Who goes there: Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Aida Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, P&O World Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea.
Cruisers like: The capital of Massachusetts, Boston is both rich in history and a green, clean 21st century powerhouse. The city has award-winning restaurants and hotels, museums for every taste and interest, as well as theatre, music, shopping and championship sports teams including the Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox. History fans can join a tour of Fenway Park, the John F Kennedy Library and America’s oldest college, Harvard University. Visit the restored Boston Tea Party ships and museum at Griffin’s Wharf. Stroll along the Freedom Trail, home to 16 Revolutionary War sites. Follow Paul Revere’s path through Cambridge, Concord, and Lexington. Shoppers will love historic Quincy Market in downtown Boston (don’t miss the clam chowder) and Faneuil Hall, bustling since the 1770s. Boston’s Back Bay boasts trendy Newbury Street and Copley Square shopping precincts. Art lovers can take in world-class draws, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art. There are too many breweries to name, and pubs and bars with craft beers. Don’t miss New England’s famous seafood. Dine alfresco on the waterfront overlooking America’s oldest working fish pier; tie on a plastic bib and eat lobster with your fingers.
Best for: History buffs, art and theatre aficionados, seafood lovers, high end shopping lovers, craft beer fans, sports fans.
Getting around: From the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in the South Boston Waterfront neighbourhood, take a shuttle, local bus or taxi into the city centre, and see all the sights on foot, or rent a bike. Newbury Street is a US$15 cab ride away. The terminal is 10 minutes from Boston Logan International Airport.
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
Who goes there: Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O World Cruises, Holland America Line, Silversea, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Ponant.
Cruisers like: This seaside enclave has long been the playground of America’s aristocracy – the Astors still have a grand summer house in the town. With its charming waterfront, grand mansions (that the locals amusingly refer to as cottages) and perfectly-maintained squares, Newport has a distinctly stately air. It’s the kind of place where everyone plays tennis and knows how to sail. But beneath the preppy exterior there is an emerging nightclub scene, some innovative restaurants and a pleasantly laid-back surf culture. Take a stroll along the famous Cliff Walk trail which hugs the shoreline and backs on to many of the most glamorous mansions including the Breakers, the spectacular Gilded Age summer retreat of the Vanderbilts. Soak up the atmosphere at one of the yacht clubs, the perfect spot for a champagne brunch or sundowners. Newport is also one of America’s oldest towns, founded in 1639, so there are plenty of historic sites and museums for history buffs.
Best for: Families, couples, foodies, history buffs.
Getting around: Newport is an anchorage port and tenders drop passengers at Perotti Park, just on the edge of the downtown area. Many sites are within walking distance or passengers can hop on the Newport Trolley to get a good overview of the town and reach places like the Cliff Walk. Day passes cost only a few dollars.
Who goes there: Royal Caribbean, Oceania Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas.
Cruisers like: Lobster, lobster and more lobster. This region used to produce so much lobster that it was ground up and used for fertiliser. It’s now a local delicacy and can be found at any number of restaurants. Even aside from the lobster, Portland is a great place to eat and people plan entire trips to the city around their meals. It’s widely regarded as one of the hippest and most vibrant small cities in America with some great design hotels, stylish boutiques, museums, art galleries and a thriving live music scene. Much of the city was destroyed by a fire in the late 1800s and was rebuilt in Victorian style. These heritage buildings have been carefully restored and now house the cities bars, restaurants and shops. The heart of Portland has always been the waterfront and it still is today – it’s a healthy mix of working wharves and warehouses alongside buzzing refurbished hotspots. There are also six quaintly picturesque lighthouses within a 20-minute drive of the city.
Best for: Foodies, young people, design buffs.
Getting around: Ships dock just a couple of minutes’ walk from Portland’s historic downtown area and most of the city is easily walkable. The METRO public bus system covers the whole city and taxis are readily available.
BAR HARBOR, MAINE
Who goes there: Oceania Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Sebourn, P&O World Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises
Cruisers like: Bar Harbor is the port for the Acadia National Park. It’s one of America’s smaller parks but also one of the most popular, attracting two and a half million people each year. It’s a place of striking landscapes, where the mountains meet the sea, and is beautiful in every season. The park is home to moose, fox, peregrine falcons and herons, while whales and seals can be seen offshore. Explore on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. While the park is the main drawcard, the town itself is also quite lovely. There are only around 5,000 residents and the town has a laid back, seaside vibe with neat streets of brightly coloured shops, parks, gardens and a beautiful shore walk along the harbour.
Best for: Nature lovers, active travellers, photographers.
Getting around: Bar Harbor is an anchorage port and passengers are tendered to the Town Pier, which is within walking distance of downtown. The free Island Explorer bus runs from Bar Harbor Village Green to the a number of stops in the Acadia National Park and an additional bus for cruise passengers visits shops, galleries, museums and points of interest.