Well the dog days of summer have (sadly) passed. The good news is, that means it is the time to start planning a fall cruise vacation. The good news is that there are many diverse locations from which to choose. But before we get to that...
If you're not familiar with the range of services I offer, note that I only advise on and book river and small ship cruises. Larger cruise ships are horrible for the environment. A heavy and growing use of fossil fuels means that a passenger's carbon footprint triples in size when taking a cruise and the emissions produced can contribute to serious health problems. Plus they damage fragile ocean ecosystems due to practices like irresponsible disposal of sewage, trash and fuel directly into the ocean.
Instead of oceangoing ships that carry as many as 5,000 passengers, I do recommend river cruise ships which typically accommodate around 150 guests, providing for a more intimate experience. Balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and open-air viewing are features of most river cruise ships, and some even offer pools, spas, fitness areas, and jogging tracks. Guests are kept busy (if they wish to be) with daily shore excursions, most with several options depending on interests and activity levels. Bikes and walking tours are available in most ports, or guests can choose a leisurely day in a comfortable lounge enjoying the passing scenery.
Beyond river cruising, there are small ship cruises which combine more personalized travel with cultural land exploration. In particular, thesel ships really excel at expedition-type cruises - sailing to lesser travelled locations not accessible by larger vessels. If you're looking for an even more luxurious, personalized experience...think fine dining, 24-hour butler service, and unlimited champagne- a high-end small ship is for you.
I also think these type of cruises are a great match for two other groups of travelers: women traveling alone and vegan travelers. For the former, ships have begun to cater to solo female travelers, meaning that sometimes single supplements are reduced and waived. Plus they are even including special activities for solo travelers. As well the social aspects of these cruises mean that solo doesn't mean alone. As far as vegan travel - in most cases you will find staff happily accommodating a vegan diet. Of course for both groups (women traveling alone and vegan travelers), some companies are better than others. Feel free to ask me about them!
Now that we've gotten that out of the way. Here are some recommendations on where to go:
Why: Though technically the last few Alaska sailings of the season occur during late summer, they do take place during the colloquial fall in early September. Prices on these sailings (each line typically offers two to four late-season cruises) can often be close to half off what you'd pay during the height of the Alaska cruise season. Be aware: There is a down side to sailing Alaska in the fall. While prices are low, so are temperatures and rain is not uncommon.
Why: Summer is the most popular time to visit the Mediterranean. That's when the crowds are the thickest, the lines to get into must-see attractions are the longest and the temperatures are the highest. So cruising the Med in the autumn cuts out a lot of that unpleasantness. The European fall weather in the Mediterranean is cooler and the crowds are fewer. Often in the summer, you can't even get close to many of the masterpieces in museums. In the fall, you can not only get close, but you can spend your time marveling at the artifacts, paintings, and sculptures rather than standing in line. There is a downside--you won't be able to swim in the blue seas of the Mediterranean.
The Great Rivers of Europe
Why: European river cruises allow you to do some "leaf-peeping European style." And the red, orange and yellow-tinted vineyards and wine regions many river cruises sail through are swoon-worthy this time of year. Besides the added bonus of the fall colours, the crowds and heat in Europe have subsided somewhat, and the weather is quite pleasant. Life in Europe during the fall seems to settle into a more relaxed, day-to-day work pace following the busy summer season, which gives the overall experience a more serene vibe. Plus with the locals embracing their hometowns anew, autumn is also a time during which local events and happenings take off again, for those river cruisers who want to explore exhibits, galleries or hot and new restaurants and bars onshore. There's not really a downside...pack a sweater or light jacket and you should be a-ok.
Why: I've said it before and will say it again, there’s really no bad time to visit the Hawaiian Islands. However, during fall, the summer crowds have returned home and holiday travel has yet to begin. This is also the period when the islands get the least rain, so you have less chance of your day’s excursion to the beach, to Pearl Harbor or to the Hawaiian Cultural Center getting washed out. A cruise is a leisurely and delightful way to explore multiple Hawaiian islands, each of which have their own unique flavour. With a cruise, you don’t have to worry about all that packing and unpacking, checking in and checking out of hotels. Your floating hotel simply travels to the next island while you sleep.
Why: The fall is a perfect time to sail around the Caribbean. The heat and humidity of the summer are gone. The peak of hurricane season has passed, and the winter crowds have yet to descend on the islands. For North American travelers, sailing the Caribbean involves less travel time than many other destinations. Most Caribbean cruises depart from south Florida or San Juan, Puerto Rico. Common itineraries include calls at Cancun/Cozumel on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, Grand Cayman island and Jamaica; St. Thomas, San Juan and Nassau, Bahamas; and the islands of the Lesser Antilles like St. Martin, St. Kitts and Martinique. Cruising the Caribbean allows you to sample a variety of cultures and colonial influences without a lot of hassle.
A fall cruise is a great way to relax and recharge for the holiday and winter seasons. As you can see there are many great options as to where to go. You can pick from an assortment of itineraries within each of these destinations. There are also a variety of companies offering river and small ship cruises. Each has offerings of different itineraries, amenities and of course price points. If this sounds like a lot to figure out on your own - know that you don't have to. If you're ready to plan your river cruise or small ship sail, let's get started. Contact me now at:
You know what else goes together well? River cruising and wellness. If wellness is important to you, sign up for my mailing list and receive my 10 best wellness tips for free! Download here: