Experts say it's best to book a cruise six or 12 months in advance to get the best price, but you might be able to get a better deal if you have the flexibility to wait a little longer. The best time of year to book a cruise is usually from January to March. During this period, also known as wave season, sales take place across the industry and the price of the cruise you've been dreaming of can drop significantly. It's also a good time to look for booking promotions, such as free upgrades, prepaid tips, or money for onboard expenses.
The best time to book a cruise is as soon as possible. Prices are lower when reservations go on sale for the first time, usually 1-2 years before departure. You can also take advantage of price protection if prices drop by booking early. The ideal strategy for booking a Royal Caribbean cruise is if you live in a country where you can change the price of your cruise until the final payment date.
Yes, there may be some decent prices for a cruise ship in the last six or eight weeks before it sails, but these are usually during the slowest times of the year, such as when there are classes or it's hurricane season. If a cruise line really needs to fill rooms, it will simply lower the price of the specific cruise instead of offering a discount on the entire fleet through an offer. While the tips above are useful in normal times or when booking a cruise well in advance, there are several factors to consider before booking a cruise right now. Booking a cruise one or two years in advance isn't practical for many families, so a good time to book a cruise is between six and 12 months before you set sail.
If you decide to go on a cruise ship right now, keep in mind that you'll need to be flexible and that your experience may not be like your last pre-pandemic cruise. If customers know that prices always drop during a given month, people would wait until wave season to buy their cruise, which means less consistent revenues for cruise lines. But why not have both? Saving money on that Caribbean cruise (or any other cruise) is easier than you think. You just need to 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.
Taking advantage of price protection has saved us thousands of dollars on cruise vacations and is one of the main reasons I prefer to book in advance. The table below shows the cruise rate per person for an interior cabin and a balcony room for a 3-day Carnival cruise over a two-year period. In fact, if you look at our price chart for the cruise below, you can see that the price you pay for a cruise about to depart is in line with the same time a year later. If you've started researching for your next cruise vacation, you may have noticed that all cruise lines seem to have one offer or another.
If you book a cruise and see the price drop later on, you can call the cruise line and request a refund equal to the difference in price. Since booking many months in advance involves the risk of guessing your own personal schedule and not expecting surprises, I always recommend booking a refundable cruise fare to avoid penalties if there is an unexpected reason to cancel a cruise. If you're planning a once-in-a-lifetime cruise experience or are concerned about value for money, you might want to wait because cruise lines offer modified experiences with health measures for the safety of guests and crew. .