We all need a bit of sunshine now and again, so it’s no surprise that one of the questions we often get asked is ‘when is the best time to cruise the Caribbean’? It’s a great year-round cruising destination, and with so many different islands to visit, it’s one of those places you can return to time and time again and rarely see the same thing twice.
There are just as many things to do in the Caribbean during the quieter months of the year as there are during peak season. The locations you visit will depend on whether you choose a western or eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary – there are more than 700 islands in total, so plenty to go at!
From swimming with sea turtles in Barbados to whale watching in Dominica, making chocolate in Grenada to learning to dance in Cuba, the Caribbean has it all. And if you’re still wondering when is the best time to cruise the Caribbean, we have just the information you need to help you make your decision.
Average temperatures in the Caribbean
No matter which time of year you choose to go on a Caribbean cruise, it’s highly unlikely the mercury will fall to the levels we’re used to here in the UK.
However, if you decide to holiday out of season, you might find that the temperatures drop off during the night and first thing in the morning. Some people find this is the best time to cruise the Caribbean because it gives some respite from the heat and humidity – it’s all down to your personal preference!
Thanks to the Caribbean’s tropical climate, temperatures are usually between around 25°C and 35°C no matter what time you visit. This will vary from island to island – bear in mind that the Caribbean spans over a million square miles, so no two locations are going to be the same.
High cruise season in the Caribbean
Although cruises to the Caribbean sail throughout the year, the months between November and March are considered high season. Temperatures start to rise and rainfall is at a minimum, creating a pretty much ideal climate for cruising. After all, who doesn’t want to sip on a cocktail in the sunshine, or spend the day soaking up the rays on an idyllic Caribbean beach?!
Another incentive to travel at this time of year is that it’s when you’re most likely to experience the various festivals and events that take place across the region. From Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest to the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, there are plenty of large-scale cultural events for you to enjoy.
You’re also more likely to find the destinations on your cruise itinerary are buzzing with people. If you want to immerse yourself in local culture and traditions, this might be the time to do it – but if you’re after a more relaxed vibe, then keep reading.
Is Christmas the best time to cruise the Caribbean?
Based on this information alone, it’s no surprise that so many people choose to take a Caribbean cruise at Christmas. Falling temperatures and the threat of snow can easily be swapped for warm, sunnier climes. If you decide that Christmas is the best time to cruise the Caribbean, you’ll find there’s no shortage of cruise lines just waiting to transport you there.
Imagine waking up on Christmas morning to the sight of palm trees and sparkling waters, knowing that someone else will be cooking dinner for you (and, more importantly, doing the washing up)! Many people return to Caribbean cruises year after year for the convenience it offers – maybe something for you to consider?
Mid-season cruising in the Caribbean
Come spring and the months of April, May and the beginning of June, the Caribbean begins to calm a little. The weather is still hot and the rainfall remains low by our standards, but the high season crowds have passed and there’s an all together calmer vibe to the place. If you’re looking for the most authentic taste of island life, a spring cruise to the Caribbean can be the answer.
Early June to late October is known as the Caribbean’s official hurricane season, but don’t let this put you off. It’s not uncommon for cruise lines to still offer a wide range of itineraries during this season, just bear in mind that there’s a slightly greater chance of having to change course to avoid any stormy weather. The Caribbean is spread across an enormous area and many of the destinations rarely experience storms, even during hurricane season.
The best piece of advice we can offer is to research the islands you’ll be visiting and see what average weather conditions generally look like. As well all know, accurately predicting the weather can be difficult at the best of times, but it will at least give you a vague idea of what to expect before you book your cruise holiday.
Choosing your Caribbean cruise
All in all, there isn’t a bad time to cruise to the Caribbean – it’s all down to what you want and expect from your holiday. You can take steps to minimise the amount of rainfall you come across by visiting during certain months of the year, but if you prefer cooler temperatures, that may also impact your decision.
Remember, you can also get some advice from our Cruise Experts if you’re still unsure of when is the best time to cruise to the Caribbean.