Boasting miles of white beaches, tropical greenery and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder that the Caribbean is a popular cruise destination. As an all year round holiday hotspot, it can be hard to decide when to go so to help you choose the best time to cruise the Caribbean, here’s a month by month guide.
Between December and April, the Caribbean experiences the least rainfall so you can make the most out of each and every stunning destination you have the opportunity to visit on your cruise itinerary. While prices do tend to be higher during this season, there is still the possibility of finding cheaper cruise fares if you avoid busier times such as school holidays, making it one of the best times to cruise the Caribbean.
For those wanting to enjoy a Christmas treat, December is a great time of year for winter sun and dry weather so you can make the most out of shore excursions. When it comes to cost, the end of the month can be expensive as it’s the school holidays and New Year, however, in general, the first couple of weeks are cheaper if you have the flexibility to avoid the crowds that come later in December.
Top tips– make sure you pack appropriate clothes for the warm weather, as well as swimwear as it will be hard to resist jumping into the inviting waters. However, even though hurricane season is over by December, you should still be prepared for the occasional winter storm.
Highlights– if you are cruising the Caribbean between Christmas and New year, Junkanoo is a real highlight. A tradition which began in celebration of the emancipation of slaves, cruisers can expect colourful, vibrant street parades and parties.
January and February
With the kids back at school and the adults back at work, January and February are a great time to escape the winter blues in pursuit of sunnier weather. As the crowds tend to have dispersed at this time of year, fares are lower, while temperatures are still high. What’s more, there’s no need to worry about rainfall as the dry season continues, especially in February.
Top tips– with temperatures soaring in these months, don’t forget to pack sensibly for the warm weather, with plenty of sun cream to keep you protected. However, don’t forget that the UK will be cold so pack something cosy for your return.
Highlights– get into the party feeling when you travel to the Caribbean in February thanks to Carnival, the big celebration in this part of the world which happens around lent. Be prepared for huge street parties filled with song, dance and tempting local cuisine.
March and April
With British cruise lines such as P&O repositioning for the summer in Europe, this is the perfect time of year to experience American-style cruising. It is also still dry season so there is plenty of opportunity to soak up the famous Caribbean sunshine as you cruise around the stunning islands and embark on exciting shore excursions.
Top tips– if you choose to holiday at this time of year, you should be prepared for larger crowds if your holiday coincides with Spring Break in the USA, where lots of American families and college students head out on a cruise.
Highlights– while there is a party atmosphere in the Caribbean over Easter, this is also a great time of year for wildlife enthusiasts to visit this part of the world. From turtles nesting on the sandy beaches to hikes through the tropical surroundings, the beautiful landscapes are just waiting to be discovered.
If you want to head out on a cruise to the Caribbean without the crowds, May is a great month as school holidays are yet to begin, although you may notice price increases in preparation for the busy summer season. In addition, while the Southern Caribbean tends to remain relatively dry, there can be rain in places such as Antigua, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
Top tips– while temperatures will remain high during May, the dry season is reaching its end so make sure you pack waterproofs as well to avoid getting caught out in the rain.
Highlights– Antigua Sailing Week and Pure Grenada Music Festival are popular events in May which give cruisers a real insight into local life. What’s more, those who enjoy being in the sea will be delighted to learn that this is one of the best times of the year to embark on a diving adventure thanks to the excellent underwater visibility.
While the Hurricane season officially takes place from June through to November, its peak tends to be around September and October, making these the cheapest months to cruise the Caribbean. If you’re willing to be a little flexible as your itinerary could be disrupted due to bad weather, you could find yourself bagging a bargain holiday, which is why some consider it the best time to cruise the Caribbean. However, if you do choose to travel earlier in the season, you should expect busier ships and ports of call as July and August coincide with school holidays not only in the UK, but also in the USA.
While June is technically in hurricane season, you’re still likely to experience fantastic weather and with it not being the school holidays or the peak of summer yet, guests can expect lower cruise fares before the crowds start flooding in.
Top tips– while hurricane activity in June is unlikely, there is a chance of heavy rains at times, so it’s best to make sure you are prepared by packing waterproofs, just in case.
Highlights– alongside diving, turtle watching and hiking, visitors to the Caribbean in June may also be lucky enough to enjoy St. Kitts Music Festival.
July and August
Boasting hot weather and warm sea temperatures, July and August can be one of the best times for a cruise to the Caribbean, although cruisers should expect some rain in the Eastern Caribbean with August being wet particularly in the Bahamas, Martinique and Dominica. However, the rain won’t stop you having a fantastic time exploring each port of call and diving into the vibrant culture of local life.
Top tips– with rain on the cards, it’s sensible to pack waterproofs to keep you dry when you’re out and about. In addition, July and August coincide with school holidays in the USA and UK, so guests should expect to pay more for cruises and come across larger crowds during their holiday.
Highlights– throughout the summer months guests can enjoy markets, parades and celebrations across the Caribbean, combining to create a truly unique party atmosphere. In Barbados there’s Crop Over to celebrate the end of the sugarcane harvest and in Grenada, Spicemas takes place to honour the culture and heritage of the island.
September, October and November
While temperatures remain high, during September, October and November, hurricanes are at their most likely to happen. However, if you’re willing to take the risk of your itinerary being altered, you’ll be rewarded with cheaper cruise fares as the number of cruisers reduces at this time of year.
Top tips– if you do choose a cruise in September, October or November, you should be prepared to be flexible. You’re unlikely to get caught in a storm as ships are equipped to sail away from them, but your itinerary may well be altered for this reason, so don’t be disappointed if this happens.
Highlights– full of street parties, dancing, music and local delicacies, Pirates Week on the Cayman Islands is always a highlight of a cruise at this time of year, as is the food and rum festival in Barbados.
Now you’ve read all about the best time to cruise the Caribbean all that’s left to do is book. Check out our great cruise deals and get ready to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. If you want to learn more about cruising the Caribbean, check out our blog before you go.