Posted February 27th, 2017
Seasonal Sights Of The Cruising World
Destinations such as the Canary Islands and the Caribbean have a reputation for being perennially warm and sunny, therefore you know what you are getting no matter which time of the year you visit. There are, however, a number of cruise destinations where the time of year you choose to travel will have a big impact on what you see and experience. These regions may be popular during these specific periods, but it’s worth facing the crowds to see some of these seasonal sights for yourself.
Japanese Cherry Blossom
Cherry blossom is a big deal in Japan as the excitement of locals and tourists builds towards the start of spring. Even weeks in advance of the first flowers appearing, shops start to offer cherry blossom-inspired products and the entire country begins to turn a pale shade of pink. The buzz is understandable though when you see the beauty of these trees coming to life and raining their petals down on delighted picnickers below – a traditional known as hanami in Japan.
The blooms can appear anytime between the middle of March and the beginning of May, but April is the best month to visit if you want to catch these symbolic trees in all their glory. This handy website will help you predict when the cherry blossom will burst into colour. As for the best spot to visit, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Tokyo are perfect and all are ports regularly visited on cruises to the Far East.
New England Fall Colours
Showing that nature doesn’t just put on a colourful show in the spring, the east coast of North America is awash with stunning foliage every autumn - or as it’s called in the US, fall. ‘Leafers’, the nickname given to people who arrive in their thousands to see the leaves, take over New England to see the magnificent golden browns, red, purples and oranges that occur every year.
Themed ‘fall foliage’ cruises often take place to give tourists the chance to see this natural phenomenon. Itineraries that travel to states such as Maine, New Hampshire and up into Canada can be found throughout September and October, but it is difficult to pinpoint when the firework display of colour will reach its peak. If you get the chance though, venture inland during your US cruise as this is where things get even more special.
20 Sep 2017 for 11 nights
10 Ports - Canada, North America
Quebec - Charlottetown - Sydney - Halifax - Bar Harbor - Rockland - Portland - Boston - Newport - Cape Liberty
The Bears Of Alaska
Staying in the states, but switching to the opposite coast, it’s fauna rather than flora which takes centre stage in Alaska. Alaska cruises are very popular with people looking to see the fantastic glaciers and unique wildlife, but if you want to get up close with the state’s bear population you should look to visit in either July or August. This is when large numbers of salmon make their way upstream to spawn, create an inviting buffet for brown and black bears and bald eagles.
The national parks throughout Alaska offer excellent spots to see these majestic creatures on the hunt for food. However, there are other areas where you have a great chance of catching a glimpse. Look for Alaska cruises that stop in Wrangell or Juneau and book any excursions that feature bear watching early.
While something everyone should see in their lifetime, the Northern Lights can be very elusive and difficult to track down. However, another Arctic natural phenomenon is a lot easier to predict and is just as mesmerising. The Midnight Sun is the name given to the period when the sun doesn’t drop below the horizon for 24 hours or more and it occurs every summer in northern latitudes. During this period, the landscape is bathed in an alluring light which causes you to lose track of what time it is. Many artists through the centuries have been inspired by the Midnight Sun and it is even said to have driven some people insane.
The further north you go, the longer the continuous period of sunlight lasts. On the Arctic island of Spitsbergen it can last for around four months, but Norway, Greenland and Iceland cruises in June and July will give you the chance to experience those light nights.
16 Jun 2017 for 14 nights
9 Ports - British Isles, Iceland & Greenland, Norway & Fjords, Scandinavia
Southampton - Bergen - Alesund - Akureyri - Isafjordur - Reykjavik - Torshavn - Belfast - Southampton
South Africa’s Sardine Run
In the same way that the salmon create bear activity in Alaska, the annual sardine run off the coast of South Africa creates a boom of activity in the water between May and July. This is entirely dependent on water temperatures and doesn’t seem to occur every year but the act of the sardines migrating up the east coast usually brings large numbers of dolphins, sharks and fur seals to the area.
The best place to witness this hive of marine activity is between l’Agulhas and Durban, with locations such as East London and Port Elizabeth being particularly popular spots. Because this event occurs during the southern hemisphere’s winter, South Africa cruises at this time of year can be hard to find, but if you get the opportunity, it’s a brilliant spectacle for all nature lovers to enjoy.
If you would like to see any of these seasonal events for yourself, our team can help you find a cruise that will allow you do just that. Alternatively, you can use our 2017 cruise ship finder to see which ships will be visiting the above regions throughout the year.