Best Time to Book a Cruise

By: clarknorton

Best Time to Book a Cruise

Why Cruise Lines Are Willing to Offer
Great Discounts if Your Book Early?

  • 1) Nothing makes cruise lines happier than convincing passengers that booking their cruise early is their best chance to land a great discount cruise deal.
  • 2) Selling as many cabins as early as possible helps the cruise lines in their planning and means they don't have to worry about whether or not a particular ship will fill up. 

So to encourage passengers to book cruises as far in advance as possible, cruise lines will often offer plenty of incentives, such as 'two-for-one' deals with 'free' airfare for early bookers. 

Best Time to Book a Cruise
Besides taking advantage of such special offers, it makes sense to book early if you don't have much flexibility in your travel plans.

1) Book 6 to 12 Months Ahead
It’s best and often the cheapest to book a cruise six to 12 months ahead to ensure you get an optimum selection of cabin types, itineraries and super special promotional rates. The most popular booking period runs between January and March, especially for Caribbean sailings.

2. Avoid The School Holiday Periods
It is simplt economics. Nobody wants to sell cheap if demand is huge. So if your schedule allows, avoid the peak periods. The peak months of June, July, and August, and late November and late December are usually more expensive.

3) Go for the Offseason Periods
May and Sep is known for as the offseason for many cruises. Book at least six to 12 months ahead for these period. There is better pricing on the offseason, since schools are in session and non-holiday sailings.

How Much Discount is Good?
When looking for promotions, don't settle for token discounts or offers such as a 'free bottle of wine!' or 'free souvenir photo!' that don't amount to much at all. Comb the Internet for the most attractive offers or insist that your travel agent nail down the best discount cruise deal you can get.

  • Fifty percent off printed brochure rates is a good target price, especially for the big mainstream cruise lines, which routinely offer huge discounts late in the game if a cruise isn't selling fast enough. 
  • Luxury lines or smaller expedition-style cruise ships may not offer as good a discount cruise deal for early booking, but many do sweeten the pot by offering cabin upgrades or other perks. 

    If you are travelling on a honeymoon, request for a free upgrade to their honeymoon suite. Most cruises will oblige.
  • On some voyages, kids go for free as the third or fourth passengers in their parents' cabins. But like most early booking offers, it could be withdrawn at any time. 

Best Time to Book a Cruise
The bottom line is, if you know you want to take a particular cruise at a particular time to a particular place and if you don't have much flexibility in your travel plans then it generally pays to book your cruise as early as possible. 

Most cruise lines will offer a discount cruise deal that makes it worth your while to do just that. Just make sure you dont limit your options to just one particuliar cruise line and itinerary. Good Luck

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