The Best Fall Foliage Cruises Across the U.S. (Video)

The brilliant colors of changing leaves represent one of the best parts of fall. It is a fleeting season, enjoyed for only a brief period of time before the brittle cold of winter begins.

And while fall foliage may only be around for a short few weeks, the stunning colors that blanket the rolling hills and mountains of New England and the craggy coastlines of the Pacific Northwest are absolutely spectacular while they last.

You can see the colors on a road trip or from a train, but one of the best ways to experience the fall foliage is by cruise.

From New York’s Adirondack Mountains to New England’s charming countryside and Alaska’s expansive and untouched landscapes, these are some of the best cruises you can take to soak up the beautiful, yet fleeting fall season.

Royal Caribbean's fall foliage northbound cruise; 10 nights

Royal Caribbean cruise
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Cruise ship: Adventure of the Seas

Cost: Starting at $689/person

Capacity: 3,807 guests

Why you should go: This late September sailing leaves from New Jersey and heads north allowing you to take advantage of the seasonal foliage as you make your way toward quaint Bar Harbor, Maine, the quintessential New England town in which to watch the leaves change.

On board, get a sky-high view of the multi-colored leaves by climbing to the top of the rock climbing wall or embrace the cooling weather by heading to the ship’s ice skating rink.

Princess Cruises' Canada and New England sailing; 7 days

Princess cruises
Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Cruise ship: Sky Princess

Cost: Starting at $994/person

Capacity: 3,660 guests

Why you should go: Take the scenic, 10-mile Ocean Drive through Newport, Rhode Island where you’ll be treated to panoramic views and golden leaves all around. Later, stop in Halifax, Canada, where you can check out the coast and, of course, eat lobster.

On board, watch the world go by from the outdoor deck with a hot chocolate in hand on these September and October sailings.

Carnival Cruise Line's Canada and New England journey from New York; 6 days

Hopewell Rocks
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Cruise ship: Mardi Gras

Cost: Starting at $649/person

Capacity: 5,200 guests

Why you should go: This September 2020 sailing on Carnival’s brand new ship will have you enjoying the changing colors as you sail from the Big Apple toward Portland, Maine and Canada’s Saint John. Watch the leaves turn yellow, orange, and red as you meander around these quaint towns.

Cruisers certainly won’t be bored on the ship with its eco-friendly roller coaster and on-board tiki bar.

Holland America's Atlantic Coast cruise; 11 days

Holland America cruise line
Courtesy of Holland America Line

Cruise ship: Zuiderdam

Cost: Starting at $1,099/person

Capacity: 1964 guests

Why you should go: Go from fall foliage’s brilliant colors to the warm and sunny shores of Florida with this cruise that will give you the best of the East Coast over 11 days. Start in Quebec City in October to soak up the city’s intact fortified wall and feast on French specialities like macarons before making your way down the coast and past the warm hues of the changing countryside. Disembark in Fort Lauderdale where the weather tends to be in the mid-to-high-80s in October and end the cruise with some quality beach time.

Cunard's transatlantic New England and Canada cruise; 14 Nights

Cunard cruise
Courtesy of Cunard Line

Cruise ship: Queen Mary 2

Cost: Starting at $2,399/person

Capacity: 2,691 guests

Why you should go: This October cruise will take you from the fall foliage and crisp air of Quebec and Nova Scotia to the storied shores of Southampton, England. Watch the maple trees change color in Halifax, Canada before settling in for a relaxing transatlantic crossing.

On the ship, watch an abridged performance of Shakespeare and indulge in dishes like croquette of suckling pig and Dover sole meunière.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Vancouver to Los Angeles journey; 12 nights

Bar Harbor
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Cruise ship: Seven Seas Mariner

Cost: Starting at $8,899/person

Capacity: 700 guests

Why you should go: Watch the leaves turn golden-yellow as you sail from British Columbia up toward Alaska and then back to the warmer shores of Los Angeles. You can watch the changing scenery from your room’s private balcony and indulge in included excursions like high tea at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, Canada and a wilderness sea kayaking adventure in Sitka, Alaska.

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