- Currency - the United States Dollar is the official currency of the USA and the Canadian Dollar is used in Canada. Local money can be obtained at ATMs or by exchanging foreign currency, and international card payments are accepted by many establishments.
- Population - the United States is home to approximately 529 million people, comprising an indigenous minority and the descendants of settlers from all over the world. Canada is more sparsely populated with 35 million people.
- Language - English is the official and most widely spoken language of the United States and most of Canada, with the exception of the French-speaking province of Quebec. Spanish is the most widely spoken foreign language in North America.
- Time Zone - the North American continent crosses a number of time zones, from UTC-9 in Alaska to UTC-3:30 in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Weather - North America's climate is greatly influenced by its varied topography and latitude. The most densely populated areas enjoy comfortable temperatures and four seasons, however northerly regions of Canada and Alaska are subject to freezing temperatures for much of the year, while Florida in the southeast is tropical, and the southwest features arid deserts.
Did you know..?
Sometimes mistakenly believed to include the United States alone, there are 23 independent countries in the continent of North America, as well as several dependant territories. The largest of these territories is Greenland, the world's largest island.
Who goes there?
Many cruise lines are based in North America, including American Cruise Lines, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line. These companies offer a range of itineraries covering all popular coastal routes as well as river cruises of the Mississippi, Columbia and other major waterways. Several international cruise lines offer transatlantic and world cruises visiting North America from as far afield as Australia.
Best time to go?
- Alaska - depart cosmopolitan Vancouver on an expedition to America's largest and coldest state. Alaskan cruises cover the best of the picturesque frozen landscape in the region's numerous national parks, and special tours operate in the winter months to view the shimmering Northern Lights.
- Pacific Coast - whether you've always dreamed of walking down Hollywood Boulevard and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or you're more interested in exploring vineyards and redwood forests, cruises of the West Coast offer a wide variety of itineraries between British Columbia and San Francisco.
- New York - journey across the Atlantic to be welcomed by Lady Liberty or make New York the centrepiece of your East Coast cruise with an extended stopover in the world's most famous metropolis. New York City offers an endless array of entertainment, from Broadway and Greenwich Village to Central Park.
- Mississippi River- passing through 10 states from Minnesota to Louisiana, a cruise along the Mississippi offers an insight into the 'real' America, with plenty of opportunities to sample local cuisine and cultural attractions along the way. Travelling on the river is an experience in itself, with cruise lines such as the American Queen Steamboat Company operating traditional paddle steamers to capture the spirit of bygone days.