Discover the treasures and history of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Block Island on this new cruise to New England. 

Starting at: $5,845 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Brant Point Lighthouse, Nantucket  Picturesque piers on Nantucket  Nantucket Harbor   Brant Point Lighthouse, Nantucket Island  The Gay Head Cliffs and lighthouse, Martha's Vineyard   One of the many beautiful Victorian mansions on Martha's Vineyard  Local shops in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard  Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island   Fort Adams, Newport  The Breakers, Newport  Close-up view of the gardens at the Breakers, Newport   Marina at Bristol, Rhode Island   Typical New England scene  The famous New England whale watching

Cruising New England’s Islands

A Cruise of Rhode Island and Massachusetts

9 days from $5,845

Discover the treasures and history of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Block Island on this new cruise to New England. 

or Call 855-330-1542


Explore the rich maritime and social history of Massachusetts and Rhode Island during this exciting new island voyage. As you cruise to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Block Island—and in and out of ports such as New Bedford and Newport—you’ll learn about the early working history of this important seafaring region as well as their contemporary communities.

Highlights Include

  • New Bedford: Gain an in-depth understanding of the region’s whaling history and modern fishing industry at the Whaling Museum and during a harbor tour.
  • Nantucket: Tour lighthouses and cranberry bogs, its early history as an important whaling center, and its contemporary community.
  • Martha’s Vineyard: Visit historic towns like Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven, and enjoy time at leisure in Edgartown.
  • Block Island: This adored island is known for its easy-going attitude. View Mohegan Bluffs, which rise 200 feet above the ocean and stretch for three miles, and see the famous Southeast Lighthouse.
  • Newport: Cruise to Narragansett Bay and Newport, then dock at Fort Adams, once used to protect the harbor and town. Enjoy a tour of Newport’s opulent 19th-century mansions, stopping at the Breakers to visit this 74-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo owned by the Vanderbilt family.
  • Bristol: Learn about the nautical beauty and challenges of yachting at the Herreshoff Marine Museum, home to a collection of fine yachts and the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, then stroll the gardens and home of Blithewold Mansion.
  • American Star: The 100-guest American Star was built in 2007 by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. All staterooms have interior entrances, a king-size bed or two twin beds, a private shower and toilet, and large picture windows that open; most staterooms have private balconies. See more information about this ship on the Tour Details page. Each voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience.  


Day 1 – Depart Gateway Cities for Providence, RI

Arrive in Providence where you will be met by your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director and transfer to the fashionable and historic Providence Biltmore Hotel.

This evening, meet fellow travelers and enjoy a private Smithsonian welcome reception and briefing at the hotel. (R)

Day 2 – Providence

After breakfast, depart the hotel and drive through downtown Providence to see Brown University. Embark the American Star and depart in the late morning for New Bedford.

A light lunch will be served onboard. This evening, the Captain will host a welcome aboard dinner.

Once anchored in the port of New Bedford, a local speaker will offer a presentation on the city’s rich maritime history. The talk will serve as a preamble to tomorrow’s exploration. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – New Bedford

A hearty breakfast will be served each morning onboard ship. In the mid-19th century, New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world, and the inspiration for Herman Melville's 1841 classic American novel, Moby Dick. Today, New Bedford is still renowned as "The Whaling City," with an authentic seaport village, large fishing fleet, and working waterfront. One of the city’s highlights is the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the largest of its kind, devoted to the history of North American whaling. Explore the exhibits to gain an understanding of the industry that shaped the town of New Bedford.

Later, take a fascinating cruise of the Bedford/Fairhaven harbor to see Palmer’s Island Lighthouse, Fort Phoenix, the working fishing fleet, and the largest Hurricane Barrier on the East Coast. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Nantucket Island

You’ll travel back to the 18th century as you step off the ship onto the timeworn cobblestone streets of Nantucket. Discover how this delightful island evolved from a small farming community to a center of the American whaling industry and then to a popular summer resort community.

This morning, take a tender to shore where you will be greeted by your native guide who will serve as your island host and guide. You’ll learn about the island’s early history and see lovely rose-covered cottages and discover the intriguing art community. Stop to explore the cranberry bogs and local lighthouse before enjoying free time in the vibrant downtown.

In the afternoon, a guest lecturer will enhance your visit, by leading you on a guided walking tour to explore Brant Point Lighthouse. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Martha’s Vineyard

Sitting in the Atlantic just south of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard was once a hub for whaling fleets and merchant ships.

Today, the island is one of the most popular vacation spots in New England, with six distinct towns, including Chilmark and Vineyard Haven. The most fashionable town on the island is historic Edgartown, with its freshly painted colonial homes and manicured gardens.

After docking in Vineyard Haven, you will be pleasantly surprised by the charm of this quaint seaside village. A local island guide will take you on a personalized tour of Martha’s Vineyard. Visit the many historic highlights and free time to explore the village of Edgartown.

Later, tour Oak Bluffs historic Gingerbread Cottages. The tour will conclude with a visit to Bill Ewen’s home for freshly made lemonade and cookies a special local treat.

In the evening, Mark Alan Lovewell will entertain with popular sea chanteys and a sing-a-long. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Block Island

This small island off the coast of Rhode Island has become a popular summertime destination. As you marvel at the scenic Mohegan Bluffs, it will come as no surprise why this area serves as an inspiration for many artists. You’ll visit all the main attractions of the island, as well as treasured nooks which only the most experienced locals are aware.

As you travel along the scenic bluffs on the way to Old Harbor, you’ll make a stop at the famous Southeast Lighthouse. Return to the ship for a reception and an inspired seafood feast.

Later, attend an enlightening talk of how Newport’s earliest settlers protected the harbor from intruders and gained success in foreign trade. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Newport

Nestled within Narragansett Bay in Newport, the yachting capital of the world. Our small ship allows us to dock at Fort Adams, the well-known fort used to protect the harbor. A park ranger will tell you about the history of the fort and the military and naval strategies implemented there.

A local guide will take you to see the summer homes of the financial elite of the 1800s on spectacular Ocean View Drive and Bellevue Avenue. The tour concludes at the Breakers built by the Vanderbilt family at the turn of the century. The architecture of this seventy-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo is remarkable. Explore the home and learn about the Vanderbilt family.

At the conclusion of the tour, you will have time to explore the bustling Newport waterfront at your own pace. Once on board the ship, Join fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for lively conversation in the Travelers Corner. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Bristol

Bristol is a quintessential New England town that offers natural beauty, gardens, history, art, great dining and welcoming locals.

Start exploring with a visit to the Herreshoff Marine Museum that showcases some of the finest yachts built during “The Golden Age of Yachting.” The museum also features the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, which honors those who have competed in the most renowned international yachting event in the world.

In the afternoon, take a trolley to Blithewold Mansion for a private tour of the house and grounds. With magnificent views of Narragansett Bay, the 33-acre summer estate features exquisite gardens.

Finally, you will have plenty of free time to follow your own path. You can take a brief stroll or ride our shuttle back to Bristol. This evening, gather with Smithsonian Journeys friends and fellow travelers for a farewell reception. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Providence

After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the Providence Airport for flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)