updated 9/18/2009 12:16:25 PM ET 2009-09-18T16:16:25

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Select dates through October

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The deal
Sure, you can hit the road and take in New England’s and Canada’s vibrant fall vistas with hordes of other leaf-peepers in tow, but ogling the autumnal scenery is far more serene from the sea, especially with the savings now on offer for select coastal cruises. These seven- to nine-night foliage-focused itineraries, on cruise lines like Carnival, Cunard, and more, include classic ports of call from Boston to Halifax. We’ve rounded up a bushel full of outstanding last-minute sailings this September, as well as peak-foliage voyages throughout October, priced from just $499.


$499+: 7-night Carnival cruise from NYC — embarks Oct. 3
This weeklong cruise aboard the Carnival Triumph is set to coast through New England right when the leaves are due to showcase their most vibrant hues. Embark from New York City on Oct. 3, with a first stop in history-rich Boston, before taking in Portland, Maine, home to numerous lighthouses, maritime museums, forts, and observatories. Next up is St. John, New Brunswick, where passengers can sample some of the coastline’s finest lobster, or head to natural attractions like the Reversing Falls. The itinerary rounds out with a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, perfect for a stroll along its picturesque boardwalk before returning to NYC. Interior cabins are priced from just $499 — an impressive 72 percent off rack rates.

$499+: Last-minute 10-nt cruise from Philly on NCL – sails Sept. 23
If you need a bit longer to fulfill your foliage fix — and have the vacation time to spare — this 10-night sailing from Philadelphia provides just the ticket, with inside cabins priced from $499, and oceanview staterooms available from just $100 more. Sail the Norwegian Majesty up the coast to Canada, with a stop in St. John, New Brunswick, followed directly by one in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where passengers can arrange a boat tour to wildlife-rich Bird Island. The ship continues on to Charlottetown, on Prince Edward Island, the legendary home to the main character in the classic novel "Anne of Green Gables." It’s an ideal area for history lovers, with numerous historical sites and estates. From there, visits to Halifax and Portland are on the roster, before disembarking in Philadelphia. This cruise departs on Sept. 23 — with last-minute rates priced from just $49 per night, spots will fill quickly.

$935+: Luxury 7-night balcony sailing on QM2 over Halloween
For a brief period each fall, Cunard’s luxury ocean liner, Queen Mary 2, takes a break from its traditional transatlantic routes and heads to the Northeast. Set off from Brooklyn on October 29, hull pointed towards Newport, R.I., where the elaborate “summer cottages” of the Vanderbilts, Astors and other American elitists remain. The QM2 then docks in Boston on All Hallows’ Eve, giving passengers a perfect opportunity to visit nearby Salem (of “Witch Trials” fame) before sailing to scenic Bar Harbor, Maine. Next up is Saint John, New Brunswick, a historic town full of Victorian architecture, followed by Halifax — the final port of call before returning to New York. What makes this voyage even more remarkable is that balcony staterooms are currently available for the same starting price as interior cabins — from just $935.

$499+: Weeklong Norwegian cruise from Quebec to Boston – sails Oct. 16
This cruise aboard the Norwegian Spirit offers the most unique itinerary of the lot, while maintaining a delightfully affordable price tag — just $499 for interior cabins. The ship embarks from Quebec City on Oct. 16 and sails past the breathtaking Saguenay Fjord before reaching Sept-Îles, a brand new port-of-call, located just along the St. Lawrence River. Here, passengers can opt to take a train ride along the Moisie River to a native Innu community, or to explore the natural beauty of the area along numerous walking trails. After leaving Sept-Îles, the Spirit visits Charlottetown, home to charming shops and cafes, as well as the scenic Prince Edward Island National Park. The ship then spends a day at sea before making in stops in Halifax and Portland, before finishing up in Boston. Additional sailing dates are available at slightly higher prices.

The dollars
All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Accommodations, meals, some beverages, entertainment and port charges are covered in the cost. Government fees and taxes as well as off-boat expenditures are extra.

The catch
These sailing dates are just around the corner, so you’d better get packing.

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