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Best Times of Year to Go on a Cruise

Last updated on April 30th, 2024 at 09:16 pm

Cruise prices fluctuate, mostly based on the time of year, and for good reason. There are better times to go to certain places vs others. We'll help you know when it's the right time to go to various ports of call so you can make the most of your time.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to see the world, and with so many amazing destinations to choose from, it can be difficult to decide when to go.

To help you plan your next cruise vacation, here’s a look at the best times to visit some of the world’s most popular cruise destinations:

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise To Alaska

cruise alaska

The best time to cruise to Alaska is during the summer months, from June to August.

During this time, the weather is warm and the days are long, allowing you to take advantage of all the outdoor activities the state has to offer.

However, keep in mind that this is also the peak season for cruising, so you’ll need to book early to secure your spot on the ship. The shoulder seasons from April to May and September to October are growing in popularity because there are fewer crowds and reduced rates.

Late September or early October are the months that maximize the chance of seeing the mesmerizing northern lights. Most travelers prefer the June and July months because those are the months with the most sun and daylight.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise To The Artic

Summer is the season for an Arctic cruise, and May to September is the time when  most cruise ships head to “The Land of the Midnight Sun.” 

Sailings in the Arctic tend to be shorter in length and ships stay in the south of the region as winter ice is still melting. The flora is in full bloom in July and August, and it is also the best time for spotting Arctic birds, bears, seals, walruses and whales.  

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The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise To Canada and the USA

Both massive countries, the United States and Canada have many breathtaking areas to visit. The warmest weather will be between late June and early September. 

In the US, New England and eastern Canada are best to visit from May through October. 

Many cruisers favor a cruise to see fall foliage in the first half of October.

If you want to cruise in a paddlewheel, the Mississippi River in the US from June through September is peak cruising time. 

The Pacific Northwest in the US and Canada tend to occur in late spring and continue until early fall.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise To Mexico

Mexico can be cruised year-round but the best time is during the dry season, which runs from November through May.

The best deals are during the summer, which is  June through September. While it might be tempting, this is hurricane season and hot and humid conditions can make conditions uncomfortable.

 

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise The Southern Caribbean

st lucia cruise

The best time to cruise to the Southern Caribbean is from July to September when the weather is warm and sunny. During this time, you’ll be able to explore beautiful island destinations, such as Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, and enjoy water sports, beach activities, and more.

The Southern Caribbean has the majority of the region’s islands. That makes it a popular area for cruise lines. December through April is the peak season throughout the Caribbean because the summers are warm without huge seasonal temperature fluctuations.

Another reason for this being the favored time for cruises is that hurricane season is from June through November. Some of the southern Caribbean islands like Aruba, Barbados, and Bonaire lie below the hurricane belt. Those areas can still get winds and rain but usually are spared hurricanes.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise Western Caribbean

cozumel

The best time to cruise to the Western Caribbean is from December to April when the weather is mild, warm and sunny. It is an ideal time to explore destinations such as Cozumel, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.

The months between December and April are conducive for activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and beach-hopping.

The weather during this time is in the low to mid-80s, the humidity is at its lowest, and there is almost no rain. This makes it ideal to visit the Mayan ruins and hike in the rainforest.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise South and Central America

Because of the vast expanse of South America, and the varying altitudes, there is not a best time to cruise this region. Temperatures will vary, even in the same country and there will be a difference in experience if you’re on an ocean cruise or an Amazon River cruise. 

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If you will be cruising in South America, rely on your cruise line to provide you with information on the best times to visit your region of interest. 

Central America has temperatures that vary less than in South Americ and remain warm throughout the year, with the exception of higher altitudes. While the wet season is from April through early December, there are still many days of sunshine. 

Avoid September and October as that is the hurricane season, and this time brings the most rain. The peak cruise season is Christmas through Easter which is the driest time of the year. 

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise The Mediterranean

mediterranean cruise

The best time to cruise to the Mediterranean is from April to June and from September to October when the weather is warm and sunny.

These months are the best time to explore destinations such as Barcelona, Rome, and Santorini, and enjoy the local culture, food, and history.

You will be able to find Mediterranean cruises from April through November, but June to September are the peak months for travelers.

The Canary Islands and Croatia, Greece, and Turkey will see cruisers from April to December. May or September. These months are also good times to go, as rates are cheaper and there are fewer kids onboard, which can make for a quieter cruise.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise The Bahamas

bahamas cruise

The best time to cruise to the Bahamas is from December to April when the weather is warm and sunny.

During this time, you’ll be able to explore destinations such as Nassau and Freeport and enjoy activities like snorkeling, beach-hopping, and island exploring.

If you are looking for a specific month to cruise the Bahamas, you might want to consider January. During January temperatures have little fluctuation, and it is also the beginning of the dry season.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise The South Pacific

south pacific cruise

The best time to cruise to the South Pacific is from May to October when the weather is warm and sunny. These months will be the best for exploring destinations such as Fiji, Tonga, and the Cook Islands.

Activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and beach-hopping are popular during these months. May to October is also the dry season when the winter trade winds keep the daily temperatures between 70-80℉.

This is also the time that there is less humidity. The South Pacific has a hurricane season that runs from November through April, so plan accordingly.

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The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise Europe

As with South and Central America, Europe is vast and this amount of space and changes in climate make it almost impossible to name a “best time” to visit. It is good, however, to keep in mind that Northern Europe has a shorter cruising season, from May to October.

The best time to cruise the Mediterranean is April through November. If you visit the Baltic region, June to August is best to be able to view the spring and summer colors.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise To Australia

australia cruise

The best time to cruise to Australia is from late November to March when the weather is warm and sunny. Brisbane and the Great Barrier Reef, are the places to snorkel, scuba dive, and visit sunny beaches.

Late November to March is when spring is turning into summer. The major ports of call like Sydney, Adelaide, and Perth will be warm and sunny during this time.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise To Hawaii

Hawaii is comfortable for cruising all year long, but the driest time to travel to Hawaii is in the summer and fall. Because of school vacations, summer also happens to be a very busy time to visit, but mid-September through October has both good weather and smaller crowds.

Hawaii can be very expensive as most of their goods are imported. If you are looking to save money on a Hawaiian cruise, check out going during the time from November to February as this is when you will find the best deals.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise To Asia

asia cruise

Asia is a vast region and has diverse weather patterns and micro-climate, making it important to choose carefully the time you will visit this area.

The cooler and drier weather is between November and February. The weather tends to be warm and sunny over most of the region during these months.

During this time, you’ll be able to explore destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan, and enjoy local culture, food, and history. The hottest times of the year are between March and May when the temperatures can be hot and oppressive.

The Best Time Of The Year To Cruise The Middle East

middle east cruise

The best time to cruise to the Middle East is from late November to March when the weather is mild and sunny. There are numerous places to explore such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Oman, where you can enjoy local culture, food, and history.

Repositioning cruises happen in late October and early November in the Middle East. They also happen again in late March and early April. If you are looking to get a cheaper fare, those would be the months to consider.

Whether you’re cruising to Alaska, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, or another amazing destination, it’s important to choose the right time of year to make the most of your trip.
By considering the weather, local events, and other factors, you’ll be able to plan a cruise vacation that is warm and enjoyable from start to finish.

This page contains affiliate links for which we may receive financial compensation when a purchase has been made through one of our affiliate partners.

 

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About

Joy is the Co-Founder & Content Manager/Expert for CruisePortAdvisor.com and one of the founders of the site. She loves to travel, sing & bake.

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