Sometimes you want a cruise to take you somewhere completely different – to another world with a totally alien culture. Other times, it’s better if the culture shock is less dramatic.
For that less dramatic cultural experience, you might want to consider New England. It’s sufficiently different to remind you that you’ve stepped outside your home environment, but familiar enough to make you feel you’ve still got half a foot in your comfort zone.
New England is basically a region of the US that encompasses six north-eastern states. That’s Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
With the exception of Vermont, all these states have an Atlantic coastline.
British people who visit this part of America often comment on the fact that New England offers a way of life not so far removed from their own. Perhaps the clue is in the name.
Yes, like all Americans, New Englanders drive on the wrong side of the road and spell some words a bit funny, but in other respects the differences are not so pronounced.
It’s certainly true to say that most of us Brits would feel less foreign in New England than we would in, say, California or Texas.
What’s on offer
Virgin currently offers around 18 New England cruises from Cunard, Disney and Royal Caribbean. These range in starting price per person from £1,149 to £2,279.
Among the variety of packages are some where your cruise begins on the East Coast of the US and some where you sail all the way from Southampton. In addition, quite a few come with the added benefits of Virgin’s Rockstar service.
Here are two cruises that particularly caught my attention.
Fly cruise to New England
For a starting price of £1,326 per person you can experience a seven-night New England cruise on Brilliance of the Seas.
You’ll leave Boston, Massachusetts on 20 October 2013 and spend one day at sea, before reaching Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia, of course, is just a fancy way of saying New Scotland.
From there you sail to Saint John, New Brunswick before heading south to Bar Harbor and then Portland, both of which are in Maine. You arrive back in Boston on 27 October.
Sail direct from Old England
If you prefer to arrive in New England in a more leisurely fashion, then this 12-night Queen Mary 2 cruise could be the answer.
It leaves Southampton on 24 June 2013, providing you with a six-day Atlantic crossing – plenty of time to familiarise yourself with the awesome floating city that is Cunard’s QM2.
On arrival in the States, you’ll first step ashore in New York. From there it’s up north to Nova Scotia before turning round and heading down to Boston and then New York.
Prices per person start from £1,959.
New England is a great place to visit all year round, though many swear that autumn is the best time to go. That’s because you’ll catch the magnificent natural colour changes that occur in the region’s trees and woods.
If you want to experience it for yourself, you should aim to be there some time between mid-September and mid-October.
This Jewel of the Seas cruise, setting off on 7 October 2012, for instance, should be nicely timed to catch the autumnal display. Or if you’d like to go a little earlier, there’s this 7-night cruise on the same ship, which sails from Boston, Massachusetts on 16 September 2012.
Whatever you decide, happy sailing.
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