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

The best time to book a cruise and get the cheapest rates is usually from January to March. This period, also known as wave season, is when sales take place across the industry and you can find great deals on the cruise of your dreams. It's also beneficial to book early, as cruise rates tend to increase as more cabins are booked. If you're a first-time or experienced traveler, you can find expert advice on ports and destinations.

Knowing when cruise lines are likely to offer promotions will help you develop strategies, but sales can happen at any time and not all promotions offer the best rates. If you're traveling with children or have specific cabin requirements, it's best to book earlier than at the last minute. Currently, a cruise line can accept a reservation just a few hours before sailing, as long as boarding is still open and the ship's manifest (list of passengers and crew members on board) has not been presented to the authorities. The Royal Caribbean blog is a great resource for keeping up with news and emotions from Royal Caribbean.

Price tracking allows you to observe the rise and fall of cruise fares over time, so that when fares drop, you'll recognize the price as an offer and you can take advantage of it. However, some flexibility is needed before booking a cruise at the last minute. In the cruise industry, any cruise purchased after the final payment due date, generally between 60 and 90 days before the trip, is considered a last-minute reservation. It's almost always best to book a future cruise that interests you while you're at home and not wait to book it on board.

Booking in advance allows you to get the best price and have the most flexibility in terms of boats, cabins and itineraries. The best months to book a cruise are from January to March, when almost every cruise company launches some kind of “wave season” promotion, and from November to December, when Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales usually start long before Thanksgiving and end days or weeks later. If all cruise cost factors are equal, the cheapest time to go on a cruise is when most others are busy or don't want to go on that same trip. This is because the cruise fare may increase in the weeks or months leading up to your cruise, negating any additional savings in the onboard credit you would receive when booking on board.

If you want to save money sailing with Carnival Cruise Line, a new study indicates that the best time to book is 10 weeks before your cruise. Only vaccinated travelers who are a short drive from the cruise port should try to book a cruise a few days before sailing. I guarantee that your cruise line will offer promotions during the winter, but that doesn't mean it's always the best time to book.

Elise Thorne
Elise Thorne

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