Winter cruises are cheaper

Because families make up a big portion of the cruise market, there’s much less demand when children are in school. But cruise ships need to be filled all year round, meaning that you’ll find some of the best discounts outside of the school holiday periods.

Even when you consider passengers without children, many only take one cruise per year, and they opt for the summer season.  This leads to less demand for winter sailings, and this is when you’ll find cruises at a fraction of the price of the peak summer dates.

The reason most people automatically think of summer as the time to take a cruise is usually the weather. However, this only applies to cruises in Europe. Which leads us on to our next point

It’s the best time to cruise around Dubai and the Emirates


Between June and September, the weather in Dubai usually reaches 40°C each day, and sometimes the mercury even hits 50°C. This can be too much for even the hardiest of sun-worshippers. However, in December, January and February, you’ll find temperatures are a more ambient 25°C, perfect for sightseeing and still warm enough to come back with a nice tan.

You’ll avoid hurricane season


In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which wreaked havoc on many Caribbean islands, hurricanes are a concern for many cruisers planning holidays around the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to November.

Even if you avoid a ‘hurricane’ as such, strong winds and high swells can mean that your ship may have to divert and miss out certain ports of call. With extra sea days, and outside decks closed off, your holiday can suffer if bad weather strikes. Although inclement weather can happen at any time of year, you’ll find the lowest chance of hurricanes and storms in February – making it the ideal time to visit the Caribbean.

The scenery of Northern Europe is stunning


Another place that we recommend to enjoy a cruise in the winter is Northern Europe. The magnificent scenery of the Norwegian Fjords is made even more beautiful when the mountains are snow-capped. You’ll also find some fabulous winter activities on offer; such as dog-sledding and snowmobiling.

The Northern Lights, which are best viewed between October and March, are a phenomenon that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Avoiding light pollution gives you the best view – making a cruise ship at sea the perfect place from which to see them.

Cruise ships are less crowded


While it’s unlikely that your ship will be empty, you’ll definitely notice a less crowded atmosphere on-board outside of the peak summer season; particularly for Mediterranean itineraries. You’ll have the advantage of not queueing for lifts or restaurants, better seats during the evening entertainment shows and a hassle-free experience when finding a sun lounger.

Ports of call are less crowded


Similarly, sightseeing out of season can be a much more pleasurable experience. You won’t have to worry about queuing or getting tickets in advance for the popular tourist attractions. Some of Europe’s cities can get very hot and crowded in summer, so visiting in winter can be a much less claustrophobic experience.

There are fewer children on-board


If you’re looking for a relaxing cruise, winter is your best bet. With the children at school, you’ll likely find older, more sophisticated passengers on the ship. So if you’re looking to enjoy the pool without getting splashed, or enjoy a game of mini golf without kids getting in the way, a winter cruise is recommended.

You can do your Christmas shopping

Paris Christmas Market

Here’s an idea – why not cruise in November and December and do all your Christmas shopping on the continent? In Europe’s cosmopolitan cities, you’ll find some fabulous Christmas markets and shops selling unique gifts. Plus, if you’re sailing from the UK, you won’t have to worry about a luggage allowance; meaning that you can stock up on as many gifts as you can fit under the bed in your stateroom.

Celebrate Christmas and New Year on-board

Surfing Santa

Christmas and New Year can be a wonderful time to enjoy a cruise. You’ll find the ships decorated in style to create a lovely festive atmosphere on-board. Enjoy a top-class Christmas Day meal at no extra charge, and you’ll even have the pleasure of avoiding any washing up (or relatives, if this is a concern!)

Give yourself something to look forward to

Couple on balcony

January can be one of the most depressing times of the year. It’s for that reason that it’s the most popular time make a cruise booking, with cruises departing later in the year. Why not reverse that trend and book your cruise in advance to depart in January or February? That way you’ll have something nice to look forward to once the festive period is over. A great way to beat those winter blues!

If you’d like any advice about the best time of year to visit certain destinations, or any help with booking your cruise, our cruise concierge team are on hand to help. Just give us a call on 0207 980 2847.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.