Where Else To Go
There are cruises to the Far and the Middle East in November, where you can explore such exotic ports as Hong Kong, home of what many believe is the world’s finest skyline, the ultra-modern metropolis of Singapore and Dubai, where the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa can be found. Hawaii offers quite a few cruise opportunities too, and you’ll have the chance to catch some much-needed rays as you relax on the beaches at such ports as Honolulu and Kailua.
If you want to sample the delights of South America, there are several itineraries available where you can visit cities such as Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas in Mexico, experience Santiago in Chile, and explore the legacy of the Incas in Peru. There are also many cruises which journey along the man-made wonder of the world the Panama Canal.
Best Time Of Year To Cruise The Polar Regions
ArcticThe main season for Arctic cruises is summer, as most ships head north into the “The Land of the Midnight Sun” from May to September. The “24-hour daylight” in the Arctic Circle means sailings tend to be shorter and stay in the south of the region, as the winter ice is still melting. July and August is when the Arctic’s flora comes into full bloom and the warmer temperatures make for ideal wildlife watching as Arctic birds, polar bears, walruses, seals and whales are actively hunting and raising their young.
Insider Tip: Smaller expedition ships use the warmer months of July and August to push even farther north, in some cases to the North Pole and through the Northwest Passage.
Despite freezing temperatures and days filled with darkness during the winter months, more and more people are taking Arctic cruises from October through April mainly due to Aurora Borealis. The chance to experience the natural spectacle of the Northern Lights in Norway, Iceland and throughout the Arctic Circle have gained in popularity and made expedition cruises to the Arctic a year-round adventure.
Insider Tip: November voyages tend to be colder and wildlife may be less visible as the polar ice is still breaking up. Access to some areas may be limited, but this time also offer the most impressive icescapes, most pristine snow and the most stunning scenery of the year.
Research Festivals And Holidays
In general, South America is well-known for its Easter celebrations, so this is often a wonderful time to visit if you’re particularly interested in South American religious traditions and culture. Brazil’s Carnival season takes place during the five days leading up to Ash Wednesday, typically in March this is a very memorable time to experience Brazil. And Day of the Dead is a continent-wide celebration in November that’s unlike any other in the world. During this week-long festival, locals join processions to cemeteries and create elaborate altars of food and flower arrangements, making for an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors.
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How Can I Avoid Spending A Fortune On Drinks
The easiest way to do this is to take as much as youre allowed with you. The amount does vary by company so read the fine print. Most cruise lines will typically allow travelers to bring one or two bottles of wine. Or you can drag along soda or beer, if thats more your speed. The restrictions tend to apply more to alcoholic beverages than soft or sports drinks. Therefore, you might be able to keep bringing more on as your supply runs out. Just keep in mind that some cruise lines wont allow this.
You might even want to look at getting a beverage card that allows you to pay a flat rate per day instead of paying for them individually. However, do the math to make sure that it will save you money. It often doesnt. This can likewise be the case with the daily drink specials, which might not actually be any cheaper than they were originally.
Best Time Of Year To Cruise Hawaii & The South Pacific
HawaiiThe Hawaiian Islands can be comfortably cruised all year long, however, the ideal time to cruise is in the summer and fall, which is also the driest time of year. Summer is the most popular travel period due to school vacations, so the sweet spot may be mid-September through October. November to February is where youll find some of the best deals for cruising, excluding holidays or special events.
Insider Tip: If you plan on embarking on a whale watching excursion in Hawaii, late October through May are regarded as the best months to go, as the most whale sightings typically happen between January and March.
South PacificIn the South Pacific, August through October sees minimal rainfall. These months are also outside of the typhoon season, which is November to April. January to March is typically the most cost-effective time to cruise, but there is a better chance of inclement weather and ships may have to change course to steer clear of storms.
Paul Gauguin’s ship is the only vessel that is in the South Pacific year round.
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Best Cruise Lines For Luxury
Smaller cruise lines with ships that fit hundreds rather than thousands of guests dominated U.S. News’ luxury rankings list.
Viking, a cruise line based in Basel, Switzerland, is no stranger to accolades. It topped U.S. News’ luxury list last year too despite Chairman Torstein Hagen indicating he isn’t a fan of the word.
“I have outlawed the use of the word ‘luxury’ I think we are elegant, we are understated and hopefully timeless,” he said at a naming celebration for seven new river boats in March 2019, according to cruising website QuirkyCruises.com.
Also on the list: Silversea Cruises and Oceania Cruises .
