It could be the warm waters of Pacific North America, home of such fantastic ports as San Francisco and Los Angeles - and of course gateway to the classic cruise destination of Hawaii. You could experience the iconic east coast ports of New York, Boston and Quebec. Or even the amazing natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere of the USA's South Coast. Whichever one of these it is North America really does have something for everyone...
The sea conditions and extended winters of the north eastern corner of the United States and Canada dictate that the cruising season in the area is rather short, with most options operating between June and September.
Every port of call is steeped in history and much of the architecture relates back to the 19th century. New York is often a preferred turnaround port and most passengers choose to spend a view days discovering the Big Apple before their cruising adventure further north. The splendid seascapes along the coasts and rivers are a highlight of this part of the world as are the long and light evenings during the short summer period.
Canada has traditionally been a favourite destination amongst British travellers but the irregular coastline and thousands of islands of the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec have been difficult to explore on land based holidays. Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec are diverse and historic destinations and most cities and attractions are easily reached from the sea. Cruises that voyage through the St Lawrence to Montreal are particularly exciting and many ships dock overnight. The extra time in Montreal allows passengers to experience the restaurants and culture of the world's second largest French speaking city. Quebec City is a monument in itself. The only walled city in North America, it is a photographer's paradise and is easily manageable in a day's excursion, either organised or conducted independently.
New York is a common departure port for those who travel to North America to join the ship. Itineraries travelling north from here towards Canada will experience fantastic coastline views and a number of intriguing destinations. Boston, one of the most English of America cities, offers excellent shopping, interwoven with sights such as the 'Freedom Trail, outlining the history of a city that has a vital place in the origins of the United States. Other sites on the journey north includes Newport, Rhode Island, childhood home of Jacqueline Onassis and the site of her marriage to John F. Kennedy, and Portland and Bar Harbour, both of which offer a view of the more untamed state of Maine, including wild scenery and, of course, some of the best lobster in the world.
The summer weather is very similar to that of Northern Europe, so cruises that visit the area in late September to October offer the chance to see the vibrant autumn colours for which this part of North America is particularly famous.
Customers who prefer to sail from the UK may do so whilst some operators invite passengers to embark the vessel at a North American port. Some may wish to book a Cruise and Stay option with a chance to visit Toronto and Niagara Falls. Others may wish to cross the Atlantic by sea and return by air or vice versa. The possibilities are endless.
The west coast of the United States and Hawaii enjoy sunshine for most of the year and is naturally popular amongst North Americans, Canadians and Australians. However, the lack of direct flights from Europe to Honolulu has caused this cruise region to be low on the list of preferred destinations for British travellers.
British people who do make the effort to invest in a cruise to the region are rarely disappointed, especially if there is an opportunity to stay a few days at a hotel pre and post cruise. Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas are favourites as all three have direct flights from the United Kingdom as well as connections on to Honolulu. Many operators sail from one of these US west coast ports with a couple of days at sea in each direction between the mainland and Hawaii.
The port of Kona requires transfer by tender and overnight stays are possible in Maui and Kauai. Whilst Honolulu is a modern and
The temperature in Hawaii is warm throughout the year but there can be heavy, but fairly short, showers between November and February. In California, most rainfall is between January and March with mild and warm weather throughout the year. Golfing enthusiasts will be impressed by the quality of the golf courses on the islands and others will want to be driven along the 11 mile crater rim of the 5,000 ft high Kilauea Volcano near Hilo, while those looking for fantastic beaches will find both the bustling and vibrant beachfront of Waikiki close to the centre of Honolulu and of course some more secluded locations further out.