Is September 10 the Cheapest Day to Cruise?

August 19, 2009
NOAA Graph Peak of Hurricane Season

(6:03 p.m. EDT) -- After an incredibly slow start to the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season -- two months without a single named storm! -- tables turned in mid-August when three storms formed in the space of a weekend (including the now-massive Hurricane Bill). And more activity may be just around the corner. That's because September is the statistical peak of the season. In fact, September 10 is historically the "busiest" day of the year, storm-wise. (It's not just our imagination; check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graph, right, which charts the number of storms on any given day over the past 100-odd years.)

So, would you book a cruise that lands you in the Caribbean on that date? Hey, why not? Even with the likelihood that there will be a named storm active on September 10, you can rest assured that a cruise ship is a safer place to be than any other vacation spot because it can relocate (and easily outrun a storm). Plus, there are deals to be had, including short four-night cruises from just $199 per person.

If you need to get away -- and are willing to risk a possible port swap here or there in the event a storm does decide to pop by -- here are some last-minute bargains on cruises that include port or sea days on September 10:

Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a four-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip Miami on Carnival Imagination from $229 for an inside cabin, $249 for an oceanview and $509 for a suite. The cruise leaves on September 7 and includes stops in Key West and Cozumel, and a sea day. The ship was one of the first to receive the "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades, major refurbishments of the line's eight older Fantasy-class vessels that include the addition of the adults-only Serenity Area, the top-deck Carnival WaterWorks and general enhancements from bow to stern. Click here for deal details.

Norwegian Cruise Line has a special deal on a four-night Florida and Bahamas cruise on Norwegian Sky leaving on September 7. The cruise sails roundtrip from Miami and visits Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in the Bahamas. Inside cabins start at $199 per person; balconies from $399. Norwegian Sky features NCL's signature freestyle dining setup -- a huge array of alternative restaurant options including Italian, hibachi, steakhouse and French Bistro. Click here for deal details.

Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas will sail roundtrip from Miami on a four-night cruise leaving on September 7. Rates start at $199 for an inside cabin and $219 for an oceanview. The sailing is scheduled to call in Nassau, Cococay (RCI's private island) and Key West. At roughly 17 years old, Majesty of the Seas is one of the oldest in Royal Caribbean's fleet, but a massive $36 million refurb in early 2007 modernized the vessel with additions like a new spa and fitness center, three new dining venues and a redesigned teen area. Click here for deal details.

One note: Besides September 10 marking the peak of hurricane season, it's not necessarily peak cruising time anyway with many travelers in a back-to-school, post-Labor-Day mindset -- another reason why it's cheaper to cruise in the fall.

For more Hurricane Season cruise deals, visit Cruise Critic's deals page.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor

Chart appears courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.