East Coast Cruises: What You Need to Know

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East Coast cruises are some of the most diverse itineraries when it comes to American coastal cruises. The eastern seaboard of the United States has over two thousand miles of shoreline to explore and enjoy. You’ll most likely be able to find a cruise itinerary to allow you to do just that.

Which cruise line to take?

Whether you are an avid cruiser on just one line or you tend to jump around from ship to ship, you’ll be able to experience the east coast shoreline without worry. Most of the major cruise lines are represented along the east coast. Carnival, Disney, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Costa – they are all here. If you’re looking for a more quaint experience, you’ll want to check out the itineraries with American Cruise Lines and USA River Cruises.

Most of the cruise lines will have itineraries that include international destinations, like Canada or Caribbean Islands. If you are looking for a trip you can leave your passport at home – be sure to triple check your itinerary before booking. Just because you launch from Boston, MA doesn’t mean you’ll be staying within the United States.

What regions are the most popular?

The East Coast has some of the best ports to cruise to; let’s start at the top and work our way to the bottom:

The New England Coastline is really a show stopper. It’s a great climate most of the year, minus those pesky winter months, and it drips with charm. From the coastline of Maine to the cozy Boston Harbor, travelers will be delighted with all New England has to offer. Delicious seafood, charming little port towns and a gorgeous shoreline that matches no other.  If you are really looking for a treat, take a New England cruise during the fall months. The shoreline dazzles travelers with the brilliance of fall foliage. As the months get colder, the number of cruises available drops significantly.

The Chesapeake Bay area (the mid-Atlantic states) is rich with beauty and history. Ports in these itineraries usually include Annapolis, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia; and Yorktown, Virginia. Travelers will be able to experience the country’s rich history from the birth of the nation. Typically, you’d be looking at itineraries with smaller ships, as most of these ports are “inland” which would be almost like a river cruise along the coast.

The Southern region of the United States offers just as much history as the Chesapeake Bay area with a little bit more Southern charm. If you ever wondered what the “Old South” truly was, cruise this region to immerse yourself in southern traditions.  Along the way, you’ll see southern plantations, Colonial architecture and famous battle sights of the Civil War.

If you just want to get away from it all for a short while, a Cruise to Nowhere from New York City may be the cruise for you. These “itineraries” aren’t exclusive to NYC, but they do offer an interesting twist on Domestic Cruising. You’ll board your cruise ship from a port in the United States and, typically, you’ll dock in that same spot a few days later. There is no hassle of visiting other ports, just a couple of days to put your feet up – so to speak.

When is the best time to cruise?

The beauty of cruising the eastern seaboard is every season makes for a great time to cruise – depending on the region. While early fall can often be rough with hurricanes in the southern half of the coast, the North is picturesque with fall foliage. Yet, while the North is bitter cold between December and March, the South can take the chill away with a warm humidity.

Finding the right time to cruise your favorite itinerary is imperative to having a successful vacation. While you can plan for the best, always keep in mind that two thousand miles aren’t that big of a stretch for Mother Nature. For instance, a hurricane that strikes the Carolina’s can cause rough water in New England. Plan for unforeseen weather patterns and you’ll be less surprised if something should alter your course.

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