The classic New England ‘fall foliage’ cruise starts at either Montreal or Quebec and continues via the St Lawrence Seaway, Nova Scotia and Boston to New York. It is a voyage of great contrasts, unexpected delights and a backdrop of pure natural splendour as the ever-present trees turn from green to vivid orange, russet, red and gold.

And, while the route includes a lot of small-scale towns and low-key opportunities, it begins with two modern cities that have fabulous historic aspects.

MONTREAL

The modern face of this French-accented city in the massive state of Quebec is as fresh and bright as they come, highlighted by the annual Grand Prix around the island street course that brings out massive crowds each year.

But, for cruise visitors, tying up in the Old Port is the gateway to a treasure trove of more old-fashioned charms and attractions, highlighted by the long streets of Rue St Paul and Rue Notre Dame and eight museums sprinkled among the historic quarter, notably the Montreal Science Center, Pointe-a-Calliere (Museum of Archaeology) and Centre d’histoire de Montreal.