Setting sail on a cruise during winter is hugely different than it is in the summer. Because June through August is peak tourist season, there are likely to be big crowds in airports, aboard ships, and on-shore.[slideshow:104573]
This can make or break an experience, especially if a stroller running over your toes and the sound of shrill baby screams haunt everything you’ve ever known and loved. Vacationing alongside families with young children is easier to avoid in the winter. Just watch out for Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the kiddos aren’t in school.
Sun-seekers looking to escape icy cold temperatures can bust out their bathing suits in tropical territories after hurricane season is over. Kiss the snow goodbye and work on your tan with a piña colada in hand, or go whale watching, surfing, sailing, snorkeling with dolphins, or swimming with pigs. The world is your oyster.
For a different experience, head to Europe, Asia, or even Antarctica, where the weather might be less than blazing hot, but other tourists are essentially nonexistent. Find solace in the winter wonderlands of Germany and France, where you’ll be dazzled by remarkable holiday markets, or marvel at the northern lights in Norway. Don’t get roped into paying double the price for R&R in the summer.