Planning what time of the year to cruise can be an overwhelming task for newcomers to this mode of travel. Much like flying, cruise travel has definitive seasons that are more popular and more heavily trafficked. But there are other factors to take into account, such as how much money you want to spend and where in the world you are travelling to. Here’s a quick beginner’s guide to help you pick out the right time of the year to cruise for you.
Decide where you want to go
Before you pick what time of the year you want to cruise, you should decide where it is exactly that you want to go. This matters quite a bit, as the cruise season can change drastically depending on your destination. Some locations, particularly in the far north or south, might only be able to be travelled to in short periods of the year. Alaska, for instance, can only really be sailed to from May to September. Areas of the world that have intense rainy seasons should also, obviously, be avoided at those times. That means that a cruise to Asia between June and July will be a wet, miserable time. Pick your dream destination and start doing research on the seasons there. This will help you make an informed decision on when to go. (And also what clothes to pack!)
Beat the crowds, save some money
Another important factor to keep in mind is if you are looking to beat the crowds and/or find a good deal on an otherwise expensive cruise. If you are, you should be looking at sailing during the less popular seasons of the year for wherever it is you are going. For some, travelling somewhere when hoards of other people are going there can be a nightmare. For others, it’s a great experience to be surrounded by like-minded travelers. Make your decision based on you and your personal desires for your trip.
A quick overview
The popular season varies quite a bit for each area of the world, but here’s a quick overview to help you in your decision making. Asia, Australia, and South America are most often visited between November and March. Hawaii and the Caribbean’s popular season is a bit later, usually lasting from December to April. The South Pacific and Europe are generally visited in the fall. Finally, the Canadian cruise season is quite short, lasting from September to October.
Knowing when you’re going to cruise is integral to the planning process, but you need to make sure you know where you want to go and what kind of experience you want first. Once this is all settled, it’s all (literally) smooth sailing!