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New England is characterized by charming coastal towns, historic landmarks, and vibrant autumn foliage. The region's rich cultural heritage, embodied in colonial architecture and quaint villages, attracts visitors seeking a blend of history and natural beauty. Known for calm salty waters and fresh seafood, we can’t think of a bad time to visit. With robust offerings of New England cruise itineraries, you can experience the best this famed coast has to offer from May to October. Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun or watch the shoreline light up with fiery fall leaves, let American Cruise Lines take you there.

Spring: Best Time for New Blooms

Early in the season - from May to before the summer solstice in late June - there is still time to smell the lilacs. During this time, temperatures gradually warm from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit, with occasional hot days reaching the 80s. The beach roses are beginning to bloom along with the flower boxes and cottage gardens on the surrounding islands. Best of all, it is one of the quieter times to visit. Enjoy the freedom to roam the ports of call before the busy season. Relax on the sundeck, watch the sun slowly set from your private balcony, and own the days as summer vacation for New Englanders doesn't begin until mid-June.

As spring erupts in full bloom, make sure to tour our Yankee Seaports itinerary to ensure you visit some authentic New England towns. While traveling from Boston to New York, enjoy a traditional Lobsterbake in Newport, Rhode Island, and explore a recreated 19th-century seafaring village in Mystic, Connecticut.

Spring is also a wonderful time to experience the Cape Codder itinerary, which starts and ends in Boston. This itinerary will take you through the dunes and shores of Provincetown and the historic gingerbread cottages of Martha’s Vineyard. Travel in style aboard the newest fleet of comfortable small ships where every journey becomes an unforgettable voyage.

Summer: Best Time for Warmer Temps

The summer season, July through August, brings the glory days of schooner sails, art festivals, parades, and the best array of seafood we have ever encountered. Days are typically in the 80s and sunny. Relish in those cool, hazy mornings, as the sun welcomes its many summertime visitors. We have come to love the salty breeze on a warm July night and the way the sun makes the coast sparkle.

The best lobster eating days arrive in mid-summer as the lobsters start shedding their old shells. The new shell can be soft enough to break with just your hands while the meat inside is tender and sweet. Also, with Maine’s blueberries at their peak, there are so many sweet treats straight from Mother Nature herself. It’s one of the best parts of the Downeast Maine cruise itinerary. You can explore the 47,633 acres of granite-domed mountains and ocean shoreline of Acadia National Park or experience seal watching in Maine on a delightful Boothbay Harbor Cruise.

On our New England Islands cruise, take an exclusive trip to Block Island. Nine miles South of Rhode Island’s mainland is this popular summer destination; but with a private motor coach tour, led by a native guide, you can see it all without the lines. Take in the magnificent Mohegan Bluffs and learn about the island’s history along the way.

To see it all, venture on the Grand New England cruise. This comprehensive 15-day itinerary begins and ends in the historic city of Boston and takes you all the way from Portland, Maine down to the sandy shores of Nantucket Island. From sailing on 100-year-old fishing schooners to witnessing a live lobster fishing demonstration, the Grand New England cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime way to see this region.

Fall: Best Time for Fall Foliage

We always notice fall is coming first in the wildflowers, typically between September and October. The golden rods send up their cheery yellow plumes, the beach roses have developed their round red eye-catching "hips,” and the beautiful purple New England asters come into bloom.

If ideal temperatures and sunset-colored trees are more your speed, you can visit New England in the fall. The foliage changes subtly at first as Virginia Creeper vines and Sumac trees start turning red. Peak foliage traditionally comes during early-mid October but this is very weather dependent.

Early fall is a quiet time in New England as schools get back into session. The days are shorter, the evenings cooler but the temperatures are perfect mid-seventies, with blue skies, and the whole coast is at your fingertips.

There is more than just the changing leaves to see in the New England fall season. You can see it all with our 15-day New England Fall Foliage cruise.

From Portland, Maine, to New York City, New York it provides the opportunity to see fall come to its peak. A stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, allows you to see just what life was really like between 1600 and 1900 at the living museum, Strawbery Banke Museum. In Bar Harbor, Maine, hop on over to Cadillac Mountain, the ultimate summit along the Eastern Seaboard, treating you to jaw-dropping ocean panoramas.

Just west of New England is New York State which also delivers breathtaking fall foliage. With a Hudson River Fall Foliage cruise, set sail on the newest ships in our fleet. These exceptionally modern ships hold just 100 guests, ensuring a personalized experience to take in the beauty of the Catskill Mountains on the Western shore as well as the Taconic and Berkshire Hills to the East but learn about the history along the river.

The only decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to pack sunscreen or a sweater on your upcoming New England Cruise adventure.