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When Are Cruise Prices At Their Cheapest? Hints and Tips To Help You Book At The Right Time

You may be wondering when should I book my cruise to get the best price. In this article, we look at the different options so that you can get the best possible cruise deal.

When are cruise prices the cheapest?

When there is a new ship or new itinerary.

  • Booking as soon as the cruises are released is likely to get you the cheapest price. This can mean booking 2–3 years in advance!
  • Most people don’t book that far in advance, so there is less competition at the beginning and sales will be slower.
  • If you know there is a new ship launching that you are really keen to try, book at the beginning!

Within 60 – 90 days of the sailing date

  • This is when people who have already booked need to have made their final payment.
    • Many people drop out at that stage and the cruise line knows how many cabins they have left to fill, and the prices are reduced.

To book last minute can be a risky approach if you want to book a specific cruise – Everyone might make their final payment, there may be few cabins left and the price may skyrocket! It is all to do with supply and demand!

4 weeks before the cruise

  • If you are not too fussed about where you are sailing to, or on which ship, there are some great deals to be had.
  • Maybe book a week off work in a month’s time, a just book what is available then. You can get some great deals that way.

I had friends who were keen to sail on the Norwegian Prima. They booked and paid £3079.60 for three people on launch day. The price had doubled within a couple of weeks and went up as high as £9134! It did not go back down!

I was lucky enough to sail on Norwegian Prima very recently. To find out whether she lived up to all the hype, watch this video:

​I took a luxury cruise from New York City​

transatlantic cruise new york statue of liberty skyline

Why does it matter when you book?

  • If you are in the USA, when you book matters a lot less than if you are booking from the UK or elsewhere in the world!
    • In America, If the price of your cruise goes down, you can speak to your travel agent and they can get you a price reduction, onboard credit – or maybe an upgrade to a better cabin.
  • In the rest of the world, the price you pay is the price you pay!
    • Once you have booked, that is it! I stop looking at prices once I have booked, there is nothing more annoying than seeing that the price of your cruise has gone down!

When to Book if you are in the UK and Europe

  • In the UK one of the best times to book a cruise is during the “Wave Season” – January to March.

After Christmas, it is dark, and miserable so everyone wants to go out and book a cruise to look forward to! This is when a lot of cruise lines will have sales.

  • Black Friday

Be slightly wary of Black Friday deals.

I have monitored the prices before and around Black Friday to see if the prices are much better in the sale. They are not always as great as you are made to think.

Be slightly wary of Black Friday deals. Sometimes the cruise lines seem to put up their fares beforehand just so they can lower them again for Black Friday!

It may be better to wait and book a little later, and just monitor the prices. Don’t assume that just because it is offered as a “limited-time, Black Friday offer” the cruise is at its best price.

azamara onward ship port

Other things to consider:

  • Booking Last Minute

You can’t book a cruise on departure day as you used to,

You can’t book a cruise on departure day as you used to. Because of the extra regulations and advance paperwork needed, you need to book your cruise at least two or three days in advance.

Leaving it this late can be very cheap – but comes with a risk that your chosen cruise will be already sold out.

  • Book midweek
    • Agents say that the best time to phone an agency is midweek. That’s when all the new offers come through from the cruise lines and they are less busy.
    • If it makes no difference to you, then contact them midweek, if nothing else they will have more time to spend with you and on your cruise booking.
    • Sometimes prices go up and up and up, particularly on the newer ships. So book early if you can! I personally book 2 -3 months in advance. I don’t know what I am doing in two or three years’ time!

Before You Go!

You might be wondering when is the best time to visit your particular chosen destination. Read the article below to find out more:

Cruise Destinations and Timings (Peak Seasons, Popular Itineraries and Weather)

If you are concerned you may feel seasick on your cruise, read the article below. It will help you find the best cabin locations to pick to minimize the risk of feeling unwell:

What is The Best Cabin Location on a Cruise For Avoiding Seasickness? (I’ve Tried Them All!)

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.