island.
Fall Boat Tours in New York State
Cruise the Hudson River in New York State in the fall aboard American Cruise Lines' American Star, American Constellation, or Independence. More than a dozen fall departure dates are available, and the itinerary features Hudson River ports of call including West Point, Catskill, Albany, Hyde Park, and New York City during the beautiful fall foliage season.
Fall Boat Tours in Connecticut
You can boat along the Connecticut River or cruise Long Island Sound for some outstanding fall color displays.
- Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse (and Leaf Peeping) Cruises: Set out from New London, Connecticut, this fall aboard the Sea Jet for a narrated tour of eight lighthouses. You'll see bright fall colors beaming along the Connecticut shore. Stay warm and enjoy a snack inside the catamaran, or venture up on deck for phenomenal photo-taking opportunities.
- Essex Steam Train & Riverboat: Ride the rails to the riverboat. Your voyage aboard the Becky Thatcher tour boat may be the most memorable piece of your Connecticut fall outing when you book a trip with this nostalgic transportation company. For bird watching enthusiasts, September is an ideal time of year for a sunset "Swallow Cruise." These birds cloud the sky, swirling in a choreographed aerial ballet until, all at once, they descend to a Connecticut River island for the night.
- Lady Katharine Sunday Brunch Cruises: Cruise the Connecticut River aboard the Mystique this fall and enjoy a Sunday brunch buffet and live entertainment with your leaf peeping. Cruises depart from Haddam, Middletown, or Hartford, Connecticut. Check the schedule for dates and departure times and locations, and call ahead for reservations. Special events, such as Goodspeed Musicals lunch or dinner cruises, are also on the fall schedule.
Fall Boat Tour in Rhode Island
Blackstone Valley Explorer Riverboat Tours offers boat trips along Rhode Island's Blackstone River, the waterway that powered America's Industrial Revolution. Trips are offered Sunday afternoons through late October, and you may spy birds and other wildlife in addition to lovely leaves.
Fall Boat Tours in New Hampshire
Board the M/S Mount Washington for a graceful cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee this fall. Whether you opt for a scenic voyage with departures from New Hampshire's Weirs Beach, Wolfeboro, or Alton Bay, or a Sunday champagne brunch cruise, you'll never forget the experience. Leaf lovers can also book passage for evening foliage dinner cruises or leaf peep by the light of October's full moon.
Fall Boat Tours in Maine
Watch the leaves and the seals go by on a Hardy Boat coastal fall excursion from New Harbor, Maine. Or, travel aboard a historic sailing ship. The eight antique schooners that are members of the Maine Windjammer Association offer two- to six-day fall foliage cruises in September and early October.