See Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island by small-ship cruise

See Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island by small-ship cruise


Martha’s Winery, Nantucket and Block Island are basic New England islands.

Framed by white sand beach locations, these photogenic areas are dotted with Victorian architecture and Federal-model brick mansions designed by sea captains and industrialists who profited from the after-thriving whaling trade.

Lighthouses, extraordinary bluffs and windswept dunes entire the alluring photograph that retains travellers coming each and every spring, summer and tumble.

A Victorian cast-iron hitching submit on a peaceful street in Nantucket.


As there are no bridges to these islands, most visitors use the ferry services that runs in the course of the day, having a single to two hours each way. Some also fly. And a handful get there by modest cruise ships.

Little-ship cruises are a convenient way to sample New England’s enchanting islands. It eliminates the inconvenience of building spherical-vacation ferry or flight reservations, which are usually tough to get in significant year.

Serving as both of those transport and lodge, compact-ship cruises — under 200 passengers or so — are nimble sufficient to slip into picturesque yacht harbors and slender channels, and dock or moor proper in the heart of town.

Islands and ports to see

  • Nantucket is ringed by beach locations, and its compact cobblestone streets and early 19th-century architecture assisted make the total island a Nationwide Historic Landmark District.
  • Martha’s Winery is beloved for its frilly, gingerbread-type Victorian cottages in Oak Bluffs as well as the remarkable headlands of Aquinnah.

Gingerbread trim on a household in Martha’s Vineyard.

Ted Scull

  • Block Island is acknowledged for its grand sea-experiencing Victorian-era lodges, these kinds of as The Atlantic Inn.
  • New Bedford was when the whaling capital of the environment and the inspiration driving Herman Melville’s traditional American novel, Moby Dick, released in 1841.
  • Newport is famed for its extravagant Gilded Age mansions, some of which are open for touring.
  • Bristol was the dwelling of the Herreshoff shipyard that produced eight America’s Cup yachts right now there is certainly a marine museum that explores the historical past of boat constructing in the spot.

Viewing New England by smaller ship

There are two cruise lines that expend a excellent portion of each and every yr cruising New England and its offshore islands — American Cruise Lines and Blount Compact Ship Adventures.

American Cruise Lines is a US-owned, operated and crewed business with a fleet of 13 small, modern-day ships, together with the 100-passenger American Star and 175-passenger American Structure.

The firm’s seven-night time New England islands cruises start out (and end) in Providence, Rhode Island. The itinerary includes stops at New Bedford, Nantucket, Martha’s Winery and Block Island in Massachusetts and Newport and Bristol in Rhode Island.

American Cruise Strains provide regional cuisine, such as whole steamed lobsters and Cape Cod lobster pot pie.

Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Cabins are spacious at 200 to 450 sq. toes, and most have balconies. Six roomy cabins are made for solitary occupancy, a rarity in the cruise planet. There is an onboard historian/naturalist and perks like a putting green and health and fitness center tools on the solar deck. Fares begin at $4,140 for every individual and incorporate most guided excursions and cocktail hour in the evening, plus beer and wine at lunch and evening meal.

“There is nothing at all like island hopping in New England,” reported Charles B. Robertson, the company’s vice president. “Only a lesser ship can certainly deliver the experience of coming into Nantucket Harbor, Wonderful Salt Pond or Winery Haven.”

In the meantime, Blount Smaller Ship Adventures has a pair of US-flagged, 84-passenger ships — the Grande Caribe and Grande Mariner — which are homey nevertheless utilitarian. Cabins are compact, a stage mirrored in the cruises’ reduce price. The general vibe is informal, and the ships employ a BYOB policy. No cost household beer and wine are offered at lunch and supper.

The Grand Caribe navigates by way of Cape Cod Seem and Boston Harbor.

Courtesy of Blount Modest Ship Adventures

Lots of are attracted to Blount for its legacy. Established in 1966 by entrepreneur and inventor Luther Blount — and nevertheless family members-owned and operated these days — the organization thrives on its heritage as an progressive boat builder and pioneer of coastal and inland cruises. The boats navigate waterways and visit areas quite a few other boats simply cannot.

The line’s six-night “Islands of New England” itinerary cruises in between New York and Boston and starts off at $2,259 for each person, stopping at Block Island, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Plymouth.

Seeing New England by substantial ship

Ships that aren’t registered in the United States and instead fly a overseas flag are subject matter to cabotage legal guidelines that call for them to phone, or cease, at a international port when sailing involving two U.S. ports. For New England cruises, this typically usually means a halt in Canada.

As a outcome, various ships halt on one or two New England islands as element of fall foliage cruises (mostly to and from Boston, New York or Montreal) or when en route to Iceland or Europe. Numerous are far too large to dock and as a substitute anchor offshore and shuttle travellers to city in tenders.

Mansion tours are well-known in Newport, Rhode Island.


The all-suite, all-inclusive luxury 490-passenger Regent 7 Seas Navigator incorporates a end at Martha’s Vineyard on a 15-evening cruise involving New York and Reykjavik in June 2020, commencing at $8,599 for every man or woman.

Starting up late August of this 12 months, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ 2,394-passenger Norwegian Gem will operate a 7-evening New England cruise out of Boston, which contains stops at Martha’s Winery and Newport. Premiums begin at $972 per particular person for an within cabin.

The Cliffs at Gay Head, Martha’s Vineyard.


In 2021, Victory Cruise Lines’ 202-passenger Victory I will start off 7-night time cruises from St. John (Canada) to Boston, generating stops at Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. These cruises get started at $4,999 for each individual, and include things like a pre-cruise resort evening, daily excursions and alcoholic drinks.


  • New England’s cruising year is from May possibly to September.
  • Occasionally storms and rocky seas can change itineraries and necessitate skipping a cease.
  • Seem for whales — humpback, finback, minke and many others — when cruising amongst Nantucket and Martha’s Winery, and also around Boston at the Stellwagen Bank.

Co-founder of, Heidi Sarna, has taken far more than 100 cruises and specializes in small-ship cruising.


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