When it comes to cruising, timing is everything. It’s the secret ingredient to transforming a good holiday into a great one.

From avoiding the notorious hurricane season to basking in the best weather, we’re diving into the nitty-gritty of when to book that dream cruise vacation. In this blog, we’ll discuss when is the best time to book your trip for popular destinations to ensure your next cruise is nothing short of spectacular.

Best Time to Cruise by Destination

When plotting your nautical chart for the ultimate getaway, several factors steer the course toward the perfect cruise experience. You’ll want to weigh anchor considering three key elements: weather, prices, and the ebb and flow of crowds.

Each destination’s prime cruise season strikes a different balance. The peak and low season seesaw tilts differently for each port of call, so knowing when to board can make all the difference.

woman holding her hat in front of a ship

Best Time to Cruise Hawaii

Embarking on a Hawaiian cruise is akin to stepping into an endless summer, where the promise of warm, golden sunsets over turquoise waters is an everyday reality. In this paradise, a dinner cruise in Maui is a must, offering an unforgettable experience of dining on the open water as the sun dips below the horizon. May and September serve as the perfect bookends to the high tide of tourists, offering a serene escape with all the island’s splendors but minus the crowds. These are the months when one can bask in the warm sun, with temperatures consistently lounging in the comfortable 80s, ideal for every beach-goer’s dream.

The Hawaiian archipelago is renowned for its stunning weather year-round. While winter temperatures invite slightly cooler breezes and a touch more rain, they also mark the peak time for nature enthusiasts. The islands’ winter guise is nothing short of breathtaking, with migrating humpback whales turning the Pacific into a bustling marine sanctuary. For those seeking a vivid display of nature’s wonders, this is a spectacle not to be missed.

woman looking at the ocean full of people swimming

Yet, if you’re aiming to dodge the droplets, the summer months are your safest bet, with the rainy season taking a backseat. And while the summer months may usher in more explorers, the islands’ rainy weather is generally short-lived and often brings about a landscape so lush and vibrant that it’s as if Mother Nature herself has rolled out the red carpet. With the cruise vacation market heating up during these months, cruise fares also reflect the demand with a slight uptick.

Best Time to Cruise Panama Canal

A Panama Canal cruise offers a journey that’s as rich in history as it is in scenic beauty, and embarking on this adventure from one of Florida’s ports adds an extra layer of convenience and charm to the experience. The cruise season runs from September to April, a stretch when the weather is most favorable – typically sunny and dry, with temperatures comfortably nesting in the mid-to upper-80s.

Travelers often find the months of November to April as the prime time to traverse this engineering marvel. These are the moments when the canal is at its most welcoming, providing a sublime blend of sunny skies and cool breezes, perfect for watching the wonders of the lock systems in action.

tree standing on the shore

During these golden months, the climate strikes a balance that’s hard to beat – warm but not overbearing, with the kind of dryness that’s a respite from the rainy season. It’s a time when you can stand on deck and witness the seamless melding of the Atlantic and Pacific without the discomfort of sweltering heat or the unpredictability of a downpour.

The value of a Panama Canal cruise is measured in more than just scenic vistas; it’s also found in the pricing sweet spot of the shoulder months. While these voyages can be more expensive due to their length, savvy sailors can snag deals where cruise fares fall below the $1,000 mark per person.

It’s a small price to pay for a journey that not only links oceans but also bridges the gap between an ordinary holiday and an extraordinary adventure.

Best Time to Transoceanic Cruises

Charting a course across the vast oceans of our planet, transoceanic cruises beckon the intrepid traveler seeking the romance of the high seas. The prime months for these epic voyages are April, October, and November. These are the times when you can snag a cruise deal that spans continents without the heavy burden of peak-season price tags.

mountain and ocean view from the top

Long-haul journeys offer the joy of the journey itself, with ample time to indulge in the ship’s amenities and the leisurely pace of sea days. It’s the kind of trip where you might find yourself sipping a late June sunset cocktail or witnessing a reliably sunny December over the Pacific coast.

Planning for a transoceanic trek means keeping a weather eye on the horizon. While early summer and late fall might bring cooler weather or rough seas, early June or late August can dish up the perfect cruise weather. Don’t forget to factor in transportation logistics, especially if it’s a one-way journey requiring a flight back home.

Best Time to Cruise Caribbean

To don your sunglasses and shorts in the Caribbean, consider January, May, or September. These months offer a sweet spot where cruise fares dip, fewer crowds throng the Caribbean cruise ports, and the weather is just right for an island hop.

