Cruise: When is the Best Time to Go

Many North Americans long to exchange winter’s wrath for tropical climates. Late November and early December are particularly good periods to book a cruise to the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera — fares are at their lowest and hurricane season, which lasts June through November, has wound down.

At the other end of the spectrum, awe-inspiring scenery and the opportunity to spot wildlife lure visitors of all ages north to Alaska during summer months. Many agree that the best way to see glaciers, whales, and soaring eagles is from the deck of a cruise ship. Snow still covers mountaintops in May and the weather remains fairly mild in September — the months when fares are lowest.

For families, summer vacation and school holiday breaks are popular times to take a cruise (although fares are highest during these periods).

If You Go
Cruises are offered in an assortment of lengths as well as itineraries — everything from three-night long weekend-type getaways to the traditional one-week cruise and on up to ten- and twelve-night sailings. As a rule of thumb, a fairly standard calendar for planning your cruise is:

Caribbean — Year-round
Bermuda — May through November
Mexican Riviera — Year-round
Alaska — May through September
New England/Canada — June through November
Mediterranean — April through November
Baltic Sea — Late-May through September
South America — November through March
Panama Canal — Year-round, particularly in spring and fall when ships reposition from the Caribbean to Alaska

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