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​I frequently get asked when the best time is to take a cruise to various ports around the world. The answer is not as easy as you might think. There are a lot of factors that influence the right response. Let’s examine several of these factors and see how they will affect your ultimate cruise decision.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

Are you looking for the best weather, wanting to avoid rough seas, trying to avoid the crush of tourist overload at popular ports, looking for cheaper prices during shoulder seasons, or wanting to experience something unique like the salmon running in Alaska? For many travelers, other criteria come in to play such as school or work schedules or the desire to celebrate special occasions on the cruise.

So let’s take a look at the various regions and consider some of these issues you should consider when deciding when to take your cruise.

 

ALASKA

Best Weather

The best months are June and July for warm and dry days. August is warm, but you’ll have more rainy days. September is even more rainy and cooler. April and May are the driest months for walking through towns and to see the glaciers but you aren’t likely to see whales, the salmon running, or bears.

Juneau, Alaska weather

Best Price The best prices will be found mid-May through early-July, and late August through September. Some cruise lines offer cruises after September and before May which is outside the normal cruise season with significantly lower cruise fares.

Points to Consider

The salmon run season is mid- to late July and is when you’ll see the most bears. You’ll see the most whales in August.

 

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Best Weather

December, January and February are warmest months with highs around 80° F with longer days since it is in the Southern Hemisphere. Cyclone season is late November through April in Australia (New Zealand rarely gets cyclones). So seriously consider travel insurance.

Best Price The best prices can be found in November through mid-March with the exception of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Points to Consider

Everyone knows about Sydney’s spectacular New Year’s fireworks display and it is an incredible sight to see in person. The Bass Strait between Australia’s mainland and Tasmania, and the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand can have rough seas.

CANADA & NEW ENGLAND

Best Weather

The summer months are warmer and dryer. But for the best time to see the folliage change colors is from mid-late September through mid-October.

Best Price You’ll find the best pricing outside the foliage change season. This would be the summer months through early September, as well as late October.

Points to Consider

The most popular cruises are during the changing colors of the trees when the ships will be fuller and more expensive for this visually spectacular cruise.

CARIBBEAN

Best Weather

Cruises are available year round in the Caribbean. November through March has the best weather. Days are warm, but not as hot as the summer months and there is less rain. Hurricane season runs June through November, with August and September being the worst. Seriously consider getting travel insurance during these periods.

Best Price January, May, September and the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas offer the best prices when kids are in school.. Spring break, New Years and Christmas holidays tend to have the highest price. You’ll find bargains in September and early October as it is the peak of hurricane season, but be sure to get travel insurance.

Points to Consider

Cruises during spring break will have a large number of children. Summer months tend to have more children than winter months when school is in session.

MEDITERRANEAN

Best Weather

The warmest and driest months are June through August. However, these months can be uncomfortably hot and muggy. These months are best for laying on the beaches or enjoying the water. Weather-wise, the more comfortable months for walking and exploring cities and the countryside are April and May, plus October and November.

Best Price The best prices are in the tourist off season from October through February, except for holidays.

Points to Consider

Cruises are available year round. The summer months will find Mediterranean ports and cities overwhelmed with tourists with long lines at major attractions. In addition, many travelers find the summer heat and humidity overwhelming, so that that into consideration. We’ve found April and May, plus October and November to be the most comfortable times to cruise the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Sea can be rough during fall and winter months due to winds and storms. The Meltemi winds on the Aegean Seas kick up during the summer affecting smaller ships the most.

MEXICAN RIVIERA

Best Weather

The winter months have the most comfortable weather. The summer months can be stiflingly hot and humid.

Best Price You’ll find the best prices in September and January.

Points to Consider

Because there is less demand for these cruises due to the limited number of ports and an overall preference for the Caribbean, the prices are usually very reasonable year round.

NORTHERN EUROPE

Best Weather

The summer months are the best time of the year to visit norther Europe.

Best Price The cruise season is short due to the weather. Prices are highest during the summer months (May through August). The earliest and last cruises will have lower prices.

Points to Consider

Summer months tend to have calmer seas. The west coast of France and north coast of Spain (Bay of Biscay), and the North Sea can be rough during winter months (November through March). River cruises usually operate from spring through fall, with special Christmas cruises added for the holiday.onths tend to have calmer seas. The west coast of France and north coast of Spain (Bay of Biscay), and the North Sea can be rough during winter months (November through March). River cruises usually operate from spring through fall, with special Christmas cruises added for the holiday.

PANAMA CANAL

Best Weather

The summer months are hot, muggy and overcast. The best weather for a cruise is during the winter months from December through February. The rainy season lasts from March through early December, so be prepared for rain.

Weather in Panama

Best Price The best per diem (per day) prices will be found on longer repositioning cruises in May and September. Other good times would be April, September and January.

Points to Consider

It takes a day to travel through the Panama Canal. Cruises are either full crossing or partial crossing. Partial crossings cruises typically stop in Colon or Gamboa where passengers disembark and take tour boat rides  or taxis to the canal.

SOUTH AMERICA & ANTARCTICA

Best Weather

Since South America is in the Southern Hemisphere, their seasons are the opposite of the United States. So the winter months offer the best weather. December and January offer the best weather.  The farther you move from the equator, the more the climates change and become cooler (as the northern states are in the U.S.).

Best Price The lowest prices are normally found the end of the cool season in November and just before the cold season starts in April and early May.
Points to Consider Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival (the five days before Ash Wednesday) is popular with several lines offering overnight stays during parts of Carnival. The seas are rough near Cape Horn and Antarctica.

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So how to choose the right vacation for you?

Picking the right vacation is a decision with many variables: which hotel, cruise line or tour company is right for you, which destinations interest you, what are the demographics of fellow travelers, what are the service standards, what activities are available, and most importantly exactly what do you desire from the experience. We want you to make an informed, intelligent buying decision where you get the best value for your money! We work with our clients to ensure the vacation or cruise they choose is right for them and those traveling with them.

The world awaits you and we look forward to assisting you in choosing the exact right adventure on the waters or land for you and your companions!

Let’s chat and find the right vacation for you.

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