3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Summer Cruise
If you’ve been putting travel plans on hold for this summer, it’s not too late to make a few arrangements. But you may not want to hold off too much longer. Here are three ways to still make your summer one to remember – and they all involve taking a cruise: avoid high season if possible, consider off-peak days and remember that value doesn’t always equal price.
Avoid high season if possible. Anyone who’s been through an airport during summer knows it’s an extremely popular time to travel; school is out, and it has a ripple effect across the entire travel industry, even if you don’t have children. So for that reason, summer in and of itself is a high season, especially in places like Alaska, Bermuda and parts of Europe where cruising relies on mild weather. But there are certain cruise destinations that may not be as crowded.
One off-peak summer destination is New England/Maritime Canada. While herds of tourists flock there for fall foliage, the off season brings warm weather, warm water and slightly smaller crowds.
Because ships can maneuver so easily, it is more difficult to find cruise ships in totally off-season destinations. Even the Caribbean is in "high season” during the summer due to the number of ships that are redeployed to Europe and Alaska. But even if you can adjust your schedule by a few weeks, it could pay off. For example, the peak summer cruise season in Hawaii starts to slow down in late August.
Then, in September, the low season begins in Alaska, Bermuda, the Caribbean, the eastern and western Mediterranean, along with northern Europe. If you don’t have to be back to get the kids off to school, this is an ideal choice. Southern Europe will remain busier later into the fall.
Consider Off-Peak Days. Just like airlines have slower days, cruise ships have off-peak schedules as well. For example, while many Alaska cruises depart on the weekend, there are some that leave during the week. This could enhance your enjoyment of time in port, when the crowds are not quite as thick because you’re hitting them on different days.
Remember that value doesn’t always equal price. Travel consumers have become extremely price-conscious, and while price is certainly an important part of the equation, there is much more to the equation than price. First, remember that cruising provides the most value for your dollar than any other type of vacation. Where else can you get your accommodations, meals, entertainment and so much more all rolled into one price? While some all-inclusive resorts can make that promise, they certainly can’t deliver you to a new and exciting destination every day. Plus, there is a certain peace of mind you get by paying in advance for a cruise vacation, versus a car trip where costs can vary.
Whether you are looking for an affordable family getaway, or a luxurious, relaxing time-out with your significant other, the memories you make on a cruise are going to last a lifetime. But don’t wait too long. Eventually, those cruise ships will sail full, with or without you!