The Best Time To Cruise to the Caribbean
So you're finally planning to go on the Caribbean cruise you've always wanted to embark on. You're traveling with your three best friends who you’ve known for over 30 years.
This trip is all about you and your girlfriends and you can't wait to wear your bikini bottoms in the sun and get a tan that will last the entire year.
The Caribbean is an incredible place to cruise because of its aqua color waves, pristine beaches, and food that is crucial to really understand the flavor of Caribbean culture.
The important part about planning your Caribbean cruise is to understand the best time to travel and the best locations to head to.
The Caribbean is a pretty large place and there are several islands that are located in the Caribbean Sea. Whether you're planning to head on a Caribbean cruise passing Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or the Cayman Islands, consider this guide from La Blanca a helpful way to plan out your first Caribbean vacation.
The most important factor when embarking on your Caribbean cruise is definitely the time of year you're planning to visit. Sometimes it's simple to head on a Caribbean vacation during cold winter months but there are some ideal seasons to visit the Caribbean that you honestly don't want to pass up.
There are several year-round Caribbean cruises that are simple to depart from in Florida. In major cities like Miami and Tampa, you have a good chance of finding a cruise that heads to various islands in the Caribbean.
However, prices really skyrocket during the holiday seasons because everyone has the same idea in mind — get out of the cold and into the warm breezy weather.
If you want more desolate beaches and time for you and your girlfriends to really relax, you definitely want to head to the Caribbean islands during the month of May.
This is the time when the weather is the most pristine, and before the beaches get too crowded for you to actually enjoy them.
Is the Caribbean a Busy Place To Visit?
The Caribbean is home to some of the most popular islands in the world to travel to during the holidays. For example, Turks and Caicos, The Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica are extremely popular and fill up quickly from December to April.
A lot of loud spring breakers head down to the Caribbean for vacation in March and April. So, if you’re really trying to relax and have a getaway trip with your girlfriends you are not going to get the atmosphere you want during the holiday season and the spring break months.
The Ideal Month of May
The truth is, May is one of the only windows within the year where you can really get the calm Caribbean cruise feel. Remember, you can also go on a cruise and it doesn't need to be extremely long in duration. If it's hard for you to take off in the month of May, there are cruises that are anywhere from five to 12 days so you can honestly have a mini-vacation and not take a full month off.
What happens in the summer is that the Caribbean isn't as packed as the holiday seasons but it is extremely hot. That's why May is a prime time to visit the Caribbean islands on a cruise.
May is a month that really gives you a chance to enjoy sunny days and even bask in the sun with temperatures that crawl up to 80 degrees. While enjoying nights that are a little on the cooler side, but refresh you from the heat of the day, you can get the most ideal weather during this month.
October and November are months where the weather is comfortable, breezy, and refreshing. November does cut it a bit close to Thanksgiving, so you want to make sure that if you’re heading out on a cruise in November that you stick to the first week of the month.
The point is, you should definitely avoid the months of December, January, February, March, and April because they are the prime time that people go on Caribbean cruises. Stick to fall months like September, October, and early November.
Fall Is Also Hurricane Season
If you're able to travel on a fall cruise to the Caribbean, there is a slight chance that you will hit hurricane season. From September until early November the Caribbean gets its yearly hurricanes and in the Caribbean, they’re no joke. There is a specific zone in the Caribbean that gets hit with hurricanes much harder than in other locations so you can definitely plan around that.
Cruise lines are very aware of the hurricane seasons that happen in the Caribbean Hurricane Zones. However, there is a sense of a gamble here because you could be hit with a tropical storm or even a hurricane if you're heading to other islands in the Caribbean during the fall. The great part about heading to the Caribbean in the fall is the rates though. They are lower on cruise ships and hotels and the weather is definitely cooler than in the summer months.
The Beaches Get Crowded During Holidays
The Caribbean is absolutely one of the most frequented places in the world because of the clear blue waters, the white sands, and the weather. The Caribbean is also a highly frequented place for tourists to visit because it feels like a remote getaway during the holiday season.
There is a sense that you really “escape” when you're on Caribbean islands, especially if you're more of the adventurous type and hike, snorkel, or zipline.
Obviously, if you don't have the chance to get away in the month of May or October, then definitely go on a winter cruise to the Caribbean and you won’t be disappointed. The beaches will be crowded, but you will enjoy stunning views, breathtaking weather, and have a chance to shake your winter slump.
Winter Prices Skyrocket
A downfall about the winter cruises to the Caribbean is that rates skyrocket. Cruise lines take advantage of the fact that a lot of people are trying to visit at the same time.
December is a month that you want to avoid altogether. Christmas and New Year's definitely affect tourist sites as well, and prices are beyond ridiculous and don’t average out again until February. To stay on the safe side, you may want to skip out on visiting in early February too, and head on your cruise in the latter half of the month.
You want to keep in mind that you're getting the most bang for your buck when you're heading to the Caribbean in the fall and in the early spring.
Summer Is HOT
No matter what, you're going to find incredible tropical weather in the Caribbean, but there are definitely months that you need to prepare for in a serious way. The level of humidity that people can experience in the Caribbean in the summer is unbearable to first-time Caribbean travelers. If you're ever heading on a cruise with an elderly person or even with young children, you have to make sure that you're prepared to fully embrace the extremely hot weather that you'll experience.
That's why most people want to head to the Caribbean in the winter months or in the early spring.
It also really depends on where you want to go in the Caribbean because the weather will change depending on the Caribbean Islands that you land on. The weather in Cuba is going to feel very different than in areas in Puerto Rico.
What is important is that you check exactly where your cruise is heading so that you can prepare for the weather you will be encountering. A general rule of thumb when heading to the Caribbean is knowing that it's going to be hot and it’s going to be humid.
High Humidity Levels Until September
For summer cruises to the Caribbean, you want to make sure that you are ready for weather that hits 90 degrees and higher. And 90 degrees is not a ‘high’ in the month of August — it's actually an average temperature. So, that means that in the summer the Caribbean temperatures can get up to 100 degrees with humidity really sticking.
The humidity in the Caribbean is not like Miami or Florida humidity; it's much heavier and you really feel it throughout the entire day. There is also a lot of rainfall during the summer months which can equate to a higher count in the number of bugs that you will feel about. The point is, you don't want to head to the Caribbean on a cruise in the summer and expect perfect weather.
If you're going to travel to the Caribbean you want to be able to enjoy your surroundings and not feel like you want to head into air conditioning. So, it's just important to note that you’re going to be experiencing hot and humid weather if you are embarking on a summer cruise to the Caribbean.
Cruising to the Southern Caribbean Islands
What's really incredible about traveling to the Southern Caribbean islands in the fall and spring months, is there's a chance for you to set sail, swim, and jet ski at any time of day. There's a lot of scuba diving as well in the Southern Caribbean islands. These water activities give you a chance to explore coral reefs and enjoy the marine life that the Caribbean Sea has to offer. The Southern Caribbean islands are popular for a reason!
May and October Take the Cake
After reading all this information you probably understand that weather is everything when planning a cruise to the Caribbean. The most important takeaways that you can gather are that prices rise in the holiday season, the summer is extremely hot and humid, and there are months that are the most ideal to travel to the Caribbean.
May and October are absolutely beautiful and the rates are lower than usual. Year-round you're going to get weather that is different from any other tropical islands and the sites are always going to be beautiful.
The Caribbean is a really special place and the people are welcoming and ready to show you some of the most flavorful culture and food you'll ever eat.