Tips For Buying The Best Cruise Insurance
Whether its your first cruise or one of many, having the right travel insurance is important. The highest numbers of claims from cruise passengers come under trip cancellation, travel medical expenses and trip interruption coverage, according to Jason Schreier, CEO of April Travel Protection.
Here are good starting points for coverage youll likely want in a cruise insurance plan:
Trip cancellation insurance: This reimburses you 100% for the pre-paid and non-refundable deposits you lose if you have to cancel for a reason covered by the policy.
Trip interruption coverage: This will reimburse you a percentage of the unused trip costs, such as 100%, 150% or 200%, if your trip is cut short because of illness, injury, death or other reasons.
Emergency medical expenses: This pays for medical expenses associated with injuries and illness you get while on the trip. The top travel insurance plans have $500,000 in travel medical insurance, but you might find $100,000 to be sufficient for a cruise. If youre a senior, good travel medical coverage is crucial.
U.S. health plans generally have very limited or no coverage outside the country. And Medicare doesnt cover medical care outside the U.S., with only very narrow exceptions.
Emergency medical evacuation coverage: This covers the costs to get you to the nearest adequate medical facility or even back home if its medically required.
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South Pacific Cruise Season
High Season: July August
Sailing during this season: Cruises operate year-round from Australia, Fiji and Tahiti, but the peak months coincide with the holiday season. In general, the drier months from May through to October are the most ideal for cruises to the South Pacific.
Low/Shoulder Season: November April
Sailing during this season: This is considered as the wet season, when the weather is hot, wet and humid, with frequent tropical storms. Keep in mind that this is also hurricane season, however you can cruise here year-round with prices during low season being significantly cheaper.
Sailing The Mediterranean In November
The Mediterranean is also quite a popular destination for November cruises, as it still enjoys a generally favourable climate. World-famous cities such as Rome, Barcelona and Athens are all yours to explore and offer the very best in iconic architecture and historical attractions. Escape to your very own beach paradise in Corfu or in Palma de Mallorca, while further east, there’s the opportunity for a taste of the exotic in Turkey’s bustling capital Istanbul, where Europe and Asia meet in captivating style.
The rest of Europe boasts quite a few popular itineraries for November cruises, which call at such world-famous cities as Russia’s St Petersburg, Copenhagen in Denmark and Germany’s Hamburg. Memorable cities such as Portugal’s capital Lisbon, Helsinki in Finland and Estonia’s charming capital Tallinn are also yours to explore.
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Maximize Ship To Shore Fun
For festival lovers, the best time to cruise Mexico is when land visits coincide with port city celebrations. Events take place at port communities throughout the year, but cities strut their best stuff during their signature happenings. Every November, Puerto Vallarta hosts the annual Festival Gourmet International Vallarta culinary extravaganza. The 10-day event attracts chefs from around the world to showcase their talent at area restaurants. Maximize land fun on a spring break cruise along Mexicos Caribbean coast at Cancuns Inception Music Festival. The 30-day celebration known as the worlds largest spring break event stages entertainment at resorts and clubs throughout the period. Planning a Mexico cruise for months coinciding ship activities with shore celebrations delivers an extra punch of fun and entertainment.
Best Time To Cruise Usa Canada & Mexico
USA & CanadaSailings in New England and eastern Canada are ideal between May through October, with the warmest weather between late June and early September. The best time to cruise to this region of North America may be the first half of October on a fall foliage cruise, but sailings in May and later in October typically bring the biggest discounts.
Insider Tip: The Mississippi River winds through 10 U.S. states and is popular for paddlewheeler cruises from June through September or October. Peak cruising time on the Upper Mississippi is October to December and February to mid-June, with Spring and Fall being the most pleasant times for a cruise in this region.
Cruises through the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. and Canada generally occur in late spring through early fall. These months have mostly comfortable daytime temperatures and are also arguably the best cruise months for wildlife viewing, including the chance to watch orca whales, porpoise, seals and sea lions.
MexicoMexico can be cruised year-round, either as a dedicated Mexico trip or as part of a western Caribbean voyage. A cruise to Mexico can be vastly different though depending on the cruise line you choose can even vary dramatically depending on the particular area of Mexico you’re traveling to.The famous rock formation of Land’s End, near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
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Best Time To Cruise Australia & New Zealand
Most cruise travelers choose to visit Australia and New Zealand between November and March. Because the seasons are reversed from what Americans are used to, these months coincide with holiday vacations and bring the best weather for cruising this wonderful and diverse part of the world.
Australia is ideal at the beginning of the year.
The ideal period to travel “down under” is between early February and mid-March, which is also the warmest time of the year in this region. New Zealands climate is generally temperate, but tends to vary more than Australia’s, so its recommended to travel with layers no matter when you visit.
