Save the (sail) date: the biggest international festivals and seasons

If you think about it, every day is essentially a day of some sort of celebration somewhere in the world. It’s incredible to think that with 195 countries, multiple religions and four seasons, celebrations are always under way. So, in the spirit of seasons and celebrations, CruiseAway is inviting you to celebrate the world’s major international festivals and seasons by giving you the all-important dates and insider tips to note down in your cruising calendar. Now you have no excuse for missing out on these exciting happenings!

Made up in masquerade: Carnevale di Venezia

Where: Venice, Italy

When: February

International festivals in Venice

What: Characterised by markets, parades, costumes and beautifully embellished typical Venetian masks, February marks the annual and world-famous Carnevale di Venezia in Venice. As with other carnival celebrations around the world, Carnevale di Venezia takes place during the days leading up to lent. A Venetian event steeped with tradition and history dating back to 1162, artists and carnival goers flaunt their creativity and flair through their exquisite costumes and elaborate masks.

You don’t need to purchase tickets for a lavish ball to make the most of this international festival; join the cheerful congregations of crowds scattered throughout the city. Enjoy the sound of classical compositions or lively music fill the air, or admire the historical water parade of beautifully adorned gondolas. Nowhere else on this planet will you encounter sights that compare to these – such is the uniqueness of this spectacular show.

But you don’t just have to stand and watch – Venice encourages its visitors to take part in the carnival celebrations themselves! Steal the show in your own costume or mask! And, if you’re looking for that perfect romantic gift for your partner, you should align your trip to Carneval di Venezia with Valentine’s Day, as events are all love-themed. Romance is, after all, right at home here in this unique Italian city.

International festivals whilst cruising

With over 500 cruises on the CruiseAway website offering an overnight stay in Venice, and with several cruise lines such as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean offering cruises that depart from Venice each year, you will find little trouble organising your life-changing trip – whether this falls in February or not!


If you plan to witness the Flight of the Angel, located in the lively Piazza San Marco square on the first Sunday of the carnival period, we would urge you to arrive at the square no later than 10.30 am. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to enter the square because of excessive crowding.

Choreographed craziness: Rio Carnival

Where? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When? February

International festival, Rio carnival

What? The origins of this fiesta of fiestas date back to the times of the ancient Romans and Greeks, who celebrated this spring festival in honour of the god of wine. Since then, this tradition has translated into a worldwide collaboration of festivities that sees party goers and masked parades dancing in the streets, enjoying music, food and drink – all in the name of carnival. Rio Carnival is the world’s all-time capital of carnival, setting standards for exuberant celebrations everywhere. As far as international festivals go, Rio Carnival should be on your bucket list.

While you should expect the unexpected when you arrive for carnival in Rio, you can pretty much anticipate the following. Streets of Brazil’s capital come alive with crazy, outrageous carnival costumes and highly choreographed parades showcasing the very best of Brazilian zest for life. Swarms of people – tourists and locals alike – gravitate towards the unique sounds of playful samba symphonies and steel drums as they flood the hot summer air.

As this is always a highly anticipated annual event, you should purchase your ticket for the carnival in advance. Seasoned carnival goers will sometimes even book their tickets at least four to six months in advance. But don’t worry about the price of your ticket; rest assured, you will be able to find a ticket online to suit your budget.

International festival in Rio de JaneiroEmbark on an MSC cruise departing from Rio de Janeiro – this way, you’ll be sure to kick off your adventure on the high seas in high spirits. Last but not least, when you pack for your trip, don’t forget to bring your costume and all of your energy.


If you stop over in Rio de Janeiro a few days before the carnival, you should sample some sensational samba sessions at various pre-show rehearsals. Venues all over the city are usually booked out for parade participants to practice their choreographed performances. So, ask staff at your hotel about samba rehearsals in the area! You might even receive some quick dancing lessons from the professionals themselves if you’re lucky!

Glorious golden getaways: autumn in the US & Canada

Cruise to Vancouver in Autumn

Where? North America

When? September to November

What? All across the globe, Mother Nature delivers autumn along with foliage of vibrant and eye-catching red and gold. But no place really does autumn quite like North America. Autumn may signify the end of summer, but with the warm golden colour of nature here in September to November, you’ll forget that winter is on its way.

With unparalleled national parks and landscapes across North America, autumn is calling you over to explore it at its very best. This popular and particularly photogenic season will paint the US towns of San Francisco and Seattle red as soon as summer bids farewell and milder temperatures sweep across the country. If you visit these particular gems during the autumn, you can for sure expect to enjoy the same unrivalled nature as in the summer, but with fewer other tourists getting in your way. You should head to Seattle’s largest park, Discovery Park, boasting panoramic views over 534 acres of tranquillity – away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This time of year in the US apparently also sees the least rainfall on average, which makes it the perfect time to travel here.Seasons in San Francisco on a cruise

Did you know that Canada’s vibrant city of Vancouver is one of the greenest cities in the world? Well, this is only figuratively true in autumn, when the city’s abundant parks adopt their autumnal attire of gold and amber. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride around Stanley Park, and take refuge in nature’s serenity outside the busy city. Whether you fancy a round-the-world trip stopping over in Vancouver, or you’d like to spend more time discovering the indescribable beauty of North America’s West Coast, you’ll find a cruise tailored especially to your cruising wishes. Alternatively, you can opt for adventures along the east coast of Canada – to Nova Scotia, where you’ll be blown away by the amber-coloured trees that line the long coastline roads.


Opt for a cruise tour to the Canadian or US Rockies between September and November, when autumn is in full swing. North American nature will welcome you with open arms upon your arrival, with backdrops of mountains, forests and scenery that are simply without compare. Keep your camera at the ready to capture every moment.


So, celebrate these international festivals and seasons in style and book a cruise or exclusive cruise package via our website or call our hotline on 1300 887 590. 


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