Mimosas in the sunshine, a warm breeze on your skin and day excursions to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations are the main components of your typical summer cruise. Summer really is one of the best times to travel, especially since all the fantastic cruising hotspots are in peak season. Soak up some of that Vitamin D and enjoy checking off balmy sites from your bucket list, such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

When it comes to preparing for a summer cruise there are a few things you need to bear in mind, so we’ve created a list of everything you need to know before booking. Rest easy and enjoy reading about the best summer cruises available, preparing you for your next holiday in the sun.

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.

If you’re a beach lover then there are several summer cruise deals that are ideal for you. Those white pillow-like sands and clear postcard-worthy shores can be found in several summer cruising destinations including the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Mexico. Marella Cruises hits all of these gorgeous spots, with Marella Celebration making port in both Madeira, Antigua and Barbados on its journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

For gorgeous mountain and glacier views with scenes of stunning wildlife, take a cruise to Alaska. This American state is full of natural beauty and is only accessible by cruise from May to September, so make sure not to miss out. Alaska is jaw-dropping in the summertime and you’ll be greeted with bald eagles flying overhead, as well as spectacular glacier masterpieces in the distance.

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. P&O Cruises is well-versed when it comes to Baltic cruising, as Azura takes you to several popular destinations including Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm. Don’t be hesitant to book a river cruise either, as they can provide a more intimate experience with all the same summer tones. They tend to give you more time in your destination.

What to expect

There’s one thing you can almost certainly expect on a summertime cruise – heat. This is especially true if you’re cruising somewhere tropical, as you’re practically guaranteed a warm climate. All this hot weather means you’ll need a cold drink to cool you down, so you’ll be pleased to hear that many All Inclusive summer cruises have drinks and gratuities included when you book.

Something else to prepare yourself for during these months is the crowds. Summertime is definitely the cruising high season due to school holidays and holidaymakers seeking the best weather possible. It will be busy, but the good news is that cruise ships are vast and there’s plenty of space both on deck and in your accommodation for private relaxation time.

Something else to bear in mind is the mini cruiser population spike, as schools take a break and families make the most of the hot weather. Cruising makes for an especially kid-friendly holiday, with a wealth of activities for children to join in on – from pools to kids’ clubs to evening entertainment catered towards the little ones.

What to pack

First things first, it’s always a good idea to check out your cruise ship online before boarding. This will give you a better sense of the activities onboard, as well as any dress codes and special events that require 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.

No matter where you’re headed, make sure to pack that swimsuit. Even if you’re travelling to a chilly destination, it’s likely that your cruise will have a heated pool or spa that you won’t want to miss out on. For those sunny destinations you can pack light, with shorts, t-shirts, flip flops and of course the all important hat. You’d also be wise to pack a tote bag to take with you on excursions and for carrying your belongings on the ship so you don’t have to travel back and forth between your room and the pool deck.

Sun tan lotion is also key, as you’ll want to soak up all those rays but not to the extent that you burn. You will be able to buy some onboard the ship’s store or when you port, but it’s always a good idea to have some with you when you start your journey.

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. Men, make sure to bring long trousers, as on formal nights you might be turned away if you’re sporting too casual a look.

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. Depending on what destination you choose, you can join in with watersports, ziplining adventures, hiking trips or walking tours. Or if you’re a sun lover, just spend your days laying out on the glorious white sand beaches and deepening that tan.

For the fashion-minded cruiser there’s no end to the shopping centres in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities, ideal for summertime browsing. Marella Cruises ports at some of the most fashion-forward European cities including Barcelona, Marseilles and Rome.

The action continues onboard – some cruise ships not only have their own pools and spas but also come with their very own waterparks, perfect for family trips. Marella Cruises is known for keeping things fun and energetic outdoors, ensuring days at sea are anything but dull. Marella Discovery is a particularly great option when it comes to cruising with kids as it has a big open air pool, a rocking climbing wall and outdoor movie nights.

If you don’t want to miss out on this summer’s cruising season, check out some of our best deals and decide for yourself which summer hotspot you want to check out next.

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We are acting as an agent on behalf of travel suppliers and your booking will be subject to the supplier’s terms and conditions. Prices may be subject to very limited availability and are correct as at the date and time of writing. Prices may go up or down from time to time. Prices quoted are for the dates, accommodation, board basis, departure points and number of persons sharing specified only and cannot be combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to amend any quotes given if there is a genuine error as soon as we become aware of it. We reserve the right to withdraw any offers without notice.