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North America Cruise: When to Go?

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New England
Beautiful fall foliage, delicious lobster dinners followed by blueberry pie, and viewing harbor seals off the bow: these are only a few of the many reasons to embark on a New England cruise. Since the region is also known for its long, cold winters, the best time to experience New England from a sailboat is the late spring, summer, and early fall months.

Spring in New England brings warm temperatures, longer days, and uncrowded locales. Everything is blooming, causing many flower festivals, and travelers can enjoy local arts, music, and cuisine at many such festivals up and down the coast.

Summer sailing in New England is full of sun, sea breezes, and is a perfect time for activities such as kayaking, whale watching, or wandering around the charming seaside towns to discover local favorites. Beach picnics, admiring the many sailboats in harbor, and exploring regional cuisine with fellow travelers will be part of the summer New England travel experience.

For fall foliage watchers, or “Leaf-Peepers” as New Englanders call them, the best time to see the changing colors is mid September through October. The shorter days and cool nights of autumn bring a brilliant color show of reds, oranges, and yellows. For such Leaf-Peepers, fall is the idea time for a New England cruise.

California Wine Country
The wine region can be visited, and more importantly tasted, all year round. However, some times are busier than others due to grapes showing and harvesting season. Below is a seasonal guide for planning a cruise of California wine country.

The wineries are less crowded and the vines are dormant in December and January. February brings blooming mustard flowers and wildflowers in the vineyard, a good opportunity for photography without the crowds.

In March and April, the vines come out of dormancy and start to bud, and wildflowers are in full bloom.

By May, the grapes are showing and vines are full. The climate is hot in most of wine country and it is a busy tourism time for the region.

September and October bring harvest season for winemakers, although the time-frame varies by local climate and the region. This is an exciting time and busy time to visit California wine country, and doing so on an elegant California cruise makes the experience unique and relaxing. By November, the foliage has changed and the vines are showing magnificent autumn colors: another beautiful photography opportunity.

Pacific Northwest
The ideal travel season for a boat excursions of the Pacific Northwest is late spring through early fall. While the region has a rainy reputation, the overcast skies and drizzles depart in mid-May and the next several months bring brilliant blue skies and warm weather. Traveling on a Pacific Northwest cruise during the summer months is distinguished by comfortable daily temperatures, which range between 73 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, even outside these warm months the temperatures never plunge into freezing realms. Temperature extremes are moderated year-round by the adjacent Puget Sound and the greater Pacific Ocean. The area is partially protected from Pacific storms by the Olympic Mountains and from cold Arctic air streams by the Cascade mountain range.

Viewing regional flora and fauna is a large attraction to the Pacific Northwest, including seals, orca whales, bald eagles, sea lions, wild salmon, river otters, temperate rain forests and old-growth woodlands. The best time for viewing such wildlife on a tour of the Pacific Northwest is luckily the same period ideal for weather: late spring through early fall.

An Arctic cruise is the ideal way to shake off the winter and welcome the spring. Spring in the Arctic brings longer days with warmer (yet still chilly) temperatures and sunny skies. The best time to experience dog sledding, ice fishing, and trips to the North Pole is between March and May.
From July through September, the warm weather brings festivals, a tundra ablaze with wildflowers and red berries, and breathtaking coastal scenery with fjords, glaciers, and icebergs. The summer months also bring mosquitoes, yet these do not seem to deter tourists as summer is the busiest travel period. They (and the mosquitoes) fade in early August, which also marks the beginning of the best season to see the beautiful Aurora Borealis. Mid-August through November and mid-February through March are the best months to see this spectacular sight.

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