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When is the best time to cruise?

If you are planning a cruise vacation then definitely read this article that answers the question about when is the best time to cruise. A lot of travelers think that there is an abundance of ships and therefore, plenty of cruise products to choose from. However, that is not quite the case. While a lot of cruise lines do dispatch their many vessels to year-round destinations like the Caribbean, there are some important things to know about cruise seasons. For example, Alaska and Europe are also popular destinations, but they are seasonal with limited cruising opportunities.

On the other hand, there are times throughout the year that you may want to cruise because there are fewer crowds in port, or there are better deals to be had.

Before going through the cruise planning process, take some time to think about the cruise seasons. Sailing during peak season often brings crowds to the larger ships, and prices tend to be higher. Sailing during shoulder season is often less crowded (especially in busy port towns), and there are usually some enticing promotions. With that said, seasonal cruises where weather dictates inventory will sell out in advance and also will fetch top dollar.

Cruise Seasons

Peak: April thru early June; late Aug. thru Oct. 

Spring cruise destinations: the Caribbean, River Cruises, Mediterranean and Greece, Repositioning cruises

Summer cruise destinations: Bermuda, Baltic, Mediterranean and Greece, Alaska, 

Fall cruise destinations: Repositioning cruises, Canada and New England, Mediterranean and Greece

Winter cruise destinations:  Caribbean, Asia, South America, Antarctica, Panama Canal, Australia, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera


Peak Season (highest prices)

Shoulder Season (value season)

The Caribbean, and the Bahamas

December – early April

June – October (hurricane season) 

South America

January – early April

November through March


December – February



January – May

November -December, and  March-May


June through August

Early June; late August -October


April – early June; late August – October

Shoulder season


June through August

May through early June; late August – September

Canada and New England

Late September through October

May or early June


May through August

May through  early June; late September through October

Europe Rivers

May through the end of June

River cruising depends on water levels. 

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