Pro Cruise Tips on When and How to Visit
I’ve been fortunate enough to embark on more than 130 cruises and set foot on every continent during my 40 years on the AAA Travel team.
I’ve learned a lot about cruising in that time, and want to share some tips to help you get the most out of your next journey.
Sailing round trip from Seattle is convenient on ships large and small, but if you travel one-way from Anchorage or Vancouver, B.C., you can book a land tour to see stunning Denali, the Yukon or Fairbanks. Try visiting in May or September, months when cruise fares are lower, ports are quieter and you can witness seasonal wonders like spring seal pups or dazzling fall colors.
The Caribbean is a fabulous destination almost any time of the year, and it can be fun to try a variety of cruise lines because each has its own unique, luxurious private island, some with expansive waterparks, posh cabanas – even full-sized pirate ships.
Vienna, Nuremberg and Strasbourg have traditionally been warm-weather destinations, but their charming Christmas markets can’t be missed. A holiday river cruise in Europe is magical. You can wander among festive booths, taste seasonal delicacies and shop for lovely handmade crafts. But book early, as these departures sell quickly.
South America and Antarctica cruises
To experience Antarctica’s rugged beauty, incredible wildlife and outstanding stargazing, a South America cruise that also sails to Antarctica is ideal. But choose carefully if you want to set foot on the seventh continent. Some cruises offer small-boat excursions that go ashore, but others simply sail along the coastline. The Antarctica cruising season runs from November through early March.
Australia and New Zealand cruises
These flights can take 20 hours, so you need to see and do as much as you can while you’re there. I highly recommend adding a land package to any Australia/New Zealand cruise. And remember that the seasons are reversed, so travel during our fall and winter, which is their spring and summer.