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Beach in Esperanza, Vieques Island (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Esperanza pier on the south coast of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico on a Cruise: A Month-by-Month Guide

Beach in Esperanza, Vieques Island (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Esperanza pier on the south coast of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Contributor
Melinda Crow

Last updated
Jun 10, 2024

Some might say anytime is the best time to visit Puerto Rico on a cruise, but there are variables that can influence your decision of exactly when you might want to go. Weather changes are slight, but factoring in the number of cruise ships visiting Puerto Rico any given month can mean the difference between snagging a hot deal or paying peak price.

Some cruise lines only visit Puerto Rico in certain seasons, which is particularly true of luxury and premium lines. It also may matter whether you are looking for a cruise that stops in Puerto Rico or one that leaves from San Juan. Some months have far more options. For one example, the only cruise line that visits Puerto Rican ports other than San Juan is SeaDream Yacht Club.

Cruise Critic weighed all the factors for you and came up with a twelve-month breakdown to help you decide when is the best time for you to visit Puerto Rico on a cruise.

Escape Winter on a Cruise with Ideal Puerto Rico Weather in January

Wild horses grazing near Sun Bay, Vieques (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
The island of Vieques is known for its abundance of wild horses (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

Puerto Rico weather in January is mild and pleasant, making it a top cruise destination for those looking to escape colder climates. The average daily high temperatures are around 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius), providing a perfect setting for outdoor adventures.

Rainfall during January is relatively low, with an average of 2.2 inches (56 mm) throughout the month, ensuring plenty of sunshine for visitors to enjoy. Whether exploring the historic streets of Old San Juan or lounging on the picturesque beaches, January offers a delightful climate for travelers to Puerto Rico.

Cruise lines that visit the port of San Juan in January abound and include Carnival from multiple ports, like Port Canaveral, Miami and Galveston. Also look for Virgin Voyages and Viking Ocean cruises, both sailing from San Juan. January is the second busiest cruise month in San Juan with the total ships for the month pushing near eighty.

Puerto Rico Weather in February Brings the Luxury Cruise Lines

San Juan

Puerto Rico weather in February continues to be mild, the average daily high temperatures as warm as 84 degrees F (29 degrees C), providing a comfortable environment for exploring. Rainfall remains low in February, with an average of 1.6 inches (41 mm) throughout the month.

Whether ziplining through the lush rainforests of El Yunque National Forest, shopping or enjoying a beach break, February offers a wonderful climate for cruisers to enjoy all that Puerto Rico has to offer -- making it possibly the best time to visit Puerto Rico on a cruise for almost anyone.

February is an ideal month to visit Puerto Rico on a luxury cruise. Silversea offers roundtrip sailings from Ft. Lauderdale, or some that cruise one-way, beginning or ending in Barbados. Regent Seven Seas typically offers February cruises from Miami that stop in Puerto Rico as well as Roseau, Dominica just in time for humpback whale breeding season there.

Or hop onboard an MSC cruise from Miami, with options of seven or 14 nights, all calling at San Juan and the line’s private island destination in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. February sees only a few less ships in port than January, with the daily port count averaging two or three, with a monthly total around 65.

Puerto Rico Weather in March Brings Warmer Temps and Spring Break Cruises

Flamenco Beach in Culebra island, Puerto Rico (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Flamenco Beach is one of the main attractions in Culebra island (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

Puerto Rico weather in March experiences a transition into slightly warmer weather. The average daily high temperatures sneak up to 85 degrees F (29 degrees C), which is still not too hot for hiking, ATV rides, or touring the historic fort. Rainfall starts to increase slightly in March, with an average of 2.1 inches (53 mm) of precipitation throughout the month.

Despite the occasional showers, March offers plenty of sunny days, and spring break crowds take advantage of that. Though ships are crowded, March is not the peak cruise month for Puerto Rico. The daily count can be as many as five ships in port, with a monthly total of nearly 60 ships.

Mainstream cruise lines are busy throughout most of March. Those that visit Puerto Rico to take advantage of the last temperate weather, include Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), which offers seven-night roundtrip cruises to both the Eastern Caribbean and Southern Caribbean directly from San Juan, and longer cruises from Miami, that may also cruise as far south as the ABC Islands.

Puerto Rico Weather in April Heralds the Beginning of the Summer Slow Down

Beach in Esperanza, Vieques Island (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Esperanza pier on the south coast of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

The temperatures in Puerto Rico rise in April as cruise ship visits begin to drop. The average daily high temperatures rise to 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). Rainfall is still relatively low in April, with an average of 2.0 inches (51 mm) of precipitation throughout the month.

Falling between the big spring break rush and graduation celebrations, April is often a slower cruise season. There are fewer ships because some are already bound for summer destinations like the Mediterranean and Alaska. Total ship counts for the month can be as low as forty, leaving plenty of room in port for those who do arrive.

