Summer can be one of the best times to cruise – the drinks are cool, the excursions are plenty and the weather is at a comfortable level of gorgeous. For many top cruising destinations like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, summertime is peak season. It’s when school bells ring that final time and sun-thirsty adults get a much needed helping of Vitamin D.
There’s a lot to know when it comes to preparing for a summer cruise. Which part of the world to head for, how many swimsuits are too many. That’s why we’re here to give you all the highlights.
Where to go
Summertime cruises will take you to sought-out destinations when the weather is at its finest. World famous monuments glisten under the sun and days at the beach are always on the agenda.
Some of the most popular summer cruises are to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Mexico and Bermuda, where the thermometers permanently read ‘sunbathing weather’ and the beaches are packed with happy holidaymakers. Summer is also the only time cruises embark to Alaska, as the usually-chilly temperatures are at their warmest. You’ll only half-realise that you’re gliding by glaciers.
The summer months are also a great time to head to northern Europe, as places like the Baltic and the sky high summits of Norway’s fjords are blanketed in a comfortable warmth. Opting for a river cruise can provide a more intimate experience with all the same summer tones, as they take place on smaller ships that give you more face time with your destination. Extreme heat can cause rivers to dry up though, but if that’s the case, you’ll still be able to visit the sites via motor coach.
What to expect
There’s one thing you can almost certainly expect on a summertime cruise, heat. Especially if you’re cruising somewhere tropical, you’re practically guaranteed a stunningly warm climate. But even though the air is balmy, it’s worth packing a raincoat or brolly, just in case there’s a summer shower.
Summer cruises are also when you can expect to see sizeable crowds. For many destinations, summer is seen as ‘high season’ due to school breaks and holidaymakers seeking the best weather possible.
Cruises are especially kid-friendly holidays, so you can expect the mini cruiser population to spike in the summer as school takes a break. With their wealth of activities – from pools to kids’ clubs – cruises are unrivalled holiday options for families. If you’re travelling with kids, there’ll be no shortage of friends for them to make, and once they’re settled in, that’s your cue to head toward the adults-only sections of your ship.
What to pack
First things first, it’s always a good idea to check out your cruise ship online before boarding – this’ll give you a better sense of the activities onboard, dress codes and any special events that need additional preparation. You’ll also want to see what kind of weather you’re coming up against on your holiday so you’re ready to face the elements on excursions.
It seems like a no brainer, but you’ll want to pack a swimsuit for your summer cruise. Even if you’re venturing to a chilly destination, your ship might still have a heated pool or spa that you won’t want to miss. You’d also be wise to pack a tote to take with you on excursions, to take with you anything you think you might need. A bag will also come in handy for carrying your belongings on the ship, so you don’t have to travel back and forth between your room and the pool deck.
Many restaurants onboard your ship will have little to no dress code, so you’ll be fine in shorts and t-shirts. The only exception is designated formal nights, where you’ll be expected to don your best eveningwear. Don’t forget to BYOS – bring your own sunscreen – it can get costly when purchasing sunscreen onboard or from one of the ports, and you’re going to want protection from that glorious Mediterranean sun.
What to do
There’s a great choice of excursions on summer cruises and the glorious weather is bound to make your port days even better. This means you’ll have at your fingertips everything from watersports to ziplining adventures, hiking trips to walking tours. You can even opt to just spend a day lazing around the beach.
Onboard is where the relaxation continues – some cruise ships not only have their own pools but their very own waterparks. Along the main pool decks is where you’ll find a seriously upbeat energy with music and pool bars, but there are more secluded spots scattered across the ship for a hefty dose of R&R.