Cruise lines often offer their best rates when itineraries first go on sale, and then prices may increase as ships fill up. However, it is not always the case that cruise prices are cheaper when the departure date approaches. Generally, the cheapest prices are found farthest from the departure date when it was first launched or between 60 and 90 days before the cruise ship departs. It is possible to find last-minute cruise deals, but they are rare and not always available.
Wave season is a popular time to find cruise deals, but not all companies publish their best deals and promotions during this period. Sales (or lack of sales) are often based on what is being sold and what is not. If a cruise ship fills up quickly, there is no incentive for the company to launch a sale to attract customers. On the other hand, if a cruise ship's departure date approaches quickly and the ship is only partially booked, prices may drop and free add-ons may be offered in order to entice customers.
If you decide to go on a cruise right now, you should be aware that you will need to be flexible and that your experience may not be like your last pre-pandemic cruise. To get the best deals on cruises, you should consider booking when others are not booking cruises. Planning a vacation during the pandemic can be complicated, and booking a cruise comes with additional considerations and complications. Saving money on a Caribbean cruise (or any other cruise) is possible if you know how the industry works, including the best time to book a cruise, when you can get an upgrade and how to get the navigation you want without breaking the bank.
Most cruise agency websites will have a “last minute deals” page where you can find cheap cruise deals. However, most trips sell out in the weeks and months before the start of the cruise, leaving little or no opportunity to book a cruise closer to the departure date. Last-minute cruises are not recommended as a way to plan your family vacation since they are so rare. If you're planning a once-in-a-lifetime cruise experience or are concerned about value for money, it may be best to wait because cruise lines offer modified experiences with health measures for the safety of guests and crew.
Different cruise destinations will have different “peak” times and in some regions it will be more difficult to find a bargain than in others.