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Cruising in the Off Season

Updated on October 22, 2014

Explore Off Season Cruising

Off season cruising can be a wonderful way to see top cruise destinations when they are less crowded and less costly. Explore what it means to go cruising in the off season, and learn more about the pros and cons of taking a cruise during off season or low season.

Save money; cruise the offseason.
Save money; cruise the offseason.

Perks of Cruising the Off Season

If you schedule your cruise during off season, you'll enjoy several perks. Top advantages of off-season cruising include:

  • Less crowds - All of those other tourists have all gone home, which allows you to explore cruise amenities and shore excursions with less crowds.
  • Cheaper everything - From your air fare to your cruise cabin to the prices you encounter in restaurants, hotels, and attractions, you will find lower price points. If you're looking to take a budget vacation, your vacation dollars will stretch further when cruising the off season.
  • More restful - For cruisers in search of quiet, romance, and unwinding, off season can't be beat. Fewer crowds and less kids mean more time to unwind and connect.

Cons of Off Season Cruising

When you sign up for a low season cruise, you assume a fair amount of risk. If the weather is bad, your cruise can be unpleasant or downright dangerous.

Cons to consider include:

  • Unpleasant weather - Rain, humidity, fog, cold, and damp are some of the weather conditions you could experience. You may spend more time on ship in bad weather. While there's still plenty to do on board, you won't exactly have the vacation you dreamed of.
  • Closed for the season - Some top attractions or shore excursions may be closed for the season if you visit during low season. If you really want to see a particular museum, natural wonder, or other element, do some research to make sure that it will be open if you book a low season cruise. Contact the cruise company directly to ask whether a desired shore excursion runs year-round.
  • Itinerary subject to change - In some cases, your cruise itinerary can change due to unpleasant weather. In a Caribbean cruise, a tropical storm could have you switching out islands. In a Bahamas cruise, you might end up touring the Chesapeake Bay instead. If you're selecting a cruise based on destination, contact the company directly to find out what, if any, itinerary changes they have made in the past.

When is Off Season Cruising?

There's no set time of year that means "off season" cruising for all cruise destinations. Different destinations have different peak seasons and low seasons. So, you may find that some locations are in the middle of high season while others are in low season or shoulder season (the time between high and low season). Some areas are pleasant to cruise year round, so they don't really have an off-season.

Before you book a fare it's important to know when the area you want to visit experiences their high and low season. Typical low seasons include:

  • Atlantic hurricane season - The entire Atlantic seaboard, from Canada through the Caribbean, has lower fares during hurricane season.
  • Late spring in Alaska - Alaskan peak season in the summer. Cruises begin operating in the late spring, which offers wetter and chillier weather.
  • Peak summer - The heat and humidity of peak summer make it a less than ideal time for North America cruises.
  • Rainy season - Tropical areas that experience a rainy season are less pleasant to cruise during that season. For Australia, rainy season includes June, July and August.

Explore a full list of off season times for cruises. You may find that you can push back your vacation just a few weeks and save hundreds off your cruise fare and airline tickets.

What is your favorite cruise destination?

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© 2014 Lindsey D.

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