Spring is a great time to go on a cruise. Not only is it a good way to recover from the winter blues, but you’ll often find some great bargains, with the majority of cruise lines considering this period to be part of the slow season. In many places, the weather is ideal and the ports are less frenetic too.
With spring just around the corner, now is the time to start planning – these cruises offer some of the very best options available for the 2015 season.
Tulips & Windmills in Holland and Belgium
The brilliant rainbow of colors that light up Holland’s landscape can only be experienced in the springtime. By embarking on Viking River Cruises’ Tulip & Windmills cruise, you’ll view massive displays of tulips and other bulb flowers that cover the countryside. See the spectacular splendor of the colorful fields of tulips along many of the picturesque Dutch cities – with the luxury of unpacking just once. You’ll spend ten days cruising the Dutch waterways through charming harbor and river towns, exploring world-famous museums as well as windmills. Of course, you’ll also get a chance to stroll one of the most beautiful gardens on earth – and, the world’s largest floral park, Keukenhof Gardens. Admire the breathtaking beauty of millions of vibrant blooms, including tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and croci. In Belgium, passengers get a chance to experience historic Antwerp as well as the romantic city of Bruges. Along the way, indulge in savory Dutch cheeses and heavenly Belgian chocolates.
Great Barrier Reef Cruises
While April and May are springtime in the northern hemisphere, in Australia, they’re autumn months, and the best time for visiting the Great Barrier Reef. During this short period between the high and low season, you’ll find comfortable water and air temperatures, as well as less rain, that makes snorkeling and diving ideal. By embarking on a Coral Princess I or Coral Princess II cruise, you’ll be able to explore the reef in style, on a small ship that is targeted toward travelers who want to explore the region on foot as well as by snorkeling and skiff. By taking a four-, five- or eight-day island hopping cruise, you can experience this spectacular region at your own pace.
Alaska Cruise: Vancouver to Seward
May and September are the usually the best time for an Alaskan cruise if you don’t mind the slightly chillier weather. You’ll find the best prices throughout the month of May and into early June. Traveling in the off season may even help you to afford a balcony room where you can observe glaciers and a variety of wildlife too. Celebrity Millennium offers a 7-night cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seward, Alaska departing on May 22. Ports of call include Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway. While this cruise isn’t for those who are craving a tropical climate, it does provide the opportunity to gaze at bald eagles soaring above and humpback whales in the sea. You’ll witness dramatic displays of ice-shelves breaking off into icebergs, visit cultures who’ve lived off the land for centuries, and view dark, starry nights that might just showcase one of the world’s great natural light shows, the aurora borealis.
Amazon River Cruise
Spring in the Amazon is the best time for a cruise. The months of March, April and May mark the end of the high water season which means more of the lush rainforest can be accessed by small skiffs, making it easier to see the wildlife that lives within. Although it’s the wet season, temperatures are more comfortable and the difference in rainfall is barely noticeable since the region is wet all year round. Luxury cruises aboard the Delfin II, a relatively small boat holding up to 28 passengers, will take you through a magical adventure along the river that includes side excursions like kayaking, hiking, fishing and skiff rides.
Hawaii Seascapes Cruise
Springtime in Hawaii is the season with the fewest visitors, and you’ll get the added bonus of watching the explosion of beautiful flowers and other vegetation come to life in colorful bursts of bloom. This is the period in which those who’ve come to escape the winter’s chill of their hometown have left, while families with kids in school have yet to arrive. There is also less rain as trade winds die down, making travel by smaller boats more comfortable. At the same time the surf begins to calm, the water temperature rises, making it ideal for snorkeling and other popular activities in the water. Whales are also active during this cruise season, particularly in the Auau channel, a 9.5-mile wide channel that’s the most shallow and protected in the Hawaiian Islands. Humpback whales prefer this channel, set between Maui and Lanai, to birth and raise their calves.
The Safari Explorer hosts a unique Hawaiian Seascapes cruise during this time, which includes Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island, allowing passengers to experience the most of authentic Hawaii in a short period of time.
Alaska Wine Cruise
Venteux’s Alaskan Wine Cruise takes place during the last week of spring in 2015, from June 12 through June 19. Take advantage of the opportunity to not only experience the breathtaking scenery and abundance of wildlife southeastern Alaska has to offer, but the chance to sip an extensive selection of Venteux wines. You’ll join winemaker Scott Stelzle and his wife Bobbi, along with the Venteux Vineyards’ owners, Adam and Patricia Goldenberg, on this magnificent 7-night journey from Seattle through the Inside Passage, visiting the Emerald City as well as Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. Other highlights include private wine tasting seminars and a four-course wine pairing luncheon.
