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Types of Cruises...and when to go


These cruises (normally on an ocean liner, cruise ship or freighter) typically take you from one side of the ocean to another, and may stop at a port or two enroute. 

Standard Cruises

This most common cruise might be in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexican Riviera or Orient.  This can be a round-trip or one-way cruise, and can last for one day to several weeks.  Sometimes this is referred to as a "mass-marketed" cruise, and is chosen on the basis of itinerary, accomodations, amenities and season traveled. 

Trans-Canal or River Cruises 

You will choose this cruise based heavily on scenery and ports as well as amenities.  Verandah cabins are a plus. 

Day Cruises

These mostly go nowhere and are suitable for partying or gambling junkets.  This can be helpful if you want to try out cruising before you commit to a more costly trip.  Unfortunately these cruises can turn out to be "cruise-and-booze" cruises, which might not be a flattering example of cruising as a whole. 


There is nothing more romantic than balmy nights and warm sunny days in the tropics, especially if your wedding in the winter.  Your cabin is your honeymoon suite, and you don't have to leave unless you want to explore the ship or the islands. Unpack only once, and still visit a number of exotic places. Sometimes you can even get a  table for two in the dining room, a bottle of champagne, flowers, a cabin upgrade, or some other perks.

In General

  • The shorter the cruise, the younger the crowd.
  • Shakedown, Inaugural or Maiden Voyages are during that "breaking it in" period where it's possible that you may experience failures in plumbing or air conditioning, or have slow service due to the new procedures in the kitchen or housekeeping which may be annoying.

Cruising Seasons

Africa (North)   Year-round, but mainly May thru October
Africa (East / South)   November thru April
Alaska   May thru September
Asia & the Orient   October thru March
Baltic   May thru October
Bermuda   May thru October
Black Sea   April thru October
Canada   May thru October
Caribbean   Year-round
Hawaii   Year-round
India & Southeast Asia   Mostly November thru April
Mediterranean   March thru November
Mexico   Year-round
New England   May thru October
Panama Canal   September thru May
South America (North Coast)  Year-round
South America (other areas)   September thru April
South Pacific   Mostly November thru April

Whats so bad about Christmas Cruises?
As posted in CruiseCritic by Philip 12/31/2004

I work in the cuise industry. I posted this list a few days ago. Sound a bit familiar?

1. Highest prices of the year for airfare.
2. Airplanes overbooked.
3. Airline staff stressed out and overtaxed.
4. Many flights cancelled.
5. Many bags lost.
6. Most airline offices closed or barely manned for the holidays. No problem-solving ability.
7. Highest prices of the year for a cruise.
8. Ships fully booked. No emergency cabins in case yours is flooded or your aircon is not working.
9. Cruise ship staff wants to be home for the holidays. Not very jolly.
10. Cruise line staff overtaxed and stressed out.
11. Long lines for anything and everything on the ship.
12. Unsupervised children running everywhere.
13. Cruise line offices closed for the holidays. No problem-solving ability.
14. Christians complaining about not enough xmas decorations; non-christians complaining about too many xmas decorations.
15. Christmas cruise seemed like a good idea last august. Now you miss the sights. smells, sounds, family, friends at home at Christmas.
16. The German chefs version of Christmas dinner doesnt taste the same - or as good - as the one your mother/wife/girlfriend makes at home.
17. Many shore tours, shops, museums, banks, and tourist sites are closed for the holidays and you cannot visit them.
18. All rental cars are already booked.
19. The worst weather of the year is usually this week - even on a ship in the tropics.
20. The highest number of complaints is always received on the Christmas cruise. Do you want to listen to this for 7 days?
21. Customs and Immigration officials are not too happy about working on the holidays. They are surly and slow.
22. If the ship runs out of something (guaranteed), they cannot get any more this week.
23. Want to change your air tickets? Forget it. Not a chance.
24. If your bags were lost enroute to the ship (very good chance), they will stay lost until the end of the cruise - and beyond.
25. Ususally a high number of "domestic disputes" on Christmas cruises. But no spare cabins available to separate the warring spouses.
26. Influenza and noro-viruses are usually running rampant on the ship this time of year.
27. Bored teenagers form gangs by the end of the cruise and start looking for trouble. Their newest game involves going through your unlocked suitcases after you put them in the corridor on the last night of your cruise. You do not find out what was stolen or destroyed until you get home, and then blame the cruise line, airline, TSA, Bagage Handlers, Bus Drivers, etc.

These are my experiences on the past 24 Christmas Cruises on several mass-market cruise lines. THIS IS NOT EVERY CHRISTMAS CRUISE ON EVERY SHIP. A few get lucky and have a great time. I even had 2 very good Christmas Cruises out of the 24 I have worked.
But do you want to take a gamble like this if you dont have to?

© 2003-2011  Candy Brock