Airlines & Airports
Amber Nolan | April 22, 2015 3:00 AM ET
5 Prime Spring Cruise Destinations
Image courtesy of American Cruise Lines
Spring is here, and for cruise travelers, it can be an excellent time to set sail before the crowds or snag a shoulder-season deal. Several destinations are best visited during spring, when temperatures are comfortable and flowers are blooming. Here are some ideas for a spring cruise vacation.
Southeastern United States
Why: Savannah, Charleston, and other southern cities are especially beautiful in the spring, with historic streets lined with gorgeous blooming flowers and downright pleasant temperatures.
American Cruise Lines offers several departure dates (and ship options) on its “Historic South and Golden Isles” cruise from Charleston along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Why: In the spring, many ships leave South Florida and reposition to Southampton and ports in the Mediterranean to take advantage of the warm climates. These lengthy cruises are ideal for those who love days at sea (crossing the Atlantic averages around six or seven days), and often include ports of call that differ from regularly-scheduled cruises. These sailings are usually dramatically discounted, with rates below $50 per night. The downside is that the famed Atlantic crossing can be turbulent, so those prone to seasickness should take precautions.
Why: Eastern Canada is still an emerging cruise destination and by late May, the tourism season gets started and temperatures begin to warm up. However, you’ll still need a jacket.
Two new cruises in the region include voyages on the Pearl Mist (Pearl Seas Cruises), which launched in 2014, and the all new MS Saint Laurent (Haimark Line). Both ships carry 210 passengers and offer an upscale cruising experience
The MS Saint Laurent makes her debut on May 30 with award-winning broadcast journalist, Dan Rather, onboard as a special guest speaker. The nine-night cruise will sail from Montreal through the scenic St. Lawrence Seaway to Portland, Maine.
Pearl Mist sails from Boston on May 23 to historical villages and quaint seaside towns in Maine and Nova Scotia like Lunenburg (N.S.), Eastport (Maine), and Pictou (N.S.).
For those who prefer an expedition-style vessel the 198-passenger Ocean Endeavour embarks June 14 from Québec City on a nine-night cruise to Newfoundland, with zodiac excursions included in the fare.
Holland and Belgium
Why: Parts of Holland are transformed into a colorful patchwork of tulips in spring, making it a postcard-perfect location to soak in the scenery onboard a river cruise. Belgium also has a number of beautiful gardens that come to life in the spring.
AmaWaterways offers a seven-night “Tulip Time” river cruise on three different vessels, including the new AMA Sonata that stops in both Holland and Belgium. Cruises are round-trip from Amsterdam, with prime springtime departure dates.
Uniworld has three vessels plying the waters of Holland and Belgium in spring, including the jewel of the boutique fleet, S.S. Maria Theresa. The nine-night “Tulips and Windmills” voyage travels from Amsterdam to Antwerp and includes excursions to several artistic attractions, the 19 UNESCO-designated windmills of Kinderdijk, and Keukenhof Gardens (home to seven million tulips).
Why: Late spring is the start of cruise season in Alaska, and passengers may be able to snag deals on these early departures. Temperatures average in the 50s and 60s.
While most of the cruises to Alaska depart from Vancouver, Carnival has a rare, round-trip voyage from Seattle, making flight arrangements to the embarkation port a little easier. The Carnival Legend departs May 26 and heads to Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Victoria, B.C.
For an alternative to the mega ships, Pacific Catalyst II features May and June voyages from Juneau and Petersburg on the beautifully-restored expedition vessel, the MV Catalyst. With just six cabins, there is a sense of camaraderie as passengers explore the coastal wilderness and enjoy a less regimented, more carefree sailing schedule.
More American Cruise Lines, AmaWaterways, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Carnival Cruise Line, Savannah, Charleston, Mediterranean, Nova Scotia, Maine, Quebec City, Montreal, Alaska, British Columbia, The Netherlands, Belgium
More by Amber Nolan
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