With 700 subtropical islands to sail around and hundreds of private islands to loll about on, the Bahamas is so great for luxury cruising. The calming trade winds make for ideal temperatures all year long and the variety of activities here stave off any sense of itinerary tedium.
The location of the Bahamas makes it an excellent choice for a short cruise – even two nights – as Miami is only 200 miles away, but it is also good for longer tours that take in other parts of the Caribbean. Mid-December to mid-April is the high season, featuring the best weather… but the most people – a very common yet understandable cruise conundrum. Let’s take a walk through the year.
January and February are relatively quiet if it’s quiet you need. The sun is shining and the rain is no big deal – this is the beginning of the dry season. As spring approaches, the weather gets warmer, but March brings spring break, which is considerably more boisterous. That said, families with small children may want the playmate opportunities that come with cruising at this time. March is also noted for the Bahamas Music & Heritage Festival.
The span of April, May, and June is truly a great time to take a luxury cruise to the Bahamas for so many reasons: less-busy cruise ships, no spring-breakers, no summer crowds yet and excellent temperatures, which start to hit the 90s. There’s always one fly in the ointment, though, and in this case, it is the rain: May and June are the wettest months.
Summertime is not an ideal time to visit, even though everyone is in a vacation kind of mood. There are simply too many people about: All the islands are busy, tours and shore excursions are booked solid, there are long waits for everything and tropical storms can rear up. If you do find yourself going at this time, pencil Bahamas Independence Day into the calendar for July 10. Emancipation Day in early August is also good for a picnic and a parade.
Those looking for a sharp discount look to cruise the Bahamas in September and October, as this is the height of hurricane season and the humidity is extremely high.
High season starts to amp up come November and December, as the hurricanes and the humidity subside. If you visit over Christmas, prepare yourself for the fun times of Junkanoo, the Bahamas’ version of Carnival, on both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Best Time to Book a Cruise
The best time to make a cruise booking is from six months to a year in advance of the sailing. as a general rule of thumb, booking early is your best bet.
The best cruise ship rates are those that are offered when fares are first released for sale. Booking right out of the gate also allows you to snap up the top-tier cabins or the most preferred routes and dates before they sell out. Know that there will definitely be sales to take advantage of by holding back, but biding your time is a bit of a gamble. You may not be comfortable waiting until the last minute and you may not get exactly what you want.
If you’re looking to cruise on popular dates such as during school holiday breaks, peak religious periods or annual festivals, book extra-early. With luxury cruises and new ships, the earlier the better, because the prices will increase as the ship fills up.