Perfect Timing – When and Where to Cruise


Whether you are looking to avoid hurricane season when cruising to the Caribbean or improve your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights when visiting the Norwegian Fjords – timing your cruise holiday just right can really enhance the experience.

At Cruise1st, we have put together a helpful little guide explaining our favourite months and seasons to cruise to the world’s most popular cruise destinations and regions.


When to Visit: May-September

Separated from the rest of the US by Canada, the state of Alaska offers cruise visitors a truly unique experience travelling past the incredible coastline full of towering mountains, majestic glaciers, elegant waterways and awe-inspiring rainforest. Wildlife-lovers will appreciate the diverse collection of animal indigenous to Alaska – with cruise visitors to Alaska potentially spotting whales, eagles, bears, moose and seals from the ship or on the shore.

Many of the largest and most important cities of Alaska are located on the state’s coastline. Visiting culturally rich and significant cities such as Juneau and Anchorage from the seas is incredibly simple and rewarding.

With the northern parts of Alaska entering into the Arctic Circle and located in the Arctic Ocean – visiting in the winter months can be incredibly cold – even for the most hardy of cruisers. This makes it preferable for cruisers to visit between May and September, with a peak season of mid-June to mid-August.

Deal: Voyage of the Glaciers – May 2016


When to Visit: November-March

The diverse temperatures and weathers offered by Asia means choosing the perfect time to cruise is quite complicated and convoluted. The Vietnamese coastline alone measures 2,000 miles in length and is subjected to varying weather patterns from north to south. The unique culture of the countries in Asia also means their shore excursions are amongst the most popular – offering more weather complications, with temperatures rising significantly just a few kilometres inland.


It is vital that you pack a comprehensive selection of clothes when cruising to Asia, suitable for varying weathers and temperatures.

The majority of cruise lines schedule itineraries around Asia between November and March to avoid the hottest, most uncomfortable months.

Deal: Far East Discovery and Asian Adventure – February 2016

Australia and New Zealand

When to Visit: November-March

The popularity of cruise holidays in Australia and New Zealand is growing at a phenomenal rate, with more and more port destinations and routes opening up every year. Trips between the two countries and to the islands of the South Pacific offer visitors the chance to enjoy a range of different cultures and visit some of the world’s most unspoiled locations and picturesque beaches and towns.


Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the region enjoys its summer between November and March, and that is when the holiday season really gets going for the locals. The extreme heats (particularly in Australia) mean you’ll have to pack plenty of sunscreen and liquids to protect against the ill-effects of the temperature.

However, the long, sunny days between November and March are the perfect time to cruise into Sydney Harbour, glass of champagne in hand, past the beautiful bridges and stunning Sydney Opera House.

Deal: Australia & New Zealand with Sydney Stay – January 2016

The Baltics

When to Visit: May-September

Very few cruise lines operate itineraries through the Baltics outside of May to September, due to the adverse weather conditions which affect the other months. The temperatures in May, June and September may still be quite brisk, so not ideal for sun-worshippers and holidaymakers looking to work on their tan.


However, June is a spectacular time to visit Russia as St. Petersburg celebrates the phenomenon: White Nights – the stretches of near-endless daylight. The weather throughout July and August is generally very favourable with temperatures reaching upwards of 22°.

Deal: Baltic Highlights – June 2016


When to Visit: June-August, Christmas & February-Mid-April

Still the most popular cruise destination in the world, the beautiful beaches and high temperatures of the Caribbean attract visitors almost all year-round. The only time when cruises don’t visit the region is during the Hurricane season, leaving the rest of the year open for visitors to soak up the sun and relaxing atmosphere.

Vacations and tourism concept: Caribbean Paradise.

When booking cruise holidays to the Caribbean, be wary of the school holidays of Europe and the US, with the latter being a particularly large market for cruises to the region. Cruise prices to the Caribbean are often likely to be more expensive during these school holidays, as the lines look benefit from increased demand.

Deal: Eastern & Western Caribbean Collector Holiday – December 2015


When to Visit: March-October

The cultural cities of the Mediterranean provide one of the longest cruise seasons in the world – with plenty to enjoy whether or not the sun is shining. The temperate climates of the Mediterranean ensure cruise trips from early-Spring to late-Autumn are seldom subject to extreme conditions. The more Southerly you traverse the Mediterranean, the higher the temperatures climb with countries such as Greece enjoying beautiful days of sun in March and April all the way through to October.

Sunset from ship at Mediterranean Sea during tour in Greece to Greek Islands


For families whose holidays are not governed by school holidays, September is perhaps the best time to cruise the Mediterranean as prices will be lower and the port cities will be somewhat quieter – providing a more relaxing and recharging experience.

The shore excursions of Mediterranean cruise provide plenty of culture and excitement, making it important to pack clothing well-suited to city walks as well as on-board relaxation.

Deal: Greece, Turkey & Croatia – September 2016

North America and Transatlantic Crossings

When to Visit: May-September

The Spring and Summer months are the most popular times to visit North America and undertake Transatlantic crossing with pleasant temperatures and long balmy nights. The Winter months have a tendency to welcome long spells of snow and wet weather in North America – Canada, in particular, regularly suffers a from heavy snowfall.

New York - Jon Dawson

Perhaps the prettiest and most enjoyable time to visit the New England states of North America is September, when the foliage of the trees begins to brown and crinkle as Autumn takes hold. This is also the cheapest time to travel through much of the US as school children are back in class between their Summer and Thanksgiving holidays.

Deal: New York, New York – September 2016

For a full range of cruises from Cruise1st, visit our homepage or call our dedicated sales team now on 0808 2746 777. 

Images sourced via Wikipedia Creative Commons, Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Travelling Otter, louis.foecy_.fr_, Paul Arps, Jon Dawson

Perfect Timing – When and Where to Cruise
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Perfect Timing – When and Where to Cruise
Whether you are looking to avoid hurricane season when cruising to the Caribbean or improve your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights when visiting the Norwegian Fjords – timing your cruise holiday just right can really enhance the experience.

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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