While there’s no right or wrong time of the year to take a cruise, spring is often seen as one of the seasons in which destinations show their best. If you’re heading somewhere like South America or the Caribbean, the weather’s just right, without the searing heat of summer. Similarly, destinations in Europe shine best when the blossoms are blossoming and the world is waking from its wintry slumber.

Wherever you’re planning to cruise to though, rest assured that this is the season of great deals and superb shore excursions. From what to pack to what to expect, we’ve got some tips that are sure to help you prepare as you peruse the best spring cruises on offer.

Where to go

As we’ve already seen, there aren’t any wrong answers here. But of course, there are oodles of recommendations. The flavours, aromas and fine wines of the Mediterranean instantly spring to mind, and a cruise here in springtime will see you savouring the sights without the intense heat that affects the region come summer. Alongside the Med mainstays that are Italy, Spain and Greece, your cruise is likely to touch on France and Portugal, especially when departing from the UK. It puts the finest Renaissance style at your fingertips, but don’t overlook destinations in the eastern Mediteranean, like Greece or Croatia. History is strong in these places, and spring sees you able to sample the dyed-red eggs and thick lamb broths of a classic Greek easter.

Further north on the continent, the Baltic region is another superb place for spring cruises. While these destinations in Scandinvavia and beyond are known for their cold weather, spring sees those temperatures get much milder, plus many cruises take you via Amsterdam to give you the chance to experience the springtime tulips blooming along the Dutch hills. Further afield, port cities like Talinn or Oslo mix history with cafe culture and art that comes to life, particularly during the spring period.

Spring is also a fantastic time for more exotic cruises. You can sample the famous Japanese cherry blossoms of the Far East, or immerse yourself in the mysteries of Egypt without too fierce a desert sun.

What to expect

Spring cruise deals are popular with all kinds of people, from retirees seeing the world to families and couples looking to make happy memories. They’re also popular, because they see you sidestep the crowds more likely to be found flocking to summertime cruises, and because they’re outside the summer months, they’re also often a touch cheaper.

Luckily, the experiences on offer are just as wonderful. Spring is when the sights of your cruise itinerary come to life, from the birds in the trees to the flowers by the shore. What’s more, you’ll find more couples and retirees than during the summer, because the kids are in school. That said, there’ll be the occasional troupe of little ones who are being treated to a term-time voyage.

Spring sees its share of showers, depending on your destination, but avoiding them is just a jaunt back into the cruise ship’s bar or restaurants away. Other than that, there are shore excursions to enjoy that include not just tours of towns and cities, but also cycling trips into the greenery and diving lessons into nice warm water. Cooling off after all these adventures is easily done on All Inclusive cruises, or with special drinks packages that you can get ahead of time.

What to pack

Keeping a coat by in case of rain is a smart idea, depending on where you’re cruising, but for the most part you’re going to be delighted in putting together your warmer weather outfits. Swimwear both for on the cruise ship and at any places you stop off with beaches also comes recommended. Likewise, while many cruise ship restaurants have a relaxed dress code these days, consider some smarter clothing in case you’re dining highbrow either onboard, or at a classy place onshore during a port day.

If you’re truly at a loss, take a close look at the details of your cruise ship and the kinds of activities onboard. If you’re looking to get stuck into the gym equipment or tennis courts, for example, you’ll want to bring some activewear. Likewise, if there are plenty of activities for youngsters onboard, as well as kids’ clubs, you can save some luggage space by convincing the kids to leave the handheld games at home.

If you’re known to suffer hayfever, it’s likely you’re ahead of the game when it comes to springtime cruising. You’ll want the usual tonics and medicines to help you thrive against a high pollen count, especially if you’re taking some of the more floral and scenic shore excursions on offer as the plants wake up from winter.

When to book

There’s no wrong time to book a cruise, and there’s no time like the present! Although it’s wise to also keep a few other times of year in mind when considering your booking, spring cruises are very popular to book in the autumn and winter months. And if you’re clever, you can take advantage of Wave Season. That’s the period in December to early January when cruise companies announce their best deals and itineraries, and it’s become a go-to for many cruise fans for the best prices.

Last minute jaunts in the last weeks of winter are also a good idea, so definitely look around and see which deals work best for you. We’re here every step of the way to ensure you’re sailing away happy this spring.

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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.