Avoiding hurricanes! What are the best months to book a cruise?

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship. – Louisa May Alcott

Best months to book

With the recent news of cruise delays and cancellations during hurricanes and tropical storms, you may be wondering what months are the best to book your cruise to avoid having to miss your cruise due to a hurricane.  No one ever wants to plan a cruise and get your vacation days approved, only to find out that the cruise has been cancelled because of stormy seas.  What do you do then?

Atlantic Hurricane season

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30th.  That means that hurricanes can happen during any of those months, although the peak hurricane season runs from August into October, and it usually drops off during the month of November. We have often booked cruises in November, and have never had a problem.  Maybe we’ve just been lucky. 

We never book a cruise in the summer months, but we have found that November through May has been just fine for us.  If you definitely want to avoid hurricane season, book from December through May.  The Caribbean will still be hot and beautiful during the Winter and Spring months, and you’ll be escaping the winter at home and making everyone there jealous  when you send them the picture of you in shorts or swimsuit.

Summer cruising

So, what if you absolutely have to cruise in the summer months?   The odds are that you won’t have a problem and will go on to have a lovely cruise with no bad weather in site. But be aware that you are taking your chances.  

In the event of a hurricane in the near Atlantic or the Caribbean, the cruise ship, if at all possible, will still sail on the sail date. You may not be able to go to your scheduled itinerary.  If the ship sails, it will sail around the hurricane, but may change the ports that you will be sailing to. Maybe western Caribbean instead of eastern, or you may miss a port altogether. 

The trip may be shortened or lengthened, depending on where the hurricane is in relation to the embarkation/debarkation port.  Be sure to bring your sea sickness remedy of choice, because seas may be rough going for a while.

What if the cruise is cancelled

If the entire cruise is cancelled, you should get a refund from the cruise line.  For a shortened cruise you may get a partial refund or credit towards your next cruise.  If you miss a port, you may be able to get a refund of the port fees as onboard credit.  Be sure to check with your cruise line’s guidelines when you book to see exactly what their cancellation policies are. 

However, costs such as airfare, pre-paid parking and motels will not be covered by the cruise line.  Be sure to check the cancellation policy of everything you book, not just the cruise line to be aware of any penalties in case of cancellation.

Do you need travel insurance?

We buy travel insurance for our cruises even though we always book during non-hurricane season.  So, if you must book during hurricane season, I would definitely suggest insurance.  Different policies cover different things, but I would definitely want trip cancellation and trip interruption, plus medical.  We always get the Comprehensive policy that covers more.  

We never book the insurance that the cruise line sells.  It costs way more than it should.  We personally use Insure My Trip, because it makes it easy to compare different plans, costs, and companies, and we’ve never had a problem with them, and we never pay more than $90-$100 for the two of us combined. This is an affiliate link, but there’s no cost or obligation to look at the plans and get an idea of what kind of insurance is out there.