DEBORAH STONE sails into a sea of colour as she looks at fantastic seasonal cruises
Want to catch North America's colourful autumn cloak without a sea cruise? Then why not try a trip from Montreal that heads south along majestic inland waterways on the 96-passenger Grande Caribe? This Noble Caledonia (0207 752 0000/www.noble-caledonia.co.uk) cruise begins with a day in Montreal with its museums and quaint old streets near the harbour area.
Along the St Lawrence River the countryside becomes a riot of autumn colours and on the Saguenay River you can spot beluga whales and seals.
Quebec City is packed full of French-Canadian culture and there's a lot of beautiful scenery along the St Lawrence Seaway all the way to New York State in America. In the Thousand Islands region don't miss the Disney-like Boldt Castle and on Lake Ontario there's a wealth of birdlife.
Travel to the Hudson River via the Erie Canal with stops to admire Tiffany stained-glass windows and Victorian buildings at Troy before reaching New York for a view of the Statue of Liberty.
to the Grande Caribe has an observation lounge and open seating for meals. Most excursions are included.
A 14-night Autumn Colours On The Hudson cruise, Montreal to New York, from £3,895pp (two sharing), full board. Includes flights from Heathrow and B&B pre-cruise stay in Montreal. Departs September 18, 2012.
A seven-night North Atlantic Islands: Autumn Adventure is being launched by Hurtigruten (0844 448 7654/www.hurtigruten.co.uk) next September when the far north will be swathed in seasonal reds and oranges.
Explorer ship MS Fram leaves Iceland's capital Reykjavik then crosses the Atlantic to former Viking stronghold T³rshavn, the largest town and capital of the Faroe Islands, where there are exceptional walking trails.
Lerwick in the Shetlands is a haven for wildlife and a top place for whale-spotting. Visit Edinburgh while in Leith before finishing off in Bergen, Norway, where the waterfront is lined with brightly painted buildings.
Fram is one of Hurtigruten's newest ships and its Explorer cruises include guides, lectures and Zodiac boat excursions. Cabins range from small to suites with balconies. The sauna and two Jacuzzis will come in handy too after a day exploring.
A seven-night North Atlantic Islands voyage from Reykjavik to Bergen from £872pp (two sharing), cruise only. Departs Reykjavik, September 19, 2012. Flights arranged on request.
You can still catch some late sun in autumn and if that's what you're after try the Canaries.
On the Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines (01473 746175/www.fredolsencruises.com) Canary Islands And Morocco voyage your first stop is the beautiful island of Madeira where you'll find Funchal's famous botanical gardens.
This round trip from Dover on the elegant Braemar, refitted with more balcony suites in 2009, also takes in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Gomera and Lanzarote before heading to Morocco, Portugal and home.
A trip up Tenerife's volcanic Mount Teide to see its eerie moonscape is a must and San Sebasti¡n in La Gomera has been a port of call for ships since Christopher Columbus stocked up in 1492.
There are sea days on this two-week cruise but with two pools, a fitness centre, spa and golf nets plus comedy nights you won't get bored.
A 14-night Canary Islands And Morocco cruise from £1,419pp (two sharing), full board. Departs Dover, October 6, 2012.
New England and eastern Canada are top spots for a blaze of autumn hues. You can see the fantastic fall foliage on a New England and Canadian Wonders cruise on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 (0845 071 0300/ www.cunard.co.uk).
The 14-night trip allows you to enjoy superb facilities, including lavish Queens Grill cabins with butler service and deluxe inside staterooms. Ballroom dancing, string quartets, karaoke and quizzes ensure everyone is kept fully entertained.
Stops include Boston with its colonial old town and Bar Harbor, a fishing village in beautiful Acadia National Park.
In Canada see the powerful tides in the Bay of Fundy at St John, New Brunswick and visit Halifax, Nova Scotia. New York's Central Park is a must-see and the perfect place to spend some time before your flight home.
A 14-night New England and Canadian Wonders cruise from £1,769pp (two sharing), full board. Price includes return flight from New York. Departs Southampton, October 14, 2012.