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Bottom Bay, Barbados (Photo: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)
Bottom Bay, Barbados (Photo: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)

Best Time to Visit Barbados on a Cruise: A Month-by-Month Breakdown

Bottom Bay, Barbados (Photo: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)
Bottom Bay, Barbados (Photo: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)
Contributor
Melinda Crow

Last updated
Mar 15, 2024

The best time to visit Barbados is whenever you can get there. Having said that, there are slight differences between the various months. The geographical location of Barbados creates an interesting dynamic within the cruise industry. It’s farther east than all of the Eastern Caribbean islands. That makes it a perfect location for beginning or ending Transatlantic repositioning cruises.

Flights to Barbados are easy from the U.S., making cruises that begin and end here even easier. Throughout the year, you’ll find numerous cruises that include Barbados on deep Southern Caribbean itineraries and some cruise lines that use the island as a port of departure for southern cruises.

Cruise Critic went in search of the best time to visit Barbados on a cruise, as well as what cruise lines to shop for throughout the year. Let’s start our exploration.

January Is Arguably the Best Time to Visit Barbados

Barbados

January may actually be the best time to visit Barbados. You’ll have your choice of cruise lines that either visit the island or that begin or end their cruises here. It’s prime season for luxury lines in the Caribbean, and there’s no better time to dip your toes in water on one of the island’s amazing beaches. As a bonus, look for boats (and yachts) of every size in Barbados water as this is race and sailing season.

Weather in Barbados in January Is Warm and breezy

Daytime temperatures on Barbados in January average around 84 degrees F (29 degrees C). Combined with the steady breeze, that makes almost any activity enjoyable.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in January

A wide range of cruise lines and departure ports give cruisers more choices than ever. Look for Royal Caribbean sailing from San Juan, Princess arriving from Fort Lauderdale, and Seabourn sailing from St. Maarten. Cruise lines that offer cruises that begin in Barbados in January include Windstar and Emerald.

February in Barbados: Pleasant Weather During Turtle Season

We caught up with the founder of Panache Cruises, James Cole, who spends a third of the year in Barbados for some insider info. He clued us in on the fact that February is turtle nesting season. A February pre- or post-cruise visit might provide an opportunity to witness this amazing event of nature.

Weather in Barbados in February Is Delightfully Dry

The temperatures begin to creep up a bit, but the humidity and rainfall are still months away. Breezes continue to add a cooling effect.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in February

Both mainstream and luxury lines are still going strong in February. Look for all the lines we previously mentioned and more. Catch a cruise to Barbados in February on Virgin Voyages and Viking Ocean sailing from San Juan, or perhaps MSC or Costa sailing from Forte-de-France, Martinique.

March in Barbados: Spring Break Crowds but Comfortable Temperatures

Passengers on P&O Cruises Arvia watch the naming ceremony from the SkyDome (Photo: Christopher Ison)
Passengers on P&O Cruises Arvia watch the naming ceremony from the SkyDome (Photo: Christopher Ison)

Spring break means more visitors than ever flooding Barbados and the cruise lines. If you’re cruising with kids, you’ll still have plenty of lines to choose from. For those looking to escape the youngsters (and the partiers), there are kid-free options that get you to Barbados in March. That might even be the best excuse ever to try an all-adult cruise.

Weather in Barbados in March Is Dry and Comfortable

With lower humidity and rainfall, the temperatures in March continue to be comfortable. The dry season continues through the month, with temperatures variable in the mid-80s.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in March

There are still so many choices of cruise lines to choose from. Should you try a sailing yacht? How about a U.K. favorite, P&O? March cruises to Barbados include sailings on Oceania from Miami and Celebrity from Fort Lauderdale. Cruises beginning or ending in Barbados include Silversea and P&O.

April in Barbados: Crowds Are Gone and Weather Is Nearly Perfect

P&O Cruises Arvia in Barbados ahead of her naming ceremony (Photo: Christopher Ison)
P&O Cruises Arvia in Barbados ahead of her naming ceremony (Photo: Christopher Ison)

April heralds fresh beginnings, even in the cruise world. What better starting point for a transatlantic cruise than Barbados in April? The crowds are gone, so you should be able to book flights and a nice hotel without difficulty. Then relax on stunning white beaches soaking up the tropical sun before your big ocean crossing. April is our pick for the second best time to visit Barbados.

Weather in Barbados in April Is Near Perfect

With little chance of storms, April’s weather feels like genuine paradise. Temperatures begin to increase, with more days above 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) than below.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in April

In April, look for an overall decrease in ships sailing into Barbados, but it’s a prime month for transatlantic departures by MSC, Windstar and Oceania heading to summer seasons in European ports like Barcelona, Lisbon and Southampton, England.

May in Barbados Is Festival Time with Inviting Weather

Aerial view of Barbados' Garrison Historic Area (Photo: Barbados Tourism)
The Garrison Historic Area in Barbados (Photo: Barbados Tourism)

Once again, we turned to our favorite Barbados insider. Cole tells us that once the high-season tourists are gone, the rest of the world shows up for festivals of all sorts. The Reggae Festival is expected, but who knew there was a Celtic Festival in Barbados?

Weather in Barbados in May Is Inviting

The rains begin to move in, but there’s still plenty of sunshine to enjoy. Temperatures are moderate, varying between 85 degrees F (29°C) and 87 degrees F (31°C).

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in May

Your options for a cruise that includes Barbados are somewhat limited. Royal Caribbean generally has a mid-sized ship like Rhapsody of the Seas positioned to sail from San Juan throughout the summer. Hard to complain about any ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, especially when it transports you to paradise.

