See the sights of North, South and Central America from the deck of a cruise ship or the comfort of your private cabin for a laid-back alternative to ground transfers and connecting flights.
North America's coastline offers copious options for cruising, whether you're drawn to the glamour of the West Coast, the colonial history of the East Coast or the tropical temperatures of the Mexican Riviera.
South America is home to some of the world's liveliest cities, fascinating ancient temples and one third of the world's animal species, which are waiting to be discovered on a cruise of the mighty Amazon River.
The Americas are a melting pot of cultures. They encompass the full spectrum of climates, from the ice fields of Alaska to the rainforests of Peru and the desert plains of the American Southwest. Several cruise routes travel between both continents to offer a broad overview of this diverse region.
- Currency - the 3 major currencies of North America are the United States Dollar, Canadian Dollar and Mexican Peso, and most countries in South America maintain their own currencies too. The US Dollar can be exchanged throughout the Americas, and international credit cards are a convenient option for travellers.
- Population - the total population of the Americas is around 859 million, with 501 million people living in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and 357 million in South America. The most populous cities are São Paulo, Mexico City and New York City.
- Language - Spanish is the most widely spoken language in the region, primarily in South America and Mexico. English is the official language of the United States and most of Canada, and is the most common second language among non-native speakers. Portuguese is spoken in Brazil, and French is the official language of Canada's Quebec province.
Who goes there?
Many cruise lines operate routes on both coasts of North America, including Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line, between California and Mexico, Princess Cruises itineraries of Alaska, and American Cruise Lines routes from Canada to New England.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises specialise in luxury cruises of South America, while Royal Caribbean and Costa Cruises offer shorter trips suited to families with children. Princess also operates cruises on the Amazon, and Celebrity Cruises and Lindblad Expeditions have added routes from Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands.
Best time to go?
Warmer destinations in South America and Mexico are suitable for cruising all year round, but other regions have specific cruise seasons.
The Pacific Coast is best travelled in the spring months of April and May, while the East Coast is most popular for cruises during autumn in September and October. Alaskan cruises typically operate during the warmer months of June and August, while most cruises of South America run during the dry season between November and March.
- Canada and New England - trace the history of the first European settlements in America's rural northeast, combining the colonial charms of Newport and Halifax with the natural splendour of Acadia National Park. Canada and New England cruises are especially popular in autumn, when the landscape is transformed to rich red and gold.
- Pacific Coast - from San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge, LA’s Hollywood sign and Seattle’s Space Needle to lesser-visited locales including Astoria and Victoria, Pacific Coast cruises run all the way to Vancouver in the north and Mexico in the south.
- Panama Canal - join this man-made waterway from either coast to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific in style. The Panama Canal is often included in longer itineraries from north to south, or you can take a dedicated cruise to explore the region in greater detail, including excursions into the rainforests and historical cities.
- Amazon River - there are several ways to cruise the Amazon and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the world's largest rainforest. Adventure seekers can head to the Upper Amazon for wildlife encounters, white water rapids and visits to local tribes, while travellers on a longer South American voyage can make the round trip from Manaus.