Cruise ship in storm

The Worst Months to Go on a Cruise

Are you planning to go on a cruise but not sure when to go? You want to avoid sailing when the weather is bad or when the cruise ship is most crowded.  For a more comfortable and relaxing cruise, it’s best to avoid these months. Here are the worst months to go on a cruise.

Worst Time for Alaska Cruise

If you’re thinking of going on an Alaska cruise, it’s best to avoid going in October. This is because October is the worst month to travel to Alaska in terms of wildlife sightings and weather. 

In October, you would have missed the peak season for wildlife sightings. The salmon run is over. This means your chances of seeing bears in the wild will be low if there are no salmon for them to catch! 

Also, whales will have migrated so going whale watching will not be productive and exciting. Basically, your shore excursions in October will be limited since you missed the peak wildlife season. 

The weather in Alaska is also not the best in October. It tends to be rainy and cold, which can ruin your shore excursions. Most shore excursions take place outdoors so it will be miserable to be outside in the cold. And it could even snow if it’s freezing. The chances of your shore excursion being canceled due to bad weather are also higher in October. 

Another reason to avoid Alaska cruises in October is rough seas. If you’re prone to seasickness, you won’t enjoy rough seas. Cruises that sail out of Seattle are especially prone to rough seas since they sail on the Pacific Ocean. 

Also, if the weather is terrible, the chances that your cruise ship will not be able to dock at the cruise port are higher. If your cruise ship skips a cruise port, don’t expect them to make it up and dock the next day. What usually happens is the cruise ship will skip the port altogether and make it a sea day instead. It’s a bummer to miss a cruise port since Alaska cruises are once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list destinations!

Days will also be shorter in October. The sun sets earlier, so you will have fewer hours in the day. The one plus side of sailing in October is you might be able to catch the Northern Lights. 

Worst Time to Cruise

Worst Months for Caribbean Cruise

The worst months to go on a Caribbean cruise are August and September. This is because that’s when the peak hurricane season is. Hurricane season typically runs from June 1 to November 30 and peaks in August and September. 

Sailing in the Caribbean in August and September means you have a higher chance of encountering rough seas. Especially if you sail out of one of the East Coast ports like New York, you will be sailing in the open water of the Atlantic Ocean which tends to be rougher. If you are prone to seasickness, it’s best to avoid Caribbean cruises in August and September.

To make it worse, meteorologists are predicting that this year’s hurricane season could be worse than usual. They are forecasting that E​l Niño is likely to become La Niña, which would make the hurricane season more active this year.    

Aside from rough seas, there is a higher chance that cruise ports will be skipped due to bad weather. This can be disappointing if you’re looking to spend the day at the beach but instead are stuck on a cruise ship in bad weather.

Rain is also more common in August and September, which can dampen beach days. That perfect Caribbean beach vacation you’re imagining might not be what you’ll get. Instead, you’ll have dreary, rainy weather in the Caribbean—not ideal for lounging poolside!

It’s not just the rain you’ll be dealing with. If it’s not rainy, you will be in sweltering heat. The weather can be hot and humid in the Caribbean—in the 90s Fahrenheit! 

Worst Time to Cruise

Worst Months for a Mexico Cruise

The worst time for a Mexico cruise is August, September, and April. The peak months for hurricanes are August and September, and there is a higher chance of encountering rough seas during these months. If you are prone to seasickness, it’s best to avoid Mexican Riviera cruises in August and September.

August and September are also during the wet season, so rain, heat, and high humidity are common. It won’t be fun to explore the Mayan ruins or go to the beaches when in hot and rainy weather. 

Another month to avoid is April since it coincides with spring break. This means you will be sharing the ship with the spring break college crowd. If you prefer a quieter cruise, it is best to avoid Mexico in April.

Worst Time to Go on a Cruise If You are on a Budget

If you’re on a budget, the worst time to go on a cruise is during the peak holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s. It’s going to be most expensive to cruise at that time since that’s when it’s most popular. 

If you’re on a budget, you are better off cruising during the worst times that I have listed above. You will get the cheapest cruise fares then. I know it’s a bit of a gamble, but you might get lucky with good weather when you’re on the ship.

Worst Time to Go on a Cruise if You Don’t Like Crowd

If you’re trying to avoid crowds, don’t cruise during school holidays. School summer break in the months of June, July and August are peak season for families to go on cruise vacations. Spring break in April are popular among the college crowd. Winter break, which is during Christmas week and New Year’s week will be most crowded.

This is the time when cruise ships operate at or near full capacity. That’s when most cruise ships are crowded with families going on cruises. You will be cruising with a lot of kids or college kids. If you’re trying to avoid the crowd, avoid school holidays. Cruising during off-peak, shoulder seasons will be much more peaceful and relaxing!

My Strategy When Cruising During the Worst Months

I have cruised during the bad months I listed above. Sometimes I get lucky, with perfect weather and cheap cruise fare! I’m prone to seasickness, to protect myself, I usually minimize my risk by buying travel insurance and upgrading it to include the CFAR clause. CFAR stands for “cancel for any reason,” which means you can cancel your trip if you’re hesitant to board the cruise ship for any reason, such as rough seas or bad weather. 

This is because cruise ships rarely cancel trips. If you buy standard travel insurance, you won’t receive any compensation because the trip is still on. The cruise line will delay the departure or change the route to avoid sailing into a storm, but they won’t cancel the cruise. 

If you have CFAR in your travel insurance, it gives you the flexibility to cancel. It may be more expensive, and you may only get up to 50% of your cruise fare back, but I think it’s worth it just in case you really don’t want to get on a ship in bad weather! Check out my tip on how to avoid seasickness on a cruise.

Free Cruise Carry On Bag Packing List

Get Your Free Cruise Carry-On Bag Packing List

Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it as a checklist to pack your carry-on bag so you don’t forget anything! I hope you like it!

Packing List for Cruise Carry-On bag

Check out these free cruise printables

Caribbean cruise packing list

Alaska cruise packing list

Mexico cruise packing list

10 Roughest Seas for Cruise Ships that’s not for the Faint of Heart

9 Common Money Mistakes You’ll Regret Making on Your Cruise

16 Cruise Packing Mistakes You’ll Regret Making

Sharing is caring!

Scroll to Top