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Fall foliage cruises gain in popularity

Cruises that sail the colorful autumn coast of New England and maritime Canada are growing in popularity. In fact, ports like Bar Harbor, Maine, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, are expecting a record number of cruise ship visits this fall.But, don’t let the number and variety of fall foliage cruises stop you from booking now, because the cruise industry expects record numbers of leaf-peeping passengers, too. For example, the port of Boston is expecting a record of more than 300,000 passengers to pass through its cruise ship terminal this fall.New England’s fall foliage cruises usually depart from Boston or New York City. More than a dozen cruise lines offer a variety of ship sizes and amenities. Itineraries often include stops in Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Some ships are also able to navigate the St. Lawrence Seaway to call on Montreal and Quebec City.In addition to glorious scenery, fall foliage cruises offer an opportunity to explore some of the places along the way. From Portland, Maine, you can take a motor coach ride along the famously beautiful and rocky shoreline to the charming village of Kennebunkport. You could tour historic lighthouses or visit Freeport to browse a variety of brand-name shops, including the flagship store of L.L. Bean. At St. John, New Brunswick, you might take a walking tour of the historic stone buildings, sail on the Bay of Fundy or steer a kayak along the St. John River on your way to a lobster cookout. Halifax, Nova Scotia, offers a quaint touch of Scotland, as well as its historic Citadel National Historic Park high above the city.If your fall travel plans are already set but you’re thinking about next summer’s vacation, you should know that the New England/Canada cruise season is not limited to the peak leaf color months of September and October. More cruise ships are sailing the region during July and August, making it a viable option for a summer cruise. While the leaves are green through August, the coastal scenery of rocky cliffs, woodlands, seaside villages and vibrant cities is still spectacular.To make your plans for a cruise along the New England and Canadian coast, talk with a travel professional.

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