Cruising offers a whole world of possible destinations – but, the time of year that you plan to cruise may narrow the possibilities just a bit. Some cruise destinations, such as the Caribbean, are available all year long because the weather is almost always balmy.
Others are available only in certain seasons. For example, watching an Alaskan glacier calve new icebergs into the ocean is thrilling in July, but would be much less pleasurable in the Arctic cold and darkness of January. However, January is the ideal time to cruise to South American and Antarctica (remember, it’s summer there).
Different cruise lines may have slightly different seasons for specific destinations, but the following is a general guide to when ships sail where:
• Africa – October through March
• Alaska – May through September
• Antarctica – November through February
• Asia – September through April
• Australia – October through March
• Bahamas – All year long (peak hurricane season is August to November) – keep in mind that cruise ships can easily navigate away from severe storms, including as hurricanes
• Bermuda – April through October
• Caribbean – All year long (peak hurricane season is August to November)
• Hawaii – All year long
• Indian Ocean – October through April
• Mediterranean – All year long (peak season May through September)
• Mexico – All year long
• New England and Canada – April through October
• Northern Europe – May through September
• Panama – October through April (some itineraries available all year)
• South America – October through April
• South Pacific – All year long
For seasonal cruise destinations, the best pricing is usually available at the beginning and end of their seasons (one exception is New England and Canada, where late-season cruises offer spectacularly colorful leaf-peeping).