A North American cruise is full of intrigue and excitement, regardless of where you go. The cultural and physical diversity of North America makes it one of the most captivating continents to visit in the world. Whether it is the rugged and barren coastlines of Canada overlooked by picturesque snow-capped mountains, the classic, old world ports of New England, or the sandy beaches of San Francisco, the USA has something for everyone. At a size of almost 10 million square metres, there is plenty for you to explore in North America.
East Coast cruises have a clear appeal, with their old-fashioned colonial charm, stunning landscapes and fascinating culture. Once populated by European settlers, and with a large Irish population, the east coast is a true blend of cultures, with some unmistakable similarities to Britain, and some aspects that are completely, fascinatingly alien. Boston, Montreal and Philadelphia are all must see destinations on a cruise of this region.
Boston is renowned for its beautiful waterfront area, and it’s a great place to take children so if you’re looking to take a family cruise, this region is ideal.
Philadelphia is home to the Liberty Bell, a symbol of the United States’ independence from Europe, which is one of the most interesting and important historic sites on the continent.
Montreal, over the border in Canada, is a great place for experiencing a true culture clash, and immersing yourself in diversity. As the second-largest French speaking city in the world (beaten only by Paris), you’ll be mesmerised by the mix of French and American influences.
Autumn, or ‘fall’ as they call it across the pond, is a particularly good time to visit the east coast. As the leaves turn from green to orange, travellers from across the world flock to the east coast’s rural areas to view the spectacular natural beauty provided by the rich foliage. The East coast is known for its pleasant summers and below freezing winters, but travellers looking for a slightly warmer holiday destination can experience the sun’s rays in all their glory on the west coast of this magnificent continent.
Stopping off at many of California's most iconic cities, passengers can then make their way across the Pacific to the volcanic islands of Hawaii, where sunbathing, swimming, and colourful cocktails are all the rage.
San Francisco is home to the cosmopolitan Union Square, complete with upmarket restaurants and sophisticated wine bars, the fascinating Alcatraz Island (if your ship docks overnight, take a night tour for an extra creepy experience), and a huge Chinatown, great for picking up snacks.
San Diego has a magnificent skyline that really comes to life as the sun goes down, and is within easy reach of Tinseltown, with the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the world famous sign nestled in the prestigious Hollywood Hills, and a chance to visit real movie studios and sets.
Further up the coastline, crossing into Canada, Vancouver is arguable one of the country’s most beautiful cities. For amazing views, take a stroll through Stanley Park, which follows the coastline around the Vancouver Harbour.
Separated from the USA mainland, but still an integral part of USA cruising, are Alaska and the Hawaiian islands. Alaska is a truly unique experience, as ships navigate both large open seas and small, winding fjords, stopping in major metropolitan cities as well as tiny towns inaccessible by land.
If you take an Alaska cruise, you absolutely can’t miss out on sampling some fresh Yukon River salmon, or heading up to the Denali State Park for a spot of gold panning. Alternatively, Hawaii is a place of true relaxation and luxury. With swaying palm trees, clear blue seas, and luaus every night, it can be easy to forget you’re still in North America. If your ship docks overnight, or if you’re spending some time in Hawaii, be sure to look up to the sky to see the stars. With lighting restrictions in place across the Hawaiian Islands, they make for some of the best places in the world for viewing the constellations.
The USA and Canada are often thought of as being very ahead of the times, and indeed the big cities are, but there is much more to North America. It’s a place steeped in a unique history, a place with a true blend of cultures and beliefs, and a place that is so diverse that there’s practically no activity you can’t do, or no sight you can’t see.