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Cruising to St. Lucia: When is the best time to visit?

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St. Lucia is one of the British Windward Islands, bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the left and Atlantic Ocean on the right. It is a popular year-round, Caribbean cruise destination for its subtropical climate and average daily temperature of 80 degrees F. When planning a cruise to St. Lucia, it is wise to consider several factors, such as its high- and low-tourism seasons, hurricane season, annually scheduled events and seasonal travel costs.

Tourism Seasons

St. Lucia's high tourism season, from mid-December to early April, is the most expensive and busiest. Its low season is from mid-April to early December and is typically less expensive as cruise and vacation packages are discounted due to the lack of travelers. The only time during the low season, or summer months, the island will see a spike in the number of visitors is in May for the annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival and in June and July for the St. Lucia Carnival festival.

Weather and Hurricane Season

Even though St. Lucia has a subtropical climate, the trade winds that frequently blow in across the island provide a cooling effect. St. Lucia's dry season is from February to May, with temperatures ranging from 70 degrees F at night to 90 during the day. During the rainy season, from June to December, the island may see some tropical rain showers, but temperatures stay right around a comfortable, 70 to 75 degrees F. Hurricane season in the Caribbean begins in early June and lasts through the end of November, with the worst weather peaking around September and October.

Cruise Ports and Excursions

Most cruise ships that sail to St. Lucia dock at the Port of Castries. Visitors will find duty-free shopping downtown, as well as a variety of souvenirs at the local marketplace. For shore excursions, most cruise ships offer a land and sea combo tour to Soufriere Beach, which boasts black sands and turquoise-blue lagoons. During this excursion, you will take a guided tour of the nearby Diamond Mineral Waterfall and botanical gardens. Another popular St. Lucia excursion is the Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari aboard a boat equipped with a hydrophone. This allows passengers to hear whales singing while underwater. Species you may observe include pilot whales, humpbacks, sperm whales and spinner, bottlenose and spotted dolphins.

Booking Cruise Passage

It is always best to book your cruise as early as possible and at least three months in advance is recommended. Travelers may book passage online through the cruise tour operator's website, by phone or through a reputable travel agent. Several major cruise lines offer cruises itineraries that stop in St. Lucia, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises and Crystal Cruises.

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