7 Cruises You Should Take This Summer to Avoid the Heat

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Cool Cruises Cover
Cheapism / pchoui/Reimphoto/SeppFriedhuber/istockphoto

Cool Cruises

Come July and August, the summer heat and humidity can feel stifling in many parts of the country. You still want to get away on a vacation, but the thought of cruising typical Caribbean and Central American ports seems unbearable under the relentless sun.

Luckily, there's plenty of cruises in cooler weather destinations where you can beat the heat. If you prefer cozying up to a fireplace rather than sunbathing in the sand, then these cool weather cruises are for you.

Cruise Ship in Juneau, Alaska

1. Alaska

Alaskan cruises are probably the quintessential cold weather cruise. Most cruise lines offer them, so whatever your preferred line is, chances are you can stick with it. Summer in Alaska brings out beautiful, mild weather (but pack cold weather gear like hats and jackets since the weather changes quickly), green landscapes, and tons of majestic wildlife. Plus, there's glaciers to explore, fish to catch, and helicopter rides to take everything all in.

Related: 23 Things That You Should Never Do on a Cruise

Polar bear on pack ice

2. Northwest Passage

Arctic circle cruises are like Alaskan cruises on steroids. Since the Northwest Passage is such a large area, from Alaska all the way to Greenland, cruises here are usually about two weeks long or even longer. (If a shorter cruise is preferable, check out cruises to Greenland and Iceland.)  Many revolve around sightseeing, but some lines operate trips for more adventurous travelers as well. Either way, you'll see gorgeous land and seascapes, wildlife including seals, polar bears, and whales, and visit Intuit villages.

Famous Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina

3. South America

There are many cruise itineraries that sail around the tip of South America, and when it's summer for us up here in the northern hemisphere, don't forget that it's winter down there. You'll port in Chile and Argentina, including Ushuaia on the southernmost tip of the continent. Penguins, glaciers, and amazing scenery are the big draws for these cruises. (If you're thinking an Antarctic cruise would be great this summer, you're out of luck: those only sail during the southern hemisphere summer from November through May.)

Related: The Most Unbelievable Cruise Ship Amenities

Tranquil fjord

4. Scandinavia

There are a couple ways to cruise around Scandinavia, including a Baltic Sea cruise and a Norwegian fjord itinerary. In the Baltic, you'll often explore ports like Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki for a whirlwind tour of Scandinavia. If fjords, kayaking, waterfalls, and breathtaking natural settings are more your thing, find a cruise with ports on the western coast of Norway. Often, all of these cruises depart from the UK or Amsterdam. 

Related: 10 Things To Never Bring On A Cruise

Giants Causeway Hexagonal Rock Formation Northern Ireland

5. British Isles

The UK isn't exactly known for its blisteringly hot summer weather, which is exactly why it's a great July and August cruise destination. Since the British Isles are, well, islands, many of its most popular cities and attractions are accessible by a cruise ship. Cork, Glasgow, the Isle of Man, and Waterford are all popular ports, and since it's so close to France, some add a port there for good measure. Castles, rolling green countryside, and iconic natural beauty like the Giant's Causeway and Ring of Kerry are the stars of these cruises. 

Related: Before You Set Sail, Learn These Surprising Cruise Ship Facts

Fort Mackinac in Mackinac Island, Michigan
Fort Mackinac in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Drdpw (CC BY)

6. Great Lakes

If sailing the open ocean isn't appealing, you can try cruising on smaller ships on the Great Lakes. There are a number of different itineraries to choose from, with stops in places like Milwaukee, Mackinac Island, Sault Saint Marie, Toronto, and Niagara Falls. Because the ships are smaller than the massive floating cities in the Caribbean, they offer a more intimate and personalized cruise experience. 

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Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, Canada

7. Canada and New England

Just as you can cruise the waters of northern Canada, you can do the same on the eastern coast, where it stays relatively cool throughout the summer. Many of these cruises start in Montreal or Quebec City, then head east to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for majestic scenery. On longer itineraries, some lines head to Boston, Maine, and even New York City.