early stages of planning for a Bahamas cruise

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by halfmonkey, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey Mouseketeer

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    This will be our first cruise with Disney but our second overall cruise. We're in the very early stages of planning and one of the questions we're hoping you can all help with is the timing and weather. We've never been to FL or the Bahamas and all we know is that FL can get hot and muggy.

    Would someone be able to gives us a simple breakdown of the best time of the year to go as far as the weather is concerned? In essence, we're looking to know when the off season is and when the prime time is.

    Generally, speaking we want to go when the timing and weather is right and not when hurricanes and such are always a threat.

    We're also planning to include some time at WDW since we've never been there so please keep that in mind for all of those that reply. Thanks for your help.
     
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  3. gumbypee

    gumbypee DIS Veteran

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    I'm from Florida-it's always hot and humid!! :)
     
  4. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey Mouseketeer

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    That's what I hear but when are the hurricanes and such?
     
  5. goeva

    goeva DIS Veteran

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    The official hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. :)
     
  6. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    Prime time is any time that traditional schools are off. Low season is September/October and January/first 1/2 of February. Hurricane season is 6 months of the year--we ignore it as we love September cruises. Yes, we've visited some alternate ports due to storms, but that's not a big deal. Nassau is a crummy port, so missing it is no big deal!
     
  7. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    FWIW, I've read that others have a different opinion. :)



    OP, we're doing a cruise in February, so it probably won't be hot, but on the other hand, it might not be overly warm. I've read that Jan or Feb is the hardest time for the ships to dock at Castaway Cay, so we are getting used to the idea that we might not be able to get to that island! So we are definitely getting off the ship in Nassau, if only for a little while, just in case the next day we can't get off at the Cay.
     
  8. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey Mouseketeer

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    Dang! That is a long hurriance season. I've never been in a hurricane and I don't plan on it so I guess we'll be planning around those months.
     
  9. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey Mouseketeer

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    Well, if June through November is hurricane season, that really only leaves December and the Spring months.
     
  10. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey Mouseketeer

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    Is this because of the storms and the waves and such?
     
  11. ekatiel

    ekatiel DIS Veteran

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    Peak hurricane season is August, September (highest chance in September), and October. Chances are much lower in June, July, and November. Here's a chart for you: http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/tropics-hurricane-season-peak-20120907. That being said, they will not sail you through a hurricane, they will go around it. Sometimes you will miss a port or be directed to an alternate port due to a hurricane. If you book a cruise in September, just don't have your heart set on going to all the ports. --Katie
     
  12. Bonniec

    Bonniec DIS Veteran

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    Heh, I bet those who went through hurricane Sandy will be to differ. ;)



    OP, you will have to decide what's best for you. The hurricane season is long and quite frankly, crazy storms can happen 365 days per year here. It will always be a risk. Going during peak season will cost you significantly more. Going off peak during the heaviest of hurricane season is a lot less, but then you risk the storms more. The ships are SUPPOSED to steer away from the storms and change their routes. And I do believe they try to do that for the most part. For whatever reason, I believe it was the Fantasy, decided to head right into Sandy. :confused3

    Next October there is a really nice cruise to the bahamas on the Magic. It's an older ship and October is one of the heavier times for storms. But it goes to Castaway Cay twice as well as Nassau, AND it's right after a dry dock refurbishment which is special.

    If you really want to avoid storms and monry is no object, I would shoot May-July. But nothing is guaranteed.
     
  13. Weedy

    Weedy DIS Veteran

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    For weather purposes I suggest early April, it's quite warm but not hot and humid. Depending when Easter falls it may or may not be crowded. Prices are a little higher this time of year.
     
  14. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    I've cruised most months of the year. Obviously, these are just my opinion....
    May, June, July--hot, but good weather. Too hot for my liking.

    September/October--much less humid than summer, and great rates. Yes, we've had some cruises with hurricane impact.

    December--can be cool, but you get to enjoy the ship and Castaway being decorated.

    January/February--Sometimes too cool to enjoy swimming, other times great weather (70s) Again, good rates.

    March/April--nice. Ships are full due to spring breaks.
     
