Eastern Caribbean weather matters a great deal to anyone planning a cruise in that region of the world. Cruises generally are available for the eastern, western and southern areas of the Caribbean. Ports of call in the eastern region may include Antigua, the Bahamas, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But the weather can vary greatly from one island to another for one simple reason — the distance from the Bahamas in the north to St. Kitts in the south totals more than 1,000 miles. So anyone taking a cruise can see major changes in the weather during a single trip.
The average high temperature in the Bahamas ranges from the high 70s Fahrenheit in December through February to the high 80s and sometimes above 90 during the summer months. Rainfall is moderate during most of the year, but it hits a high point during a brief rainy season in June and again during a longer rainy season in September and October, which are the peak months of the annual Caribbean hurricane season.
Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of the Bahamas and as a result have slightly warmer temperatures. Like the Bahamas, winter months still have highs in the upper 70s. Even more southeast lie the bigger cluster of islands — Antigua, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and the Virgin Islands. The average highs for these islands stay in the 80s even during the winter months, which make them more popular for long-term stays during those months than for cruise visits.
Annual Hurricane Season
Time of year is a much bigger factor in dealing with eastern Caribbean weather. The annual hurricane season officially runs from June 1 until Nov. 30. On average, about 12 to 15 storms move through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico each year. But individual destinations may avoid most of them because they lie outside of the storms’ paths.
June and November see the fewest storms and hurricanes. On average, there are three storms with two becoming hurricanes in July and August, four storms with two becoming hurricanes in September, and four storms with very few becoming hurricanes in October. The most rain falls in the eastern Caribbean in September and October.
Best Times to Go
Anyone planning to take an eastern Caribbean cruise that includes the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos would best go from early spring to late summer and avoid the winter months because of cooler nighttime temperatures and chilly seawater. Vacations who plan to stay on an island will find that November through July are good months for the southernmost islands in the eastern region. Any vacation in the Caribbean during the fall months has a high risk of rain from storms or hurricanes. Prices for cruises, resorts and hotels are lower during those months as a result. If lower prices are appealing, consider buying travel insurance.
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