How to Make the Most of a Cruise When the Weather Is Bad

Whether you’re taking your first cruise or have been on dozens of ships, travelers always hope for great weather during their cruise vacation. Weather is unpredictable, however, and it’s not always possible to have amazing weather for the duration of your trip. If you experience inclement weather during your cruise, it is easy to feel that your trip is ruined. However, with the following tips, you can still have a great time even when the weather isn’t ideal.

Safety During a Cruise

Being out to sea during a storm may worry some travelers, and safety concerns are understandable. While it may seem like there’s little protection from the elements, cruise ship and their crews are thoroughly prepared to handle high waves and severe weather. 

When approaching a storm, cruise ships may be diverted to destinations that have lower chances of poor weather, though diversion is not always possible or guaranteed. Although cruise ships are massive, they can still move faster than many slow-moving storms.

Be Prepared for Itinerary Changes

If a cruise ship cannot avoid bad weather at a port of call, or if the ship is diverted to a new destination, some activities may be cancelled. Fortunately, most cruise lines prepare for these issues and will have back-up activities that are equally fun. Itinerary changes are typically announced to passengers so they can plan accordingly.

In the event of severe weather, certain stops may be skipped or cancelled, and you’ll get an extra day at sea. Alternatively, your itinerary may be rearranged so that you still visit the same ports, but in a different order, to account for the bad weather.

Other times, you will be able to make your scheduled stop, but the outdoor activities and tours will be canceled due to weather. Usually, there will be options like bus tours and shopping trips to pass the time. While these may not be as exciting as a helicopter tour, your safety is the first priority, and cancelled excursions are often refunded if booked through the cruise line.

Find Fun Indoor Activities

While the ideal cruise isn’t typically spent indoors, the typical cruise ship has a variety of indoor activities to entertain and amuse. On land, travelers can often choose from a host of indoor tours, museums, and other options to replace a day at the beach.

One of the most common ways of accommodating bad weather is shopping. While cruisegoers can shop any time on the ship, visiting local merchants is a great way to see first-hand what the shopping experience is like in a different country. Shopping is also a great way for passengers to pick up unique souvenirs. 

Protect Yourself During Outdoor Activities

For tamer weather that doesn’t present an immediate risk, like light rain, cruisegoers can still explore outdoors. Instead of letting the weather keep you on the ship, you can create a family fun day or group tour that is both educational and engaging.

It helps to pack for rainy weather. Don’t forget items like umbrellas, ponchos, and rainboots, which will ensure that you are ready for a rainy day should one pop up. You can also do some research on the ports in your itinerary to find fun rainy-day activities at each.

Find Onboard Activities

Most of the time when choosing a cruise, you will notice that cruise ships offer a host of onboard activities that you can do when the weather is not ideal.

Crafts, movie theaters, bingo, karaoke, games, arcades, and trivia are all available on cruise ships. In addition, many ships host classes and workshops on cocktail mixology, art appreciation, foreign languages, cooking, dancing, photography, wine tasting, or other fun subjects. The entertainment staff on a cruise will typically add extra activities when the weather is poor, as well.

Of course, most major cruise lines offer spa treatments and adult nightlife where parents can relax and have personal time to themselves. You can also hit the gym for a little exercise.

A rainy day on a cruise ship is a great time to sample the specialty restaurants outside the main dining room. Unfortunately, lots of other people will have this same idea, so try to make reservations as soon as you can. Another alternative is to order room service and make it a night in.

Don’t Let Weather Ruin Your Dream Trip

Picking the right cruise at the right time will usually give you the cruise experience that you desire. In the Caribbean, the weather is sunny more often than not, but the rainy season occurs from May to December; December through April is usually drier. Most hurricanes occur from August through October. A cruise planner can help you plan for possible weather events and can help ensure your cruise vacation runs as smoothly as possible.

Having perfect weather is obviously ideal, but don’t let a rainy day or two spoil your vacation. Remember why you booked a cruise in the first place: to spend time with the people you love. You can do this even if it’s raining cats and dogs outside.