A few small ship cruises travel year-round, but for the most part, the ships move around throughout the year. You can choose when to take a cruise based on the destination you want to see, or choose your cruise destination based on the time of year you want to travel! Check out our guide on when these destinations are available, and start imagining your journey today!
We now have a cruise ship year-round in the Sea of Cortes! The Safari Voyager is a luxury yacht, ready all year long to give you a tour of local life, as well as hunt for the best photo opportunities with the wildlife (like this picture of the dolphin pods) of the region Cousteau called, “The Aquarium of the World.”
The Mekong and Ayeyarwady Rivers are open to river cruising all year long! The Mekong allows you an adventure in Vietnam and Cambodia, while the Ayeyarwady will take you through the wonders of Myanmar (Burma). These cruises offer a unique window into the beauty and culture of the region, and you’ll want to visit again to find more hidden treasures! (Cruises in China are available from March to November, but fill up quickly. It may be prudent to book a year in advance – or more!)
WINTER DESTINATIONS (December thru February)
The Christmas Markets make Winter a popular time to cruise the European rivers. These cruises start late November and continue through the month of December. But these are the most popular European cruises – they sell out! Try to book at least a year in advance (sometimes you can great discounts by booking early!) There are European cruises almost year-round, traveling March thru December.
In Winter, ships head South to warmer waters. Florida and Louisiana seem to stay warm each winter, no matter how much snow falls on the rest of the nation. In December and February, you’ll find boats on the lower Mississippi River, cruising roundtrip from New Orleans. And there are also ships cruising the Great Rivers of Florida and Historic South & Golden Isles in December, with special cruise opportunities for Christmas!
Begin the new year in the warm sun! January thru March, you can find the Grande Caribe cruising through the waters of Belize, Guatemala and the Bahamas. Enjoy the crystal blue waters and sandy beaches – a welcome escape from the wintry cold of home!
November to March, the Safari Explorer cruises round and round the Islands of Hawaii, visiting four islands on their week-long itineraries! This luxury cruise will give you amazing opportunities to try local cuisine, enjoy local music and entertainment, as well as get out into the ocean with the wildlife! Take along the whole family on special Kids in Nature cruise dates, designed with all ages in mind.
Maybe you don’t want to escape the cold in Winter, but still want to cruise? Head ALL THE WAY South to Antarctica for a Winter cruise you’ll never forget! It may seem counter-intuitive to go during Winter, but if its Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, its SUMMER in the Southern Hemisphere. Our Winter is the best time of year to cruise to Antarctica because it’s the warmest it’ll ever get all year.
SPRING DESTINATIONS (March thru May)
San Juan Islands & British Columbia
The San Juan Islands are the hidden jewels of Washington State! The region’s history was constantly under a dispute over territory between the U.S. and Canada until boundaries were finally decided in 1872, but the wilderness remains the same! For relaxation and fun, see what awaits for you among the islands. In the Spring, enjoy Tulip Festivals, whale watching, wine tasting, and more!
The Spring is when East Coast cruise ships start to slowly make their way North along the coastline. May is when the ships hit the Chesapeake Bay! Fresh crab, cool beaches, and legendary battlefields from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars will make the Bay come alive!
SUMMER DESTINATIONS (June thru August)
Alaska is a fantastic summer destination, although the seasons start in the Spring and some ships stay until Fall. We have many ships that cruise North to Alaska, and are excited about them all! Whether the focus is history, luxury, or adventure, Alaska is better on a small ship – the small ships will take you right up to the coastline to see glaciers and wildlife, dock at small towns so you can experience authentic Alaskan life, and the captain will take you to the whale pods to say hello! Here’s a great guide to help you decide when would be your best time to visit:
Not all cruise ships were made to or are adventurous enough to transit the Erie Canal, but there are a few that make their way to the Great Lakes for a fun and fantastic summer! From 7-night to 15-night cruises, these ships hit all the great spots, as well as find time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the area. The Grande Caribe and Grande Mariner are veterans to the region, traveling to the Great Lakes every summer. The Yorktown recently came back to the river, and has enjoyed an annual pilgrimage to the Great Lakes. This year, Nadine even visited the ship for a special 4th of July cruise! The Pearl Mist will be venturing to the Great Lakes in 2014 for the first time – what an exciting way to visit!
New England is a popular Summer destination for cruise ships! All the ships move North when the weather gets warmer (you don’t want to spend your cruise sweating in the South in the middle of July!), and you’ll find quite a few ships cruising the coastline of Maine and through the islands of New England.
Upper Mississippi & Ohio Rivers
A Mississippi River cruise is always popular, but the warmer weather allows the boats to paddle all the way North to St. Paul on the Mississippi, and East to Pittsburgh on the Ohio River!
There’s no better time to visit the polar bears up North then the middle of Summer! Some of these European cruises visit the Falkland Islands, Norway, Greenland and/or Iceland – depending on how long of a cruise you want to take. It’s an unique cruise that will make all your friends jealous!
FALL FOLIAGE CRUISES (September thru November)
San Juan Islands & British Columbia
The San Juan Islands are the hidden jewels of Washington State! The region’s history was constantly under a dispute over territory between the U.S. and Canada until boundaries were finally decided in 1872, but the wilderness remains the same! For relaxation and fun, see what awaits for you among the islands.
The Pacific Northwest is a popular Fall cruise destination. Visit Washington and Oregon (and maybe a little Idaho) on a Columbia and Snake Rivers cruise. In 2014, we have cruise ships that travel from Portland to Clarkston (and reverse) and we have one ship traveling roundtrip from Portland. We have paddlewheels, small ships, and a replica coastal steamer. However you want to ride the river, let us know!
The Hudson River Valley has always been a popular Fall destination, because of the bright colors on the trees and history of the region. We have three cruise options for the Hudson River that cruises in September and October annually: the Grande Caribe and Grande Mariner cruise Hudson River, Erie Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway for 13 nights; the Yorktown spends 7-nights cruising the Fall Foliage Voyage to New England and the Hudson River; and the American Glory, American Star, and Independence provide a 7-night annual Hudson River Fall Foliage cruise.