  15. CanuckTraveller

    CanuckTraveller Mouseketeer

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    First thing to know about cruising is that things can change. It isn't like a land based vacation in that you know where you are going to be from x to y. Cruising has a lot of different variables built in, so you definitely need a go-with-the-flow kind of attitude.
    We like cruising in December after Christmas as the weather is warm (to us!) and the ships aren't as over run with kids as the week of Christmas...but not by much :). Our school board had a late Christmas vacation the past couple of years so we hit an off-peak time leaving Jan 1 which worked out great. We leave in 2 days for a cruise on NCL to the Bahamas and Florida, we know the weather could be just above freezing in Florida and not much better in the Bahamas, but a cruise ship is better than dealing with the 35cms (just over a foot I think?) of snow we had today :)
    Personally I wouldn't book a cruise during hurricane season, but that's me. Ditto for spring and summer, as there are too many interesting things to do at home. So that leaves us with late-December to March for cruising.
    As for Nassau as a port, it is a very common port of call for cruise ships, so some of us are bored with it as seemingly every eastern Carribean itinerary as well as Florida/Bahamas cruises has it as a port of call. There are interesting things to do, but many are very expensive. If you have never been, then definitely get off the ship and explore. We have enjoyed Blue Lagoon and this time we plan on doing a walking tour of some of the historic sites. However when we return on the Dream in March, we will be spending some time enjoying the ship :)
    Good luck with your planning!
     
  16. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    I think it's the choppier seas. They don't want to damage the ship or the dock, so if they can't easily dock, they won't. But this *can* happen at ANY time. You are not guaranteed ANY port on ANY cruise on ANY ship or cruise line. Things can change.



    Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes and not make those same rotten decisions in the future. Hope hope hope!



    Remember OP, what you experience in California is just as scary to those from the East Coast as hurricanes are to you. I personally am terrified of tornadoes, but my friends from the midwest are far more afraid of earthquakes than twisters.

    I would rather be on a ship, where they *can* move away from storms, or at WDW, which has really good measures for storms, during a hurricane. My family that lives in Daytona has WDW as their backup plan for huge storms! That's where they evacuate to. That's how safe they feel it is at WDW.

    Now the tricky part is making sure your flights can get in or out of the Orlando airport, and in that case reading an old thread written by bavaria, on the Transportation forum, is a good idea, to have your ducks in a row in case you need to change your flight when a storm threatens.


    I think, though, if you want to avoid all negative things, spring is going to be a better time...but that's going to be higher prices due to school breaks.
     
  17. halfmonkey

    halfmonkey Mouseketeer

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    Thanks everybody for the input. We don't mind Dec but I would really like to cruise during a time when I can just wear shorts and flip flops. I know FL and that area is generally pretty fair in weather but since I've never been in that area, I don't really know what the weather will be like exactly. So if Dec is mild, then it might be off the list simply because when we get to Castaway Cay, I'd like the weather to be warm enough where we can get in the water and not be cold. I'd like it to be sunny and warm in the water.

    If March, April, or May are the best times, then we might just have to suck it up and go during this time. It would be a big trip for us since we've never been on a Disney cruise, never been to FL, never been to WDW, and traveled yet on a plane as a family (kids are still very young.) Therefore, I'd like it to not have too many variables as possible such as crazy weather.
     
  18. OrcaPotter

    OrcaPotter Lucky to be local to the Mouse

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    FL native here :wave2:

    You can expect Central Florida to be ungodly hot and humid from May to November. Hurricane season begins in June and ends in early November. The peak season tends to be August to October. The normal weather pattern in the summer usually consists of daily afternoon thunderstorms for Central Florida. If you're planning to visit the theme parks, I would highly recommend avoiding them in the summer.

    I have cruised in mid-October and never had a problem, so honestly, I wouldn't let hurricane season scare you off. In the winter, Florida gets cold fronts. Which means, we'll have a few days of mid-70's to low 80's, then get a day of rain, followed by a day or two of highs in the mid-60's. My last cruise was in mid-January, and FL was in the middle of a cold front, so it was pretty chilly the day we left Port Canaveral. It was overcast in Nassau, too, so coupled with the sea breeze it remained (to our Floridian blood) cool enough to keep our jeans on. We had to have sweaters and jackets on while on deck; the breeze was freezing. Castaway Cay day was warm on the beach, but the water was absolutely frigid. I re-developed bronchitis because I forced myself to snorkel.

    March and April are beautiful times to be here, weather-wise. You will pay a lot more for your cruise fare as result of spring breaks. I would recommend the end of February as a cheaper alternative, and usually the cold fronts have stopped by then. It won't be hot, but it won't be cold, either.
     
  19. JustUs275

    JustUs275 Mouseketeer

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    Our first cruise was out of Pt Canaveral, FL to the Bahamas. It was the first week of May and the weather was absolutely perfect in FL - flip flops, short sleeves, a little warm in Nassau but nice for going to the beach. Our second cruise was also out of Pt Canaveral to the Eastern Caribbean the last week of February. It was very chilly in FL, definitely needed a jacket or sweatshirt, but it was wonderful weather once we got to St Thomas/St Maarten.

    I know it can vary from year to year, but based on our previous experiences, we booked our upcoming Dream cruise to the Bahamas for the first week of May again. The kids will all want to have beach time at Castaway Cay, so we're hoping for good weather! :beach:
     

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