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Summer Cruise Ideas

Where Are the Best Places to Cruise in the Summer?

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The summer season remains the most popular time for vacations. The weather is better, the kids are out of school, and work just seems to be less hectic. Businesses assume that many of their workers (especially those with school-age children) will be taking time off in the summer, so management works all the planned vacations into the schedule. I usually recommend that cruise travelers NOT vacation in June, July, and August, but sometimes it just can't be helped. Plus, there are some destinations that can best be visited during this time because of weather concerns.

Where are the best summertime cruise destinations? Many people continue to equate a Caribbean cruise with summer travel, and it is a good place to travel if it's the only season you can take a vacation. But, although the Caribbean remains one of the most popular and affordable summer cruise vacations, the weather is hot and tropical storms are more likely. Cruises along the western coast of Mexico (Mexican Riviera) are the same way--hot in the summer, but affordable.

Let's look at the rest of the world other than North America. First, where are the places you can primarily cruise only in the (northern hemisphere) summer months of May through September?

Alaska

Hubbard Glacier in Alaska
Hubbard Glacier (c) Linda Garrison
The Alaska cruise season runs from May through September, with July and August usually the busiest months. Most cruises visit the Inside Passage of Alaska, which is covered with rain forests. So, you might have some rainy summer weather, but the scenery and wildlife are magnificent. Large cruise ships or small expedition ships both offer excellent cruise options in Alaska.

Alaska Cruise Travel Journals

Northern Europe - The Baltic

Catherine's Palace near St. Petersburg
Catherine's Palace (c) Linda Garrison
Anchorage, Alaska is almost the same latitude as the northern European capitals of Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, and Copenhagen. Therefore, this part of the world has the same cruising season--May through September.

Northern Europe is a terrific cruise destination, especially because it is so expensive to stay and eat ashore. Since most cruise ships use the U.S. dollar for the onboard currency, the room and board on a ship costs much less than it would to stay in a hotel and eat in restaurants.

Although cruise travelers will love the long summer days in Alaska or northern Europe, these Baltic cruise itineraries focus on the major cities of northern Europe rather than the small towns, majestic mountains, and wildlife you see in Alaska.

Baltic Cruise Travel Journals

Northern Europe - Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, Greenland, and the Northern Cape

The fjord at Geiranger, Norway
Geiranger (c) Linda Garrison
Several cruise lines travel to the fjords of western Norway, visiting the small towns that dot this spectacular part of the world. A cruise to the Norwegian fjords is more like an Alaskan cruise than one to the Baltic capitals.

A few ships travel all the way to the North Cape, the northernmost part of Norway where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Arctic Ocean. Others visit Spitsbergen, the largest island of Norway's Svalbard archipelago, and one of the few places in the world that you might see a polar bear from your cruise ship.

Although most of these cruises take place in the summer months, with their very long hours of daylight, you can also do a cruise to the Norwegian fjords in the winter with Hurtigruten, a Norwegian company that carries visitors to western Norway year-round.

Norwegian Fjords Cruise Travel Journals

Russian Waterways Cruises

Wooden Church on Kizhi Island, Russia
Russian Waterways (c) Linda Garrison
River cruise travelers often think of the great rivers of central Europe, China, or Egypt when planning a river cruise vacation. However, the Volga River and waterways between St. Petersburg and Moscow are fascinating cruise destinations in the May through September time frame. The days are long, the scenery is gorgeous, and river ships spend time in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, plus visit some fascinating small towns and sites along the river.

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