French-speaking, thoroughly romantic and exquisitely cultured, Montreal definitely warrants a pre- or post-cruise stay. The Old Port is a hub of entertainment, while the Museum of Fine Arts is revered for its collection of more than 30,000 objects. For a respite from the vibrant city, stroll the Montreal Botanical Garden, a draw since 1931.
2Quebec City, QC
Surrounded by several miles of granite walls dating back hundreds of years, Quebec City’s fabulous Old Town exudes European character, exemplified in the iconic Château Frontenac. Another architectural gem is the fascinating Musée de la Civilisation, a treasure trove of items recreating the French-speaking city’s early days.
Head to La Baie and tour the Musée du Fjord, admire the frescoes covering every nook and corner of barber and painter Arthur Villeneuve’s home, tour a goat farm or travel the Craftsman Road to see artisans in their element creating cheeses, glass-blowing and soap-making. Don’t miss a hike through Saguenay National Park, which cradles the dramatic fjord that has enchanted travelers for centuries.
5Corner Brook, NL
Start by taking in the breathtaking view from the monument honoring Captain James Cook, the first to map the area in 1767. More history awaits you in the Corner Brook Museum and its marine artifacts, forestry exhibits and collections from aboriginal people.
Trace the birth of Canada where it happened in 1864 on the waterfront in what is now Founder's Hall. The past also comes alive along historic Great George Street. Don't miss the Neo-Gothic St. Dunstan's Cathedral, or the Confederation Centre of the Arts to see the original manuscript of the beloved Anne of Green Gables, which was set on Prince Edward Island.
Historic Sydney boasts several landmarks from the late 1700s, such as the colonial Cossit House and the Jost House, which features an unusual beehive bake-oven. St. Patrick's, the city's oldest Catholic church, doubles as a fascinating museum.
Founded by the British in 1749, Halifax still has a British military air about it. Every day at noon, a ceremonial gun is fired at the Halifax Citadel, a star-shaped fortress where the guides wear military uniforms. The exhibits have a more seafaring slant at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and include the nearly 100-year-old Acadia.
9Saint John / Bay of Fundy
Explore Canada's oldest continuing museum, the New Brunswick, where displays include the skeletal remains of a rare North Atlantic right whale. Saint John is also known for the bizarre Reversing Falls, a daily tidal phenomenon so severe it reverses the flow of the Saint John River. Birders will enjoy serene Irving Nature Park.
Located on Moose Island between Cobscook Bay and Passamaquoddy Bay, aptly named Eastport is the easternmost city in the United States. The surrounding coastline and natural attractions are just as picturesque as some of the more well-trodden downeast destinations, and the city itself is known for its friendly locals and a refreshingly eccentric vibe influenced by the vibrant creative community. Explore one of the many museums and galleries or stop by The Commons Eastport – a waterfront artist cooperative that features and sells the work of more than 90 local artists and artisans. Whale-watching adventures are also popular; in addition to these majestic creatures, you’re likely to spot seals, porpoises, bald eagles, osprey and puffins.
11Bar Harbor, ME
Established in the 19th century as New England's premier summer resort city, Bar Harbor was originally called Eden. It's still a seaside paradise, especially for lovers of the outdoors. Hike through Acadia National Park, behold the sweeping vistas from Cadillac Mountain, and watch for migrating humpback whales. The Wabanaki Indian exhibits in the Abbe Museum are also fascinating.
Boston's enormous role during the American Revolution is inescapable, and it's easy to trace by following the Freedom Trail, which links more than a dozen historic sights throughout town from the Paul Revere House to the Old North Church. But don't forgo exploring Boston's appealing modern side. For a 360-degree view of the city, head for the skywalk observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower. For art, browse the Museum of Fine Arts, which includes works from Van Gogh to Egyptian sculpture. If your interests lie in the natural world, wander through the remarkable New England Aquarium or Franklin Zoo.