Take, for instance, a 5-night Caribbean cruise. An early December departure might offer a starting rate of $364 per person, while the peak summer season in July could inflate that to $599. The savvy cruiser knows that off-peak times mean lower demand and, thus, lower costs.

water cottages in front of a mountain

The dry season runs beautifully from late November through early spring, bringing with it warmer weather and the best sea conditions. Even during the rainy season, cruise lines have the knack of skirting storms, keeping your sunny holiday on course.

When plotting a Caribbean cruise, consider the ABC islands for a hurricane-worry-free zone or the Bahamas, where late fall can offer a cooler yet still inviting oceanic embrace, often at a more affordable price compared to peak season rates. Each region has its charm, whether you’re in search of vibrant fall foliage or a summer cruise dotted with shore excursions. The key is to cruise when the time is ripe, and the Caribbean’s festival season adds color to your tropical retreat.

Best Time to Cruise Bermuda

Setting sail for Bermuda’s pink-sand beaches and cobalt-blue waters from Baltimore, for example? Your best bet is during May or September. These months offer the quintessence of Bermuda’s allure without the summer swarm. The cruise fares during these shoulder season months are as inviting as the island’s famed hospitality.

In May, the island is warming up nicely, averaging a delightful 72 degrees, while September holds onto the warm weather legacy of the summer months, offering ideal conditions for ocean dips and shore excursions. Bermuda cruises during these months promise warmer weather than the early summer, coupled with the cultural extravaganza of Bermuda’s festival season.

blue sea with pink white sand

Strategizing your voyage for the shoulder season also means you’ll enjoy the benefits of fewer crowds and more personalized attention, both on the island and aboard the ship. Plus, there’s a higher chance of scoring those coveted cruise deals, especially if you’re flexible with the second or third week of these months.

Best Time to Cruise Alaska

When it comes to Alaska cruises, timing is as crucial as a compass. The prime months to venture into the wild majesties of the Last Frontier are late April, May, and September. Not only do these months offer a respite from the summer crowds, but they also herald in the cooler weather that defines Alaskan beauty.

While early June might tempt with its burgeoning warmth, May sees the land waking from its wintry slumber. The cooler weather of September not only promises fewer tourists but also a chance to witness the ethereal Northern Lights – a bucket-list phenomenon if there ever was one.

humpback whales and seagulls

For wildlife enthusiasts, these months are prime for sightings. May and June are the best times to spot killer whales, while humpback whales favor the waters in June and July. Timing your Alaska cruise with the salmon run season could also mean a flurry of marine life, making for unforgettable cruise memories, so don’t forget to add that to your itinerary!

Best Time to Cruise Mexican Riviera

The Mexican Riviera, with its tapestry of vibrant cultures and sundrenched beaches, beckons cruisers during May, June, September, and October. During these months, you’ll find that the temperatures are warm enough for sunbathing without the scorch of the high summer season, especially in the southern regions.

While the southern regions of the Riviera bask in averages of the 80s, even peaking into the 90s during the summer cruise months, the north offers a cooler counterpoint. This time of year avoids the peak of the hurricane season and yet promises plenty of warm weather for all your maritime pleasures.

norwegian cruise ships docked beside each other

For those keen on combining sun-seeking with nature encounters, whale watching during these months can be particularly rewarding.

And let’s not forget the cruise deals that abound in the early fall or late spring – perfect for the traveler looking for value without compromising on the experience. With fewer tourists than the peak summer season and a more relaxed ambiance, these are the opportune times to discover the Mexican Riviera’s true splendor.

Best Time to Mediterranean Cruising

When the siren call of the Mediterranean beckons, savvy sailors set their sails for May, September, and October. These months dodge the summer crowds and the sweltering heat, offering a more tranquil exploration of Europe’s most elegant seascape. A Mediterranean cruise during these times means you can stroll through ancient ruins, sip espresso in a coastal cafe in relative peace, or have the most memorable river cruise.

birds eye view of european houses

As spring break ebbs away, May brings gentle breezes ideal for comfortable exploration, while September and October offer an encore of warm temperatures without the peak summer season intensity. These months promise cooler weather that’s just right for the abundant outdoor activities the Med has to offer.

Traveling during these months isn’t just about favorable weather; it’s also about strategic crowd avoidance. With summer cruises a memory, visitors can experience the Mediterranean’s splendor with fewer crowds, better cruise deals, and a more personal touch in each port of call.

Best Time to Cruise Nordic Region and Northern Europe

For those yearning for the pristine beauty of the north, May, June, or September mark the optimal months for a Nordic or Northern European voyage. This is when you can enjoy extended daylight hours, thanks to the Midnight Sun, and milder climates perfect for exploring fjords and historical cities.

