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Cruise Report: Autumn in New England and Canada

Photos by Bob Hoelscher

In late September and early October, I escorted a group for Mayflower Tours aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Glory on a thoroughly enjoyable, one-week sailing from New York City to Boston; Portland, Maine; and both Saint John and Halifax in Canada’s Maritime provinces.

Although departures at this time of year are generally referred to as “fall foliage” cruises, because the leaves change last at sea level, visions of bright autumn colors rimming the shoreline tend to be more theoretical than actual. Consequently, except for late-October sailings, the expected foliage tends to be best viewed on shore excursions headed for higher elevations inland.

Regardless, both fine weather and calm seas throughout our cruise combined with a varied and most interesting selection of ports to create a satisfying travel experience. Add Carnival’s normally high level of shipboard accommodations, food, service and entertainment; the line’s (and Mayflower’s) attractive pricing; and a pre-cruise overnight at Times Square and an excellent introductory tour of the “Big Apple,” and the resulting program was very well received by members of my group.

At each port, Carnival offered a wide range of excursions. Locally based alternatives such as “hop-on, hop-off” trolleys were also readily available. However, because I had been to all four cities on numerous occasions in the past, I opted for wandering around on my own, not only for a bit of much-needed exercise, but also to get a real “feel” for the neighborhoods and to take advantage of the sunshine and nice weather to expand my photo library. As each city has much to offer, I ended up spending four or five hours taking in the sights and frequently found myself giving directions and advice to other visitors exploring on foot. Highlights, in addition to Boston’s famed Freedom Trail, included the Old Port District in Portland, the Reversing Falls in Saint John and Halifax’s magnificent Public Gardens, for my money one of the world’s most beautiful small city parks.