June in Barbados Is the Start of the Rainy Season

When it rains, the best thing to do is just accept it and get wet. Any month is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving in Barbados, but when the weather is less than ideal for beach sitting, consider activities that take you under the water. Expect to see sea turtles, colorful fish and even an occasional dolphin.

Weather in Barbados in June Is Transitional

As the heat and rainfall begin to increase, look for temperatures in June to average around 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) during the day. Rainfall averages up to six inches this month, as it will throughout the summer. Luckily, the rain often comes in brief showers each afternoon.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in June

June is the quiet season for cruising to Barbados, but it may very well be an ideal time to plan ahead and book your winter Barbados cruise on your favorite mainstream line like Norwegian, Carnival or Holland America.

July in Barbados Is the Quietest Month to Visit

Bottom Bay, Barbados (Photo: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)
Bottom Bay, Barbados (Photo: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock)

If you’re cruising to Barbados in July, it’s most likely on Royal Caribbean. We went in search of shore excursions available through the ship and found a long list that included snorkel trips, beach breaks, four-wheel adventures and cultural tours.

Weather in Barbados in July Is Expectedly Toasty

It’s best to prepare for the heat and abundant sunshine in July, as you would expect anywhere this far south in the Caribbean. The average daytime high temperature is around 87 degrees F (31 degrees C) -- perfect for water sports or lazy days on the beach.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in July

You can still get to Barbados in July on Royal Caribbean, but as the summer quiet season for cruising peaks in Barbados, consider a premium or luxury cruise line for your winter cruise. Look for Cunard, Ritz Carlton, and SeaDream Yacht Club in Barbados in the winter months.

August in Barbados Means the Festival Called Carnival

Parliament Building in Bridgetown, Barbados (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Barbados' Parliament Building in Bridgetown (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

In Barbados, "Carnival" is actually a festival called Crop Over, which celebrates the traditional end of the sugar cane harvest. As with any good festival, expect parades, parties, vibrant costumes, and lots of music and dancing.

Weather in Barbados in August Is Still Hot

Expect sun-soaked days, perfect for enjoying the island's beautiful beaches and unique culture, but it's advisable to stay prepared for brief tropical showers that can add a bit of a reprieve from the heat. Daytime temperatures average 87 degrees F (31 degrees C).

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in August

The trickle of more ships begins in August. You might be able to catch a Princess cruise from New York to Barbados.

September in Barbados Brings the Repositioning Season

Married couple Jessie Stoelwinder and Em Williams run through the water with their young daughter (Photo: Jarrad Seng/AIPP library)
Married couple Jessie Stoelwinder and Em Williams run through the water with their young daughter (Photo: Jarrad Seng/AIPP library)

Look for ships arriving from both east and west as cruise lines begin to move ships out of destinations like Alaska and South America, as well as Europe. September is still quiet on the island, making it an ideal time for a romantic couples’ cruise.

Weather in Barbados in September Is Often Hot and Wet

Barbados in September can be as hot as during the summer months, with an average daytime high temperature of about 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). As the rainy season progresses, the feel-like temperatures grow increasingly tropical in nature.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in September

September sees the first repositioning cruises arrive in Barbados. Seabourn from Reykjavik, for just one example, is a highly enticing itinerary for many.

October in Barbados Means a Few More Ship Options with Temperate Weather

Eri Vincent, Sasha Sydnor, Carlos Martinez and Micah Ramos relax on a catamaran. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)
Eri Vincent, Sasha Sydnor, Carlos Martinez and Micah Ramos relax on a catamaran. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)

Cruise season is not in full swing, but expect more choices, more port calls and more repositioning cruises arriving in Barbados. We found sailings on both mainstream and luxury lines.

Weather in Barbados in October Is Temperate With Showers

In October, Barbados features an average daytime high temperature of around 86 degrees F (30 degrees C), providing a warm and inviting atmosphere. However, it's worth noting that October is still part of the island's rainy season, with an average rainfall of approximately six inches. Showers are almost daily, but often brief.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in October

October sees a steady increase in choices of cruise lines and ships sailing into Barbados. The list includes Explora Journeys, Scenic and Regent Seven Seas.

November in Barbados Is Full-on Cruise Season with Cooler Temperatures

Royal Clipper (Photo: Star Clippers)
Royal Clipper (Photo: Star Clippers)

November’s cruise schedule includes ships in port six days a week throughout the month -- and most days with two or more ships. That means more people on the island, but it also means that tourist activities are up and running in greater numbers.

Weather in Barbados in November Brings Cooler Temperatures

Barbados experiences pleasant tropical weather in November with an average daytime high temperature of approximately 86 degrees F (30 degrees C).

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in November

Besides the mainstream lines and others we’ve already mentioned, November sailings that call on or begin in Barbados include Star Clippers, Disney and Crystal.

December in Barbados Brings Holiday Joy with Balmy Weather

Friends take a selfie on the beach. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)
Friends take a selfie on the beach. (Photo: Naima Green/AIPP)

Our choice of the third best time to visit Barbados is December. If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy a tropical holiday season, Barbados beckons. Whether you cruise from Barbados, or to the island from a distant port, plan to enjoy the festive atmosphere and a little shopping.

Weather in Barbados in December Is Balmy

In December, Barbados enjoys a warm and tropical climate with an average daytime high temperature of around 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). This makes it an ideal destination for those seeking balmy weather and sunny skies during the holiday season.

Cruise Lines that Visit Barbados in December

There are so many choices of cruise lines sailing into and out of Barbados in December. Even Azamara passes this way in December. It’s a perfect time to do what we call a side-by-side booking. That’s like a back-to-back, but on different ships. For instance, you could sail from Fort Lauderdale on Silversea on a luxury ship like Silver Moon then switch to an exciting sailing yacht like Wind Spirit that sails round-trip from Barbados.


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