It’s a good month to look at Royal Caribbean sailings from Miami, Port Canaveral or even Bayonne, New Jersey. Destinations the line visits beyond Puerto Rico on these cruises include St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and the private island Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Puerto Rico Weather in May Is Perfect for Water Sports

Caribbean Princess departs San Juan, Puerto Rico (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Caribbean Princess departs San Juan, Puerto Rico (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

May is a fantastic time for visiting Puerto Rico on a cruise, since the average daily high temperatures climb to 87 degrees F (31 degrees C). Rainfall starts to increase slightly in May, with an average of 3.5 inches (89 mm) of precipitation throughout the month.

The total number of ships visiting Puerto Rico in May falls below 20, meaning you have fewer choices but less crowded facilities once you arrive in port. Princess Cruises offers a choice between seven- and 14-night cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, most of which include a stop at the line’s private island destination Princess Cays in the Bahamas.

As the heat rises, the water becomes more tempting than ever before. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and boating activities become prime shore excursion options. Beach day passes are another good choice because they often include refreshments and even spa time.

Pack an Umbrella to Enjoy Puerto Rico Weather in June

In June, Puerto Rico experiences warm and humid weather, marking the beginning of the rainy season. The average daily high temperature ranges from 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) to 88 degrees F (31 degrees C), creating rather hot conditions for exploring the island. June is also one of the wettest months in Puerto Rico, with an average monthly rainfall of about 5.2 inches (132 mm).

There are still cruise options for visiting Puerto Rico in June, but the pier is far less busy this time of year than in winter. MSC, Carnival and Royal Caribbean are the primary cruise lines visiting in June, but you could get lucky and find a Celebrity cruise -- maybe even one with a private island stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Embrace the Heat Because Puerto Rico Weather in July is Hot

There’s no pretense of the weather in Puerto Rico in July other than "hot and humid." Temperatures climb to 89 degrees F (32 degrees C) and the rainfall averages 5.6 inches (142 mm) for the month.

Snorkeling in Puerto Rico is delightful, but don’t forget alternatives like SNUBA and helmet dives. You can also get wet by venturing inland on a waterfall hike or at a waterpark.

Cruise lines that visit Puerto Rico in July are typically headed farther south to explore more of the Caribbean. Princess offers 14-night itineraries that include Western Caribbean destinations like Cozumel, Roatan and Belize.

Wrap Up Summer on a Mega Ship When Puerto Rico Weather in August Heats Up

Carnival Horizon Sailing in San Juan (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Horizon Sailing in San Juan (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

The Puerto Rico weather in August is also going to be wet and hot. Average daytime temperatures may push even higher than 89 degrees F (32 degrees C). Rainfall may exceed 6 inches (155 mm). Fortunately, cruise prices tend to drop just a smidge in August as families begin preparing for a return to school.

Cruise line choices are somewhat limited, but the major cruise lines visit Puerto Rico throughout the year. Have a look at the ship details of MSC Seascape or Carnival Mardi Gras for the kind of fun you can have on a cruise to Puerto Rico, no matter what the weather is like.

Puerto Rico Weather in September Can Mean the First Repositioning Ships Arrive

Though the Puerto Rico weather in September will mimic August and still be hot, muggy and possibly even stormy, don’t miss out on the first few repositioning ships arriving from other parts of the world and make stops in Puerto Rico.

Though they are more likely to be found passing through in October or November, look for possibilities on Seabourn, Windstar and even Cunard in September. These may be segments of a longer cruise and may come with slightly lower cruise fares if the ship is transitioning.

Bring on the Variety as Puerto Rico Weather in October Begins to Chill

Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Jewel of the Seas (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

Puerto Rico weather in October comes with a tiny drop in the average daytime temperature – possibly as low as 86 degrees F (30 degrees C).

The big news for October, however, is an increase in the number of cruise lines to choose from. Some, like Crystal and Explora Journeys, are simply passing through. Others, like Windstar, may stick around for a few weeks. Even the mainstream lines join in the ship shuffle. You may find ships that have never cruised here before.

Puerto Rico Weather in November Means Even More Cruise Options

Other than some passing storms, November weather in Puerto Rico is quite pleasant. Expect temperatures to range from 83 degrees F (28 degrees C) to 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). Rainfall chances are less than during the late summer, with only an average of 4.3 inches (109 mm). In other words, it’s delightful to be out and about again.

November is the perfect month to visit Puerto Rico’s stunning outdoor scenic and historic sites, though the crowds may be there to join you. Ship counts for the month rise to more than 50. Cruise lines that can get you there in November include Azamara, Oceania and Disney.

Puerto Rico Weather in December Welcomes Cruisers and Holiday Cheer

Wonder of the Seas in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Wonder of the Seas in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

December in Puerto Rico ushers in the beginning of the dry season, offering visitors a delightful mix of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. The average daily high temperatures range from 82 degrees F (28 degrees C) to 84 degrees F (29 degrees C), still providing ideal weather for outdoor activities and beach excursions.

The island experiences lower humidity levels during this time, creating pleasant conditions for exploring the vibrant culture, historic sites and natural beauty that Puerto Rico has to offer. December also marks the start of the holiday season, adding a touch of magic to the island's atmosphere.

The daily ship count is the highest of all months. Expect three or more ships in port most days, while total ships for the month can be close to 90. Even more cruise lines return to Puerto Rico in December. Look for Marella and TUI in addition to all the mainstreams and most of the luxury lines.


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