Out to Sea

Eight Ideas to Jumpstart Your Cruise Travel Planning

Are you ready to come aboard and hit the seven seas? Cruise travel can feel overwhelming because much of the vacation is tied to the ship you choose. Whether you are interested in some rest and relaxation or you want to explore multiple ports to see which adventures excite you the most, cruise travel has something for everyone.

Cruise travel is an opportunity to explore the world in a more all-inclusive way. Read all about it in my Beginner’s Guide to Cruise Travel.

Here are eight ideas to help jumpstart your cruise travel planning:

3-night Mexico

This is an excellent starter cruise if you are based in the southern United States. Visit a popular beach, like Cozumel, and then explore a Yucatan location, like Progreso. A great combination of beach relaxation, as well as education and adventure. Mass market cruise lines will offer this itinerary and at often very budget-friendly rates. Summertime and March will be busy due to school schedules. Look at off-peak travel times for the best rates and a more relaxed crowd.

12-night Antarctica 

Interested in exploring the 7th continent? This trip-of-a-life-time sails round-trip out of Ushuaia, Argentina. Hop on this expedition cruise with 100 or so other like-minded travelers and explore the unknown. Explore the Drake Passage and Antarctic Peninsula and hopefully sea whales and penguins and so much more. Cruise season is typically October to March.

7-night Western Mediterranean 

This is a classic European which largely covers Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, and Morocco. You can find cruises across the mass market, niche, and luxury cruise lines in this region. Look at spring and early fall when booking this cruise so you can avoid the summer rush.

7-night Galapagos Islands

While there are shorter itineraries available, a full week will give you time to really explore the wonders of the island. Look for round trip routes from Baltra that are visiting Bartolome, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana and Espanola. This cruise itinerary will be found with expedition cruise lines and luxury cruise lines, which means less guests, smaller vessels, and generally a bigger price tag. March is an ideal time to schedule this trip.

9-night Panama Canal

There are generally two itineraries for this cruise. A partial transit through the canal and a full transit through the canal. Which you pick is entirely based on your time available, budget, and interest. A 9-night is generally a partial transit, but will still give you the experience. Most mass market and luxury cruise lines offer this itinerary, but it may not be standard. If you want to make the full passage, that will likely be on a repositioning cruise in the fall or spring.

7-night Alaska

Heading out of Seattle or Vancounver, a 7-night Alaska Inside Passage cruise is a great introduction to Alaska. It’s probably the most popular cruise to Alaska due to its ideal length, as well as more budget-friendly price tag. The main ports of call on Alaska Inside Passage cruises are Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and Ketchikan with some Seattle based cruises heading into Canada, as well. Most mass market, niche, and luxury cruise lines offer itineraries to Alaska. The cruise season for Alaska cruises is typically late April to early October, with the latter being rougher seas. If you want to see whales, hit the water May through September. If you want to see the Northern Lights, September is your best bet.

9-night South Pacific

Often heading out of Sydney, Australia, this itinerary gives you the chance to explore islands you might not have thought of exploring. Places like New Caledonia or Vanuatu which offer beautiful nature to explore and even better cultural experience opportunities. Most mass market and luxury cruise lines will offer itineraries here, but the timing will likely be limited. May to October is the dry season, so it’s the most popular time to cruise this area. January will be far less busy, but the weather isn’t as traditionally ideal.

6-night Eastern Caribbean

This island hopping cruise can take you to port destinations such as the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Turks and Caicos, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and more. This is another excellent beginner’s cruise where you’ll get to explore many locations, typically 3-4 ports, and still have sea days for relaxing. Mass market and luxury cruise lines all offer Eastern Caribbean itineraries. Additionally, there will be cruises here year-long. Peak season is December to April, since the water is calmer and it’s generally more dry and sunny. Hurricane season begins June and really ramps up in July and mid-August.

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