This is a question that pops up time and again. So, what is the best time to cruise? This really depends all up on you and what your criteria are. Do you need to plan your cruise vacation around school holidays? Are you looking for a much deserved break with your loved one without having to negotiate crowds? Or maybe you are looking to escape freezing temps back home and want a bit of the sun. Or a great deal on the price? So you see, this simple question: what is the best time to cruise? – is actually quite a complex one and the answer to it will vary as per your requirement.
Cruise companies typically have a high season that coincides with the holiday period when school’s out and families plan their vacations around this. The slow season or the shoulder season are just before and after the high season and this is perhaps the best time to sail, especially if you are looking for a bargain price and no extreme weather. These days there are really no low seasons as cruise companies move their ships where there is demand, and typically the ships follow the sun!
Alaska has a very short cruise season, from May to early September. The high season is June to August when the weather is at its best and you are likely to get sunny days. This is also the holiday season, so prices may be on the high side as well. It would be best to book early to avail of any early bird discounts as also to secure your cabin as the ships fill up fast.
Price –wise, the best time to go would probably be in May or in September before the close of season.
Cruising is catching up in a very big way in Asia with Singapore becoming a big hub for short cruises and Hong Kong and Shanghai in China for longer cruises. All cruise lines are basing their ships in the region and recently Royal Caribbean International announced a year round sailing starting soon and are basing mariner of the Seas –the largest ship in Asia in Singapore from November 2014 onwards. The popular cruise season from Singapore is from November to March and at this time the weather is cool and not too humid. It is also holiday season in December and during Chinese New Year so ships go full and prices on the higher side during this time. The shoulder seasons are in November and March.
Price-wise if you are booking on a Singapore cruise, November and March should be good bets.
Of course people head to the sunny Caribbean, when the weather in their home country is cold and damp, and that’s as it should be! The high season coincides with the school holidays June to August , the Christmas holidays at the end of the year and then again during the spring February to April. It goes without saying the prices would be high at these times, so do make your bookings as early as possible.
The upside of cruising in the low season is great weather, fewer crowds and of course low prices. The downside? Well, it is hurricane season between June and November, so the ship may get diverted to another port in the Caribbean.
Price-wise the best time would be to go during hurricane season, end of summer going into fall – Late August/September.
The cruise season in the Mediterranean typically runs from April to November, and the peak season would be June to August when crowds descend on Europe as this is the time when the weather is pleasantly in the 70’s and 80’s and rain clouds are nowhere on the horizon, so its perfect timing. If you are a very social person and love to meet people from other countries, this is a good time. If you don’t like crowds then avoid this time as the ship will be swarming with people.
Price-wise chose to cruise the Med in the shoulder and low season which is April – May or later on between October –November. Less people, lower prices at these times, but be sure to book early!
Again the cruising season is short from May to early September only. The busy period is from July- August and this is the time when the weather is wonderful – warm but not too hot, the days are long with a good amount of sunlight hours and you can take full advantage of the white nights in Scandinavia and Russia.
Price-wise, book to go in May or September – it may be a bit chillier, but not cold; great prices for early bookers and less tourist crowds so that you enjoy your destinations better.