Oceania Cruises offers a 10-night adventure in March and April from Miami through the azure seas of the Western Caribbean, including stops in Grand Cayman with its wide array of shopping options and the opportunity to swim with gentle sting rays; Cozumel, with optional excursions that include four-wheeling through the jungle, and Costa Maya, home to the ruins of Chacchoben. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Belize City, Santo Tomas in Guatemala and the island of Roatan, known for some of the best snorkeling and diving on the planet, as well as its shoreside gems like the Gumbalimba Preservation Park. The final stop before returning to Miami, is Key West, renowned for its Key lime pie and conch fritters.
Bermuda and Caribbean
Celebrity Cruises offers this 8-night Caribbean and Bermuda cruise that sails on April 25, 2015 from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Cape Liberty, New Jersey. Explore the city of San Juan, steeped in history with two military forts as well as old cathedrals and churches. Enjoy a ton of fun in the sun, relaxing on picture-postcard beaches and snorkeling in St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and a fairly rare stop in Bermuda. Here you’ll find amazing pink sand beaches that stretch for 21 miles along shimmering turquoise waters. The long, curved stretch of Horseshoe Bay Beach is known for its secluded coves, perfect for cozying up to the one you love in privacy – or just enjoy some relaxing solitude.
Temples, Jungles and Beaches Cruise
This 10-night Azamara Club Cruises’ journey from Miami to Miami leaving March 26, 2015, is a stand out with rare stops like Haiti as well as popular mainstays, including Jamaica and Cozumel. Passengers will have the opportunity to explore St. John in a jeep, lie on the sands at picturesque Trunk Bay and swim along the massive volcanic boulders in the Baths at Virgin Gorda. On Antigua, you’ll have your choice of 365 beaches for soaking in the ever-present sunshine, while active travelers might want to take advantage of adventure options like kayaking and zip-lining. The final stop before return is Labadee, Haiti, a private resort port on the north coast surrounded by lush, green mountains. This stop provides the opportunity to explore the scenic coastline by kayak, or even get a bird’s eye view by parasailing 400 feet above the glistening waters.l
The Grenadines, Windward Islands Cruise
The Grenadines are internationally renowned as a yachtsmen’s paradise, an exclusive sailing ground made up of more than 600 islands, divided between the nations of St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Grenada. Windjammers’ cruises provides the opportunity to sail this breathtaking area via a tall ship that was originally designed to transport cargo in the 19th and early 20th century. The ships are among the most beautiful sailing vessels available for cruising today. Island Windjammers offers a 6-night journey, with departure dates throughout the spring, bringing passengers to idyllic islands like Bequia, Carriacou, Mayreau, Tobago Cays and Union Island. This is a great opportunity to experience a more authentic, “real Caribbean,” without the touristy feel, basking on white, powdery sand beaches, snorkeling through crystal clear, warm waters and shopping tiny, unique boutiques featuring local art.
Carnival offers some of the best bargain cruises of the spring, starting at just $309 for a 4-night cruise departing on April 18 from New Orleans. Not only will you have the chance to explore the Big Easy, but you’ll cruise from one idyllic tropical isle to another in the glistening seas of the Western Caribbean. Enjoy spending your days sinking your toes into strikingly white sand beaches and snorkeling turquoise waters filled with colorful tropical fish. Ports of call include Cozumel and the Yucatan. Excursion options include an extreme boat ride to Isla Pasion where you’ll board a 1,000-horsepower Twister speedboat for a thrilling ride to this tiny isle off the north coast of Cozumel.
12. Spring Break Party Cruise, Bahamas
Of course, spring is also a popular time for party cruises, including a spring break cruise to the Bahamas. If being surrounded by more than 1,250 other spring-breakers on a cruise ship is your idea of fun, Paradise Parties offers the chance to set sail on its 4-night Spring Break Cruise from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. You’ll spend the majority of your time partying in Freeport, although the five-hour trip each way onboard also offers the chance to enjoy the ship’s many amenities, including Las Vegas-style casinos, indoor and outdoor games, shows, bars and more.