Wave hello to cruise deals: Wave season is underway!
February 15, 2023
There’s a term in the travel industry that’s finding its way into the everyday vernacular: Wave season. Wave season generally starts in early January, right after the end-of-year holidays, and goes through the end of March. Two things happen during this time: cruise lines and travel agents book the largest number of trips, and the biggest and best deals of the year are released.
There is no specific cruise season in terms of there being particular times of the year when people set sail (unlike, for instance, winter-specific ski season). You can embark any time of year on many different types of cruises, from classic ocean cruises through warm destinations to river cruises and expedition cruises into less-traveled, remote or bucket-list places. But whenever you book your cruise, be sure to get the most out of it by traveling confidently with our travel protection plans.
A world of different cruise types
Wondering what cruise destinations might be your cup of tea? There is something for everyone in this mode of travel, appealing to lifelong cruise fans as well as people who might not have considered packing up and touring the world on a boat. Some of the most popular — and unexpected — cruises include:
The mega cruise. More floating city than boat, mega cruise liners can have more than 1,500 cabins and include lavish amenities and endless activities. Ice skating rinks, water parks and amusement park rides are popular with families on vacation, while adult-only options are also available. World-class entertainment and dining fill the nights, while sunshine and dozens — if not hundreds — of stops all around the world fill the days, including ports in the Bahamas, the Caribbean and all over European coastlines.
The themed cruise. Super into sci-fi? Can’t get enough of Broadway musicals? Mad about the Mouse? Every year, new themed cruises appear that cater to specific passions; recent ones have included extended trips planned for cat fans, craft lovers and bookworms, as well as tours that focus on locations where shows like Game of Thrones were filmed.
The expedition cruise. While cruises typically bring to mind trips to blue-water islands and touristy ports, traveling on these boats also allow access to otherwise inaccessible and rarely visited parts of the world. Curious travelers can indulge their inner explorer with trips that include itineraries from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina to Alaska. Immerse in nature with cruises to the Galapagos or Patagonia; cruise the perimeter of Iceland, or wander through history via the Panama Canal.
The river cruise. Inland waterways have just as much to offer in terms of luxurious escapes, stunning scenery and fascinating destinations. The diversity of river cruise options shows just how many options lie ahead once these possibilities are on your radar, from drifting down the Amazon to floating on the Danube to meandering down the Nile.
Tips for Cruise Planning and Staying Safe
Planning your cruise means considering a number of factors. Be sure to think about what budget you’re comfortable with, how much travel you’re willing to undertake to get to your launch spot, and how large a boat you want to sail on. Once you’ve determined these factors, there are a plethora of options in terms of destinations, length of cruise and time of year for hitting the high seas.
One element of cruise planning that you might not have considered: cruise safety. Fortunately, cruise lines are experts in making sure everything is ship-shaped (hence the origin of the word), with procedures and rules in place that ensure you and your fellow travelers are protected. From new COVID-19 programs that track infections and ensure cleanliness to muster drills that familiarize cruisers with lifeboats to 24/7 weather monitoring, stringent processes ensure your safety is the crew’s top priority.
While the boats themselves are designed to be extremely safe, one risk factor that’s become more obvious in recent years is the chance of an unexpected illness interrupting or canceling cruise plans. And as with any vacation travel, unforeseen changes in your itinerary can create hassle and costs, such as delays as you travel to your cruise departure point.
Consider different types of trip protection before you book your trip. For instance, SafeTrip from UnitedHealthcare Global protects your travel plans with both medical and trip cancellation coverage. If you’re headed to a number of remote destinations, consider medical evacuation coverage that will transport you to quality medical care, wherever you are. Adding an extreme adventure or two to your vacation (parasailing anyone?). Learn about how a SafeTrip plan can include an extreme sports add-on* — because thrill-seekers deserve a backup plan in case of an emergency.
With coverage that protects your travels plus the special deals available during wave season, adding a cruise to your upcoming travel plans is a no-brainer — and puts a lovely vacation right on your horizon.
Top Cruise Destinations
When it comes to choosing a cruise destination, the options are endless. Here are some of the top cruise destinations that offer breathtaking scenery, on-land excursions, cultural experiences and unforgettable adventures.
- The Caribbean: With its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and vibrant culture, the Caribbean is a perennial favorite among cruise enthusiasts. Explore the colorful islands of the Bahamas, relax on the stunning beaches of Jamaica, or immerse yourself in the rich history of Puerto Rico.
- Alaska: For nature lovers and adventure seekers, an Alaskan cruise is a must. Sail through majestic fjords, witness glaciers calving into the sea and spot wildlife like whales, bears and eagles. You can even partake in land excursions like ziplining, ATV tours and more. Don’t forget to get SafeTrip’s Extreme Sports add-on for those adventures. The rugged beauty of Alaska will leave you in awe.
- Mediterranean: Discover the treasures of Europe on a Mediterranean cruise. From the ancient ruins of Rome and Athens to the picturesque coastal towns of Santorini and Dubrovnik, this region offers a perfect blend of history, culture and stunning landscapes.
- Norwegian fjords: Embark on a journey through the dramatic landscapes of Norway's fjords. Cruise past towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls and charming villages nestled along the shores. The Norwegian fjords offer a serene and breathtaking experience.
- Galapagos Islands: For wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, a cruise to the Galapagos Islands is a dream come true. Explore the unique ecosystem that inspired Charles Darwin, encounter giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies and snorkel with sea lions and penguins.
- South Pacific: Escape to paradise on a cruise to the South Pacific. Visit idyllic islands like Bora Bora, Fiji and Tahiti, where you can relax on pristine beaches, swim in turquoise waters and experience the warm hospitality of the local cultures.
- Baltic Sea: Discover the rich history and architectural wonders of Northern Europe on a Baltic Sea cruise. Explore the charming cities of Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Copenhagen, and marvel at the grandeur of palaces, cathedrals and medieval castles.
These are just a few of the top cruise destinations that offer unique experiences and unforgettable memories. Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, there's a cruise destination out there that will fulfill your travel dreams.
Remember to check the itineraries and offerings of different cruise lines to find the one that best suits your interests and preferences.
*Policy availability varies.