When is the best time to go on a cruise
Peak season is usually the ideal due to the vibrant weather and iconic destinations but with larger crowds and higher prices compared to off-peak season. To experience a more enjoyable cruise experience with milder weather, fewer crowds and lower fares, consider traveling before or after the peak season. Discover the best times to cruise the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Europe and more through our comprehensive guide and explore ideal travel times today.
Caribbean cruises are available year-round. Then what is the best time to set sail for Caribbean islands? It depends on your preferences.
For the Best Weather and Experience:
- December, January and February: Dry and sunny weather, clear skies and calm waters make it the most ideal for cruising the Caribbean. Yet, because it is the prime season, you will experience crowded destinations and higher prices of cruises and flights.
- Early December is a great time to go. The weather in the winter months of December, January and February are a bit cooler than the scorching summer months. Between Thanksgiving and the December holidays, early December will have fewer crowds.
For Budget Travelers:
- Fall, especially September and early October, offers the lowest price because that is the hurricane season in the Caribbean. There are still many sunny days, and ships can manage to avoid hurricanes. So cruise lines will offer great deals at the time. However, the trip may be canceled due to weather disruptions.
For Avoiding Crowds:
- November or early December is a great time to go. The weather is a bit cooler than the scorching summer months. Before or between the holiday rushes, this period of time will have fewer crowds.
- March and April might be the best to avoid due to spring breaks.
For Family Travelers:
- Summer is a good time, especially if traveling with family. Many activities cater to families, both onboard and at destinations. However, expect higher prices and crowded ships.
The weather in Hawaii is pleasant in April, May, September, and October. During these months, the climate is mild with less rainfall compared to the wet season, which lasts from mid-December through March. While there’s no universally “best” time to cruise to Hawaii, it largely depends on individual interests.
Points of Interest:
- Whale watching and advanced surfing: Mid-December through March. Winter is the big wave season.
- Avoiding crowds: Consider the shoulder seasons, which run from April to early June and from September to early December. During these times, you can often find cruise itineraries offering better value.
- Family vacation: From mid-June to August is warm and dry, making this period ideal for snorkeling and surfing beginners.
The best time to go: April ~ early May and October
Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Bermuda enjoys a subtropical climate as it is located in the North Atlantic, 650 miles east of North Carolina.
- The warmest months are July and August, with temperatures in the mid-80s. While the summer offers the most activities and events, expect them to be the busiest in terms of tourists with the highest prices.
- April and May are the beginning of the cruise season with an average temperature of the 70s. May has the lowest rainfall of the year. You will see fewer tourist crowds and can enjoy some land activities such as hiking and cycling. From October, the heat and humidity start to ease. The hurricane season that the area experiences in September is ending. As the high season begins to fade, cruise prices will drop.
– If you like water activities, consider June to August.
-For a mix of good weather, fewer tourists, and more affordable cruise rates, April, May, and October are ideal.
For example, a 7-night cruise on Norwegian Joy from New York in May 2024 starts at $799 per person, but the same cruise in July 2024 rises to $1,149.
The best time to go: April ~ September
Why do people want to go on an Alaska cruise? The answer is obvious. It is for Alasaka’s unique landscapes, natural phenomena and wildlife.
- Glacier Calving: The best time to witness this is during the warmest months: June, July, and August.
- Northern Lights: The best time to see is during the cruise season in the winter months: early April or late September.
- Midnight Sun: The natural phenomenon occurs from mid-May to mid-July. You can see the sun at the local midnight and the area is in daylight 24 hours.
- Eagles: In April, Bald eagles give birth to their young, with fledglings visible from May through June. Bring binoculars.
- Salmon Runs: Different salmon species start at different times starting in early May and continuing until September.
- Bears: From mid-July to mid-August, bears can be spotted near streams with salmon runs.
- Moose: Late May and early June are the best times to see a mother moose and her calves. Be cautious walking near them especially when baby mooses are around.
- Whale Watching: The summer is the best time for whale watching. Humpbacks are present year-round. Others like gray whales migrate to Alaska in summer.
The best time to consider: September and October
The Mediterranean is an ideal destination to visit almost year-round, with the exception of winter, as many locals close their shops for the holidays. Summer is peak season due to school summer breaks, making both April to mid-June and September to October preferable for those seeking fewer crowds and a more relaxed vacation.
Food and wine are among the highlights of a Mediterranean vacation, and the fall, being the harvest season, sees many cities hosting food and wine festivals. It is definitely made for food lovers.
In conclusion, the optimal time for a Mediterranean cruise is from September to October, providing a blend of delightful weather, fewer tourists, and a rich cultural experience.
- Spring (March to May): This is the best time to visit Japan, especially for the world- renowned cherry blossoms. Other flower festivals are also happening during this period.
- Fall (October): It is time to visit Japan in the fall color.
- Spring (April-May) and Fall (September-October): These are the most comfortable months to visit China thanks to the mild weather and less chance of rain.
- Southeast Asia
- The dry season is from December to April with the lowest humanity and the least chance of rainfall.
The best time to go: April ~ May, September ~ October
The cruise season for Northern Europe runs from May to September. The peak months are July and August because they offer warm temperatures and extended daylight. Summer is typically short and tourists will flock to European cities. If you want to avoid peak crowds, May and September might offer better fares, though the weather can be unpredictable.
Canada and England
The best time to go: May or October
Canada & New England cruises are ideal for extended pre- or post-cruise stays in departure ports like Boston and New York, which offer plenty to explore and operate from April to October. It is known for taking adult cruisers to see the riot of fall colors, and you will find the best cruise fare in May or October.
Points of interest:
- Whale watching:
- In Newfoundland and Labrador from June to early August
- At the Bay of Fundy from July to September
- Seals watching: at Prince Edward Island in summer.
Australia and New Zealand
The best time to go: November ~ April (spring, summer and early fall)
Australia and New Zealand have seasons opposite to those in the U.S. Spring runs from September to November, summer from December to February (which is the peak season), autumn from March to May, and winter from June to August. The northern regions, such as Darwin and Cairns, experience a tropical climate. During your cruise to Australia and New Zealand, you can indulge in beach visits, wildlife watching, hiking, wine tasting, and cultural tours.
- Peak season: Summer (December to February)
- Shoulder season: Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May) are ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities.
- Low season: Winter in New Zealand is a great time for skiers.
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