While these regions can experience weather extremes, the mentioned months provide a temperate climate, making it essential to pack layers and versatile clothing to comfortably adapt to the changing conditions. The early summer offers warmer weather and the chance to bask in the phenomena of the Midnight Sun, especially in places like Iceland and Norway.

body of water in norway

Shoulder season cruises during these months often boast more cost-effective pricing. Not only do you get the advantage of lower cruise fares and fewer wildlife sightings due to the timing, but you also get to enjoy the region’s natural beauty without the bulk of the high-season tourist brigade.

Best Time to Cruise Canada and New England

When it comes to cruising along the picturesque coasts of Canada and New England, May and October stand out. These months capture the region’s charm in full bloom and in the spectacular fall foliage, respectively.

October is particularly special for those seeking the visual feast of autumnal colors. The fall foliage season here is brief but brilliant, with the landscape painted in vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. This time of year is also rich with harvest festivals, offering a taste of local culture and culinary delights.

a red barn next to an old ship

The maritime traditions of the region are best experienced in the mid-October air, where the scent of the sea mingles with the history of each port. May offers the fresh bloom of spring and the beginning of many outdoor activities and festivals that celebrate the region’s rich history.

Best Time to Cruise Australia and New Zealand

Heading Down Under for a cruise? The best times are February, March, and November, when the Southern Hemisphere’s weather is at its most agreeable, providing warm, yet not overbearing, temperatures conducive to exploration.

February offers warm temperatures that are perfect for beach-goers and adventurers alike. March and November are particularly pleasant, offering a balance between the summer season heat and the cooler, yet sometimes unpredictable, late fall months.

sydney house opera in australia

Remember, the seasons are flipped in the Southern Hemisphere, so when it’s winter in the northern climes, Australia and New Zealand are basking in the glory of summer weather. This seasonal switch means that cruisers from the north can escape the chill and enjoy an extended summer if they time their cruise vacation just right.

Tips for Cruising and Booking

  • 💡 Book Early or Late: Snag early-bird specials or last-minute deals by booking well in advance or close to the departure date. This way, you might find a cruise deal that hits the sweet spot between affordability and your dream itinerary.
  • 🗓️ Flex Your Dates: If you have the luxury of flexibility, shifting your cruise dates by a week or two could dodge the peak season rush and hurricane season woes, all while saving you a bundle.
  • 🛳️ Compare Cruise Lines: Not all cruise lines sail the same waters. Some, like the Norwegian Cruise Line, may offer unique cruise deals during their peak and low season.
  • 🌡️ Balance Weather with Crowds: If warm temperatures are a must-have, consider cruising during the shoulder months, like early June or late August, when you can enjoy good weather with fewer crowds.
  • 🌀 Stay Informed on Seasons: Keep an eye on the hurricane season and rainy season runs when planning. Opting for regions less affected by these, like the Southern Caribbean, can be a safe bet.
  • 💼 Consider Package Deals: Sometimes, booking airfare with your cruise or opting for shore excursions as part of a package can lead to significant savings and less hassle.

people waving on the top deck of a ship


Finding the perfect time to cruise is an art form that blends weather patterns, crowd levels, and personal preferences into a tapestry of potential voyages. Whether you’re seeking the endless summer of a Hawaiian cruise or the rugged natural splendor of an Alaskan adventure in May and September, the world is your oyster. Chart your course, weigh the factors, and set sail on a journey tailored to your own brand of perfection!


What is the best month to go on a cruise?

The best month to cruise largely depends on the destination; however, for a blend of pleasant weather and manageable prices, May and September often stand out. These months typically skirt the busy peak seasons while offering favorable climates and smaller crowds, ideal for destinations like the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Alaska.

What is the cheapest month to cruise?

The cheapest month to cruise is typically during the shoulder or off-peak seasons when demand is lower. January, after the holiday rush, and early fall, such as late September through early November (excluding holiday cruises), often yield low prices. During these times, cruise lines are keen to fill cabins and may offer compelling deals.

How many days is best for a cruise?

The ideal duration for a cruise can vary based on the itinerary and personal preferences, but a 7-day cruise is often recommended. This length allows for a full exploration of diverse ports and ample time to enjoy onboard amenities without feeling rushed. It strikes a good balance between relaxation and adventure.

What time should I board my cruise?

You should aim to arrive at your cruise port at least a few hours before your ship’s scheduled departure. Generally, boarding begins around noon, so planning to arrive at the cruise terminal between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. can offer a smooth start to your trip, avoiding any last-minute rush and giving you time to begin enjoying the ship’s facilities.