Cruise to North America

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North America Cruises: Your guide to ocean cruising

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Frequently asked questions

The United States of America, Canada and Mexico can all be included in a North American cruise. Most cruise itineraries don’t worry about national borders, so you’ll find yourself crossing back and forth between them along the way. Popular cruise itineraries along the west coast of North America will visit Alaska, Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles or San Francisco. On the east coast, major ports include Miami, New York, Boston and Halifax.  

There’s also plenty of smaller coastal gems with picture book charm, meaningful culture and stark natural beauty. On the USA's east coast, discover Rhode Island's rich maritime history, Charlottetown's charming Victorian architecture, or Maine's rugged coastline. Go west to see the pretty town of Ouray, Oregon, known as the ‘Little Switzerland of America’. Port Townsend, Washington, is also a delightful stop on any west coast cruise, memorable for its Victorian architecture and dynamic arts scene. 

Cruises visiting Mexico usually dock at the bustling port cities of Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. These cruises may also extend further into the neighbouring Caribbean islands or Central America.


You can cruise in North America all year round, heading for the warmer waters of the Florida Gulf Coast and Mexico in winter or the northern ports of Canada and Alaska during the summer months.  

If you’re cruising the Pacific Coast, late spring (May to June) and early autumn (September to October) have mild weather and are visually stunning. Journeying overland or cruising inland waterways around the Rockies? The summer season is a top pick for families. You’ll be more likely to spot local wildlife like moose, elk and deer amongst lush landscapes, and you can hike, cycle or paddle. A route winding down to Mexico can be fabulous all-year-round with sunny skies and warm weather. Many opt to sail between November and May to skip the peak hurricane season. Over on the Atlantic coast, summer to early autumn (June to October) bring lovely warm weather and calmer seas.


Absolutely! Many cruises offer kids' clubs, family activities, and excursions suitable for all ages. A couple of top choices are Disney Cruise Line with a range of Disney-themed entertainment and activities, and Royal Caribbean International, well known for their exciting onboard attractions for the young and young at heart including rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, and water parks.


Each cruise line has a different approach to their North American menu, but expect a delicious variety of local and international dishes using fresh, regionally sourced ingredients. North American specialties you might see on your ship’s menu include lobster, blue crab, eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, herbed roasted prime rib with horseradish cream or seafood chowder. Cruising in Mexico, you’ll be able to savour fun Mexican fare onboard from quesadillas to tacos. Mexican cuisine is hugely popular in the USA, so many ships sailing in the region will have dedicated Mexican restaurants and tequila bars on board.


In the USA you need the US Dollar, in Canada you need the Canadian Dollar, and Mexico requires the Mexican Peso. In most cruise ports you will be able to use Australian and international credit cards.


Cruises in this vast region vary greatly depending on the itinerary, countries and ports visited and the cruise line. You can set sail for just a couple of days or an epic journey of three or four weeks. 

A classic west coast cruise with an inland venture to the Rockies might take around 14-21 days. This includes the Canadian coastline and Alaska’s Inland Passage. For a loop cruise beginning and ending in New York, set aside seven to nine nights to explore the serene lakes and rugged coastlines of Maine, the rich sailing history of Rhode Island, and the busy port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  

If Mexico is on your mind, a 10-day cruise setting sail from Los Angeles will steer you to the water sports and nightlife of Puerto Vallarta, the heavenly beaches and intricate architecture of historic capital Mazatlán, and renowned diving spot, Cabo San Lucas.


Yes, entertainment programs will be heavily influenced by American culture with local stand-up comedy, lively music performances, Broadway-style shows and high-energy musical revues. Many cruises also offer engaging cultural lectures and workshops that delve into the Indigenous and First Nations communities of these countries.


You should always check with your travel expert and check with your relevant government authority for entry requirements to each country you are visiting. To travel to the USA, citizens of 38 different countries need to apply for a Visa Waiver through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Canada has a similar Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). There are some exceptions: if you're in transit with a cruise ship, a visa may not be required, so check with your travel agent. Mexico also has visa waiver agreements with some countries, so you will need to check before you travel.


Yes, cruise lines in North America offer a wide range of themed and special event cruises. Choose a nature-themed cruise with a focus on wildlife or fall foliage. Music lovers might like a cruise centred around jazz and foodies can opt for a wine lovers’ theme. Or for a burst of colour and culture, try a cruise with a special guest expert in fashion, food or adventure on board. 


Some of the most luxurious cruise ships on the seas sail around North America, so you can expect a five-star experience at every step. Luxury cruise ships tend to be smaller, for a more intimate experience, and offer spacious suites, fine dining, vintage wines and first-class service. You might even have your own butler! Top luxury lines include Silversea, Seabourn, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas, Scenic, Crystal Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises.


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