The Best Cruise for Every Month of the Year
WHEN you plan to hit the high seas plays a major role in WHERE you go. To help you pick the perfect voyage, we're breaking down the best cruise for every month.
New year, new you. Going away doesn’t mean casting aside your resolutions. Stick to your goals on the Seabourn Sojourn. (Might we suggest the 14-day passage to Seychelles, Phuket, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives?) A holistic health program in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil gives guests access to expanded spa facilities, pampering treatments, Pilates, yoga, meditation, and a state-of-the-art gym. No wonder it’s such a hit with wellness enthusiasts!
Come February, ice, snow, and freezing temps and can have you feeling the winter blues. Luckily, warm weather and sunshine await in the Caribbean. For a family-friendly vacation, Rob Clabbers, president of Q Cruise + Travel, a Virtuoso Agency, recommends Royal Caribbean’s new Symphony of The Seas, the world’s largest ship. “Two three-story twisting and turning water slides will certainly appeal to kids of all ages!”
The end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere is perfect for a trip to Australia and New Zealand. The climate is comfortable and the scenery spectacular. The 600-passenger Seabourn Encore has a 16-day itinerary with shore excursions to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and optional ventures like exploring Fiordland National Park via kayak. Bonus: It docks in the iconic Sydney Harbour.
Cherry blossoms, seasonal festivals, and mild temperatures make April a lovely month to visit Japan. Princess Cruises boasts an array of getaways that immerse travelers in local culture and provide a front-row seat to the beautiful blooms. In addition to docking at dazzling destinations, guests can expect authentic onboard experiences such as freshly prepared sashimi and Eastern-inspired spa services. Don’t miss these under-the-radar spots you can only see in Japan.
Beat the crowds by booking your European escape on Norwegian Epic in advance of summer. The seven-day Western Mediterranean journey stops at picturesque ports throughout Spain, France, and Italy. Tour grand piazzas in Naples, sample wood-fired pizza and visit storied attractions in Rome (don’t miss these secret enchantments of the Eternal City), pack your SPF for some sunbathing in Cannes, and gaze upon the glory of landmarks designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona.
The Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador, is a renowned for its wildlife viewing. “Although you can visit this natural paradise year-round, June is ideal because it’s the beginning of the dry season, which tends to be less busy,” says Clabbers. Celebrity Cruises boasts 15 adventurous expeditions to this bucket list-worthy locale on three ships, with the all-suite Celebrity Flora joining the fleet in late May 2019. While on your summer sea voyage, make sure to avoid these rude cruise mistakes.
“Although Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 operates most months, July is particularly excellent for a classic, seven-night Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton (London).” The waves tend to be smoother—so you’re less likely to deal with seasickness—and the weather is delightful. Spend your days lounging on the expansive decks and swimming in the pools on this fabled ocean liner.
“The Alaskan travel season runs from late May to early September, and each month has its own advantages,” notes Clabbers. August, for example, is characterized by a comfortable climate, abundant wildlife, and lush vegetation. A voyage on Holland America Line, one of the pioneers of Alaska cruises, is a great way to explore the tidewater glaciers, glimmering bays, gold rush history of The Last Frontier.
It’s no secret that Greece (and really the entirety of the Eastern Mediterranean) is a holiday hot spot, but what many people don’t know is that you can still soak in the sun and splendor—sans crowds—in September. Hop aboard the recently refurbished Norwegian Jade for 11 blissful days of charming villages, sandy beaches, fresh seafood, ancient sites, and breathtaking views.
Dressing up in costume is always appropriate on any of the four Disney Cruise Lines’ ships, but never more so than from mid-September through early November on one of its Halloween on the High Seas cruises. Highlights include a Mickey Mouse-querade party and a Pumpkin Tree that transforms daily, and Jack-o-lanterns galore. The ships sail in the Caribbean, or for some classic leaf-peeping, set sail from New York City and head north along the Canadian coast.
The seasons in Argentina, Chile, and Peru are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re craving some warm weather before the chill of winter arrives, consider an epic escape with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Enjoy posh suites, five-star service, and upscale amenities aboard the luxury liner as you sail to vibrant cities such as Buenos Aires, Lima, and Santiago. Prep for your trip by brushing up on the most popular destinations in South America.
Christmas markets are a long-standing tradition in Europe. And by December, they’re in full swing. Think: Cozy squares with stalls selling unique gifts, mulled wine, and sweet treats. What better way to get in on the festive fun than Abercrombie & Kent’s holiday river cruise along the Danube? From trimming the tree or shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts for loved ones, not even the Grinch could resist such a heart-warming vacay. Next, find out the 28 secrets cruise lines won’t tell you.