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Best Time To Go On An Expedition Cruise

The best time for Expedition Cruising varies depending on the destination. Expedition Cruises take you from the frozen polar regions to the tropical equator, and everywhere in between. So, we have done the research and determined when is the best time to go on an Expedition Cruise to our top destinations: Alaska, Antarctica, Arctic, Galapagos, Kimberley, Northern Lights, and Tropics.

Enjoy an Expedition Cruise to the Arctic during the summer months and experience the midnight sun; head to Iceland in winter for views of the magical Northern Lights; learn to scuba dive in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean; or see baby turtles hatching on the Galapagos Islands in spring.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern Lights

Alaska Cruises

May to September

The USA's northernmost state can be fully explored for just a few months of the year, during the height of summer when days are long and the farthest reaches are accessible. Visit Denali National Park, home to the tallest mountain in North America and a variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou; the shuttlebuses run from June through to September, when the wilderness allows.

Explore Glacier Bay and the mountainous region of the Inside Passage, only reachable by cruise ship during the summer. Plus, on a small-ship luxury cruise, you'll be more likely to dock in smaller ports and be able to enjoy immersive experiences and close encounters with wildlife and Mother Nature.

'Shoulder' season is May and September and offers slightly cooler climes and fewer tourists. From August onwards, it is even possible to catch glimpses of the Northern Lights in the more northern reaches of the state.

Antarctica Cruises

November to March

Travel to Antarctica and South Georgia at the height of summer in the southern hemisphere. January is the best month to witness the incredible sight of penguin colonies - numbering in their tens of thousands - feeding their newborn chicks.

Meanwhile in South Georgia, look out for seal pups and whale sightings which are most likely at the end of January and beginning of February.

At either end of peak season, in November and March, days become shorter and expedition ships are likely to be able to 'land' on the Antarctic Peninsula, while ginormous icebergs can be marveled at as you sail through the Drake Passage - a journey which, no matter the time of year, can be either the 'Drake Shake' or 'Drake Lake'.

Arctic Cruises

May to September

Explore the Arctic Circle during the milder summer months and experience the phenomenon that is the Midnight Sun. Whether its far northern Norway, Greenland or the Canadian High Arctic, the Arctic from May to September is bathed in light, fascinating creatures venture out into the open, and landscapes are their both vibrant and alive.

Active excursions are an absolute must-do on an Arctic cruise, as the jagged peaks, dramatic fjords, and icy glaciers of Greenland are accessible for hiking and Zodiac excursions.

In June don't miss the opportunity to see rare whales, walruses and narwhals. Fast forward to July and August and you will likely catch sightings of polar bears rearing their young.

Galapagos Cruises

November to May

The Galapagos archipelago is a beautiful region which can be explored almost year-round due to its equatorial climate. Head to the islands in November and December as it is less touristy, but the weather is getting warmer, if a little rainy. The seas are calmest at this time of year, right through to May, making for impeccable diving and snorkelling conditions.

March and April is perhaps the most popular time to visit the Galapagos as the wide range of fascinating wildlife is on top form. The clear, warm waters mean you can swim and snorkel with turtles, marine iguanas, sea lions, and even Earth's most north-dwelling penguins.

Tropical birds can also be found nesting at this time of year, including the blue-footed booby performing its mating dance. The Galapagos is truly the most incredible place in the world to witness the majesty (and hilarity) of Earth's most curious creatures.

Galapagos Blue Footed Booby

Kimberley Cruises

April to October

During the dry season is the best time to go to the Kimberley region of north-west Australia. ALthough it may technically be winter in the southern hemisphere, the climate is still very amiable and makes for the perfect conditions to visit the gorges, rivers, and national parks along the Kimberley coast.

Waterfalls are generally at their peak in April and May following seasonal rain, and the jaw-dropping Bungle Bungles in Purnululu National Park are more pleasant to explore in the milder temperatures, while the beaches around the Broome area are home to warmer waters in October.

Keep a lookout for crocodiles in the Kimberley waterways; another reason to visit during the cooler, drier months as they're not as likely to be out basking in the sun or frolicking in the wetter season.

Northern Lights Cruises

October to March

Iceland in the depths of winter may sound like a gloomy concept, but far from it. The days may be short but you are most likely to catch sight of the Northern Lights in December and January.

This natural phenomenon is one of the most spectacular sights in the world, as green light dances across the night sky and dazzles the naked eye. Warm up in the famous Blue Lagoon to keep the winter chills at bay, or head to Iceland a little later in the season, February or March, for more daylight hours and land-based activities.

In the northern reaches of Norway, the likelihood of viewing the Northern Lights is much the same. Head further north into the Arctic Circle and your daylight hours will decrease as your chances of seeing the Northern Lights increases.

Tropics Cruises

October to June

The Tropics can encompass a large number of tropical islands and regions in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, and each individual destination can be visited at almost any time of the year as many experience their own micro-climates.

However, we believe the best time to visit the Tropics is from October to June. During the summer months it tends to be wet season - or in some cases monsoon season - so a winter break is usually fitting for a tropical adventure.

Discover the Seychelles in October when the seas are calm, clear and warm. At this time, the water temperature can reach high twenties, and keen swimmers and divers might see migrating whale sharks as they arrive in the region.

Head to the Maldives in March, when again it is not only dry season, but also home to a magnificent array of marine life, best viewed on diving and snorkelling excursions. In June, head to Bora Bora, arguably the most idyllic destination on the planet, located in French Polynesia; it will be far quieter and not as stiflingly hot as the peak months of July and August.

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