The Best Time of Year to Cruise

We’re going to give away the secret of the best time of year to cruise early on in this article – you can cruise year-round!
That’s right, you can set sail whenever you like.

Of course, like most travel, certain regions have peak times of year, and some ships such as the Princess Majestic is in Australian waters six months of the year and is sailing around Asia the other six months.

There are other factors to consider when selecting your next cruise such as price, your schedule, destination, and any specialty factors such as festivals, wildlife or landscapes you are wanting to experience.

Striking the right balance between finding the perfect ship, that’s sailing to your dream destination in the right season at the right price can be tough. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to help you decide where and when to take your next cruise holiday.

Here is our comprehensive list of the best time of year to cruise according to your desired destination.

Africa Cruises: When To Go

Visiting Africa by cruise is best done January to April as this is when the coastal towns are lively and you will avoid the rainy weather in most parts of the country. The warmer months also increase your chances of a successful safari as the dryer landscapes mean animals will congregate around the remaining water sources. 
Cape Town Africa | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Alaska

Alaska is a place of wonder year-round, but to make the most of your trip book your cruise between May and September. Now one of the most popular cruising regions in the world, Alaska has much to offer from Denali National Park to incredible wildlife to artic sand dunes and more.

Our hot tip is to travel during September as this is when you are likely to see bears catching salmon on their voyage back to the ocean, the glaciers are melting so you will see more fall ice caps and with the season ending in October, you’ll also enjoy the best sales in local stores!
Alaska | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise South America

South America Cruises are best taken between the months of November to March as this is when the rivers are at their fullest, the wildlife is visible and the landscapes are luscious and vibrant. Keep in mind travelling to South America in rainy season doesn’t mean monsoons or hurricanes, it simply means a little more rain than other times of the year, which makes the destination more appealing.
South America | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

When to take an Antarctica Cruise

A magical place, you can adventure to the bottom of the world from November through to March while the region has day light and is in the warmer months. It’s also the best time to travel to see whales, while penguin hatching season begins in January.
Antartic | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise the Arabian Peninsula

The Arabian Peninsula consists of: Oman, Yemen, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and some parts of Southern Iran and Jordan.

The best time to cruise this world of magic carpets, genies in bottles and magical kingdoms is November through to March.
United Arab Emirates | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise South East Asia

The best time to embark on a South East Asian adventure by cruise is September to February, however, the region is popular year round. Full of festive cultures, there are a myriad of things to do and see in South East Asia and there is never a bad time to visit.

Countries considered South East Asia are Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and West Malaysia, the East Indies and Malay Archipelago, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, Indonesia, East Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Taiwan.
Cambodia | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

North East Asia Cruises: When To Go

As with the southern part of Asia, you can cruise to North East Asia year round, with peak season sitting between May to September depending on your specific destination. Countries considered northeast Asia are China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, Russia, and South Korea.
Hong Kong | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Japan

Cruising to Japan is best enjoyed through cherry blossom season which starts in March and runs through to the beginning of May. While the season is spread over months, one area’s blossoms will only be open for a week or so at a time so travelling for this phenomena can be difficult to organise.
Japan | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Australia

Similar to Asia, Australia is an all year travel destination. The summer months tend to be the most popular to cruise, and hence the cooler months from April to October tend to be quieter (and a little cheaper) to explore your own backyard.
Australia | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

New Zealand Cruises: When To Go

Cruising in New Zealand can be done year-round, however, there are distinct differences in cruising here compared to Australia. You can expect a different climate, landscapes and cultures in Aotearoa.

From the dramatic fjiordland of the South Island to the striking Bay of Islands perched a top the North Island, there is much to see on your next New Zealand cruise.
New Zealand | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best time to Cruise the South Pacific

The best time to cruise the South Pacific is August to October as this is the regions driest period, is before the crowds of Christmas and New Years and is outside of cyclone season.

Having said that the colourful reefs, white sand beaches, and vibrant rainforests are generally fabulous to visit year round, and even during the wet season you’ll have an amazing experience on a port day.
South Pacific | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Canada & New England

Colonial history, rugged coastlines dotted with seaside villages and opulent mansions await travellers during May to October. July and August are the warmer months to travel (reads: still cool by Aussie measures). The ships are popular with families in summer and mostly child free in Autumn. 

Autumn is a very popular time to visit due to the breathtaking beauty of the deciduous trees shedding their leaves in a curtain of golden yellows and oranges. This is a must see!
Canada | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

When to Cruise the Caribbean

It’s never a bad time to be in the Caribbean! Similar to Australia’s climate, the Caribbean is near perfect all times of the year. Even rainy season will generally give you a few hours of dry weather per day to explore the cultural gems this destination has to offer.
Bahamas | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Cuba

Cruises around Cuba run year-round as this tropical destination never disappoints. Dry season is between December to May while wet season begins in June and varies. If your visit coincides with December, aim to see the Havana’s Jazz Festival.
Cuba | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise the Mediterranean

Despite the continent being much smaller than the US there are significantly varying cultures and climates which makes cruising the Mediterranean an attractive for year round cruising destination. The right time of year greatly depends on what kind of experience you are interested in, although generally speaking it is May to September. The Canary Islands and Spain are beautiful in January and February, while you will find great deals for cruises in March and April.
Mediterranean | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Northern Europe

The best time to cruise Northern Europe is May to September with the late summer providing ideal weather conditions. A cruise to northern Europe is one of the best ways to enjoy the destination without having navigate the roads, train stations or planning where to stay or dine. You can enjoy the most important attractions, history, art and natural beauty without worry!
Northern Europe | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Hawaii

Another tropical climate means another destination that will be available for you to enjoy any month of the year you please! Dry season is April to October with rain more likely to fall from June to August. Your cruise will be busier between December to March, while ticket prices and crowds will drop between April and June.
Hawaii | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Best Time to Cruise Mexico

Mexico boasts a similar climate to the Caribbean with warm tropical weather year round. Dry season stretches October to April, while wet season is generally contained to July and August. The ideal month to travel to Mexico is said to be November, as it is before peak season (crowds) has the absolute best weather and is the start of whale watching season.
Mexico | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

When is the Best Time to Cruise the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is enjoyed between October to May with peak season in October, November, March and April. In between this time the rain makes the region much less enjoyable and this once-in-a-lifetime destination is quite expensive and hence should be enjoyed!

Full or Partial Crossings
Cruisers have two choices when selecting a Panama Canal cruise, a full crossing will have the ship sail through the canal with guests on board, while a partial crossing the ship enters the mouth, lets guests out for an excursion but does not continue.

It generally takes a day to cruise the 50 mile length of the canal. This can also be done on a day trip if you select a partial crossing.
Panama | The Best Time of Year to Cruise | Global Explorer

Around The World Cruise: When To Go

You can depart and enjoy this ultimate travel experience year round! It simply depends on your schedule and where you would like to depart.

Repositioning Cruises: When to Take Advantage of These

Repositioning cruises are a great opportunity to enjoy a cruise at a discounted rate when a ship is being moved from between its summer and winter bases. Be mindful that this will generally mean more sea days.

You will find Transatlantic repositioning cruises year round, while cruising the Pacific and Asia will generally happen during March to May, August and September. North and South American repositioning cruises can be found from February to April and September to November.

Cannot wait to book your next cruise? Talk to our cruise experts at Global Explorer to discover the world your way on 1300 886 779.

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