Due to its pleasant year-round weather, the Islands of the Bahamas makes a great cruise destination almost any time. Just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, Bahamian ports such as Nassau and Freeport are included on many Caribbean cruises. The best month for a cruise depends on several factors, including who's going on the cruise, what the expectations are, how much weather affects the fun and what the budget looks like.

If You Hate Crowds, the Best Month Is . . .

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Despite the increasing numbers of children in year-round schools, the summer months continue to be the most popular time for families cruising the Bahamas. Another crunch time is any period that encompasses a holiday. Cruises at these times sell out early. If trying to avoid noisy ships and crowded ports, the best times for a Bahamas cruise might be between mid-April and mid-May, which is before hurricane season starts in June, and from just after Labor Day until mid-November. (Historically, August and September are the most active months of hurricane season.)

Seekers of rest and quiet pleasure should also avoid March; it's spring break time on cruise ships in the Caribbean, and one will find themselves rubbing elbows with rowdy youths. Also consider opting for a cruise on a more sophisticated line, such as Celebrity or Holland America, that is likely to have lots of well-traveled adults.

If You Want to Save Money, the Best Month Is . . .

If looking to take an inexpensive cruise to the Bahamas, again look to off-season times – late April, early May, September, October and early November – since many people are back to work and school and since rates are generally lower. If money is an issue, be sure to avoid holiday cruises and high-season cruises from December through February; these cost more.

Another way to save money on a Bahamas cruise is to find out if there's a home port close enough to drive to rather than fly. For example, Carnival Cruises offers four-, five- and six-night Bahamas cruises year-round from Charleston, South Carolina; Celebrity Cruises offers longer Bahamas cruises from Baltimore, Maryland.

If You Love Hot Weather, the Best Month Is . . .

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If sunshine and toasty temperatures are all-important for a Bahamian cruise, go ahead and take the plunge. In that case, the best month is August, when average high temperatures are 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Ships and ports may be crowded, but everyone will be in a holiday mood and enjoying the clear water and white sandy beaches of Nassau and Freeport. Note the wettest month of the year in the Bahamas is June, and hurricane season runs from June through November.