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Best Times to Take New England Cruise

New England cruise temperatures
New England cruise temperatures. © 2019 Scott Bateman
The best time to cruise to New England and Canada depends on whether visitors want more warmth or more color.

Summer visitors will find warmer weather and less color, while fall visitors will find cooler weather and more color.

September is the peak month for the number of cruises because it is the month with the most color. But it also is somewhat cooler than July and August.

Cruisers who take shorter trips just to New England may need light jackets and long pants for the Maine destinations while shorts are possible for southern ports such as Boston.

Anyone who visits the Canadian ports will need light jacks and long pants for most days, even during the summer. Although hot days are possible, the average temperatures often go no higher than the low to mid 70s Fahrenheit.

The average rainfall is consistent every month for the entire season from May through October at the U.S. ports. It gradually climbs each month at the Canadian ports until reaching a high point in October.

With an average of four or more inches each month, visitors should bring an umbrella just in case of rain, especially if the itinerary includes Canada. It rains about 10 days a month on average for many of the ports, give or take a few.

The following statistics for each port come from the U.S. and Canaian national weather services. The ports are listed from southernmost in the United States all the way north and west to Québec City in Canada.

New England Cruise Port Weather



Newport, Rhode Island


Newport, the southernmost destination for many cruises out of New York, New Jersey and Baltimore, has average high temperatures that reach into the upper 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit during late summer. They average in the low 70s in September.

Daytime temperatures drop into the low 60s Fahrenheit in October.

Boston, Massachusetts


Although some New England and Canada cruises begin in Boston, many start farther south and visit this historic U.S. city.

It is one of the warmest ports on the trip with average daytime temperatures reaching into the low 80s Fahrenheit during the summer. By the fall, long pants and light jackets are more common.

Portland, Maine


Temperatures become slightly cool in September and especially October. The average high temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit in September. That daytime average drops quite a bit to 59 degrees Fahrenheit in October.

October visitors who prefer a little more warmth may want to visit in early October rather than later in the month.

Unlike other U.S. ports, rainfall picks up a bit between September and October. In September, the average rainfall for the month is about 3.6 inches. In October, the average is about five inches. Like other ports, it rains about 10 days a month, so visitors have a one in three chance getting wet.

Bar Harbor, Maine


The area around Bar Harbor near the capital city of Bangor rains on average about 10 to 12 days each month.

Average daytime temperatures reach their highest point in July at nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But leaves aren’t turning at that point, so cruise planners need to choose between the most warmth versus the most beautiful foliage.

The average high temperature in September during the peak cruise season is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Canadian Cruise Port Weather



Saint John, New Brunswick


Saint John is slightly cooler and slightly wetter than other eastern Canada cruise ports.

The average daytime temperature in the peak cruising season of September is in the low 60s Fahrenheit or less than 18 Celsius.

In August, the average daytime temperature is in the low 70s Fahrenheit or low 20s Celsius. In October, it is in the low 50s Fahrenheit or low teens Celsius.

The average rainfall is less than four inches in August, more than four in September and more than five in October.

Halifax, Nova Scotia


Cruise weather in Halifax has an average high temperature in September during the peak cruise month of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or about 19 Celsius.

August is nearly 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer while October is nearly 10 degrees cooler.

Rain averages about three and a half inches in August, four inches in September and more than five inches in October.

Sydney, New Breton Island


Sydney is somewhat cooler and wetter than other Canadian cruise ports during peak cruise season.

The average daytime temperature during the most active month in September is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius. Nighttime temperatures dip into the mid 40s Fahrenheit or single digits Celsius.

Rainfall averages just under four inches in August, four and a half in September and nearly six inches in October.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island


Weather gets cooler yet again as ships travel north. The average high temperature for Charlottetown in September is 64 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 Celsius.

The average high takes quite a dip in October to 53 Fahrenheit or 12 Celsius. Cruise visitors who like warmer weather may want to visit in August instead when temperatures are near the high point of the year.

August has another advantage with one of the low points of the year for rain at a little more than three inches. September is slightly more, and October increases again.

Port of Gaspé, Québec


Weather at the Port of Gaspé is similar to other Canadian cruise ports along the coast. It’s jacket and long pants kind of weather during the fall months and sometimes even during the summer.

The average high temperature during the peak cruise month of September is 64 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 Celsius, according to historical records from the Gaspé airport.

Daytime temperatures hover in the low 70s Fahrenheit or low 20s Celsius during the summer months. They take a big drop into the low 50s Fahrenheit or about 11 Celsius by October.

Rain is moderate most months with an average of three to four inches and climbs to more than four inches in October.

Saguenay, Québec


Like other cruise ports in Canada, Saguenay has an average daytime temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit and high teens Celsius during the peak cruise month of September.

The average high in October drops to 49 Fahrenheit.

Average rainfall hovers around four inches in August and September. Unlike other Canadian ports on the Atlantic coast, it dips to three inches in October.

Québec City


Québec City weather is somewhat cooler than other cruise ports in Canada. Average daytime temperatures hover in the low to mid 60s Fahrenheit during the peak cruise month of September. They reach into the mid 70s in August and drop into the low 50s in October.

Like Saguenay and unlike the coastal ports, the city has a steady amount of rainfall each month during the entire cruise season. The average is about four inches per month, which is still enough to require a light jacket and umbrella in case of rain.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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April 02, 2019

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