When is the Best Time to Book a Cruise and Get the Best Price?

Cruise vacations are a great way to explore the world and relax, but getting the best price can be tricky. To get the best deal, experts recommend booking a cruise six to twelve months in advance. This period, known as wave season, is when sales take place across the industry and prices 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 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. 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. 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. 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 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? 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. 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.

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. 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.

Elise Thorne
Elise Thorne

Amateur zombie evangelist. Proud musicaholic. Amateur web practitioner. General zombie trailblazer. Award-winning beer ninja. Typical bacon geek.