Insider Tip: From a value standpoint, you may want to plan your Australian adventure in October, November or April, as the weather is relatively warm during these months and there is a greater possibility of finding discounted fares.
What Are The Best Months For Wildlife & Activities
Spotting wildlife is always unpredictable in Alaska, but your best bet of getting pics of wildlife ashore is probably late May and early June, when mothers and their calves or cubs tend to be out and about. One exception: If you want to do a bear-watching shore excursion, prime bear season is not until late June or early July.
Denali: If you want to do a land tour that includes the national park, dont come during the May shoulder season. Denali National Park doesnt open up until early June.
Want to fish ashore? Fishing is good during any monththere are just different species of salmon that peak as the weeks go by.
Summer berry-picking on shore is best late in August or early September.
If you want to see fall foliage ashore, wait until the first week of September. It remains good through the third week of September.
Hate mosquitoes? If youre doing a land tour, come during either shoulder season
See a full calendar of Alaskas natural events.
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Temperature & Daylight Hours
For the warmest temperatures, cruise between mid-June and mid-August.
For the most Midnight Sun, come 3 weeks before or after the summer solstice and longest day of the year, June 21.
Want to see the northern lights? Thats a long shot during cruising season. It does get dark enough at night to see them by the second week of September, but it’s still not as brilliant as what youll see on a winter, land-based Alaska aurora viewing vacation.
Best Time To Take An Alaskan Cruise
Alaska has a very short cruising season – summertime. With cruise ships traversing its waters from late April through September, the peak time to experience “The Last Frontier” is between mid-June and early August due to the longer days, optimal weather and propensity to spot wildlife.
Alaska’s beauty is in full bloom in the summertime.
However, if youd like to cruise Alaska when you can score the best bargains, the months of May and September are often ideal. May is the driest month of the Alaska cruise season, which can mean some special excursions like glacier walks and flightseeing are less ideal. Alaskan wildlife is usually quite active in May, too. You can expect to see bears feeding on grassy hillsides, moose grazing in willow graves, whales breaching, birds overhead and more.
Insider Tip: Cruising to Alaska in May and September typically means cruising for a better price and having more room on board, however the wildlife and scenery may not be exactly the same as in peak season.
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Cruising The Caribbean In November
As you may expect with winter fast approaching, the Caribbean is an extremely popular choice when it comes to November cruises, as many of us begin to plan our escapes from the cold. Whether you cruise from one of Florida’s sunny embarkation ports, San Juan in Puerto Rico or the UK port of Tilbury, you can be assured of a great itinerary.
From the tropical escape of Gustavia on St Bart’s and Antigua’s beautiful capital St John’s to the bustling shopping mecca of Castries on St Lucia and the enduring appeal of Barbados, there really is something for everyone cruising through the Caribbean in November.
The Best Time Of Year For Each Cruise Destination
Weve all been in that situation where its time to plan your holidays for next year but youve got no idea where to go. Even though the local weather and climate dont affect where and when you should cruise compared to other types of holidays, there are still some things to bear in mind. Weve gathered a few tips to make it easier to find the perfect destination for your next cruise.
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Indian Summer In September/october
The second wave of repositioning cruises starts in late September and early October as cruise ships switch regions once again. Passengers can look forward to another round of repositioning or transatlantic cruises. There tend to be fewer cruises to destinations in the northern hemisphere such as the Baltic Sea, Europe, the United States, and Canada, and even ships in the Mediterranean usually make a break for the Caribbean. A handful of cruise lines offer Canada and New England cruises so passengers can experience the beautiful fall colours before winter sets in.
Another option is to cruise the Middle East, cruising through the Suez Canal towards Dubai. A handful of ships continue on through the Persian Gulf, while others head towards the Indian Ocean or southeast Asia, making places like Singapore or Hong Kong their seasonal home port.
Keep in mind: July to December is typhoon season in several Asian countries, including China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
How Much Should I Budget For Additional Expenses
One of the best things about cruises is that youre largely in control of how spendy you need to be you can do activities at every port that cost money, or you can lounge around at inexpensive or free beaches and chill in the sand.
A number of cruise lines even have onboard restaurants that are not included in their meal plans so you have to pay separately for them. If you plan on going to the spa or doing some shopping while youre on the cruise, youll need to adjust your budget accordingly. Most American cruise ships also charge gratuities per guest on a daily basis. The rate does vary slightly from company to company. Travelers should also be aware that onboard spas and bars automatically charge extremely high percentages as tips when it comes to their services. If you plan on using them, be prepared to pay more than the listed rates.
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