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When is the Cheapest Month to go on a Cruise? (Real Examples) – Where and When I Travelled

When Is The cheapest Month to Go On A Cruise?

You may be wondering which is the cheapest time of year to go on a cruise holiday.

It all depends really on where you want to go in the world. In this article we look at popular places to visit, and when you are most likely to find a good, out-of-season deal.

We also look at some examples of great deals I managed to book – and how those cruises worked out for me.

Factors That Affect the Price of Your Cruise

There are a number of different factors that affect the price of your cruise holiday.

  • Cruising in the summer peak season is usually the most expensive time to go
  • Cruises that sail during the school holidays are in far more demand.
  • If the weather is likely to be worse out of peak season, prices will be lower.
  • The age of the ship may also affect the price paid. If you are travelling on an older, less desirable ship, you may get a cheaper deal.
  • Supply and demand. If everyone is keen to be on a cruise at the same time, the prices will be higher!

Avoid School Holidays If Possible

If you don’t have young children, and you are not a teacher who has to take your cruises in school holidays, avoid school holiday times

Cruise ships are busier and the prices are more expensive when families take their children on holiday

In the school holidays, many cabins that would normally have two people travelling in them will have more occupants – often families with children. There may be three or four people in every cabin onboard.

This means that the ships are filled to maximum capacity. You may have to wait to get into shows or restaurants and it could take you longer to get off and onto the ships during port stops.

Check the school holiday dates for the countries that you are travelling to!

Schoolchildren in America are on holiday in early July, whereas English and Welsh children don’t finish term until the end of July and return in early September. Scottish children start their holidays at the end of June but return in mid-August.

If you have children, check your holiday dates against that of other schools/countries. This is a good way to find a cheaper deal at the beginning or end of the holidays, when other people’s children may still be in school

On cruise lines that are “adult only,” the price may still be affected by the school holidays and peak seasons.

Predictable weather – and supply and demand all play a part.

Many adults have restrictions on when they can take their holiday/vacation time from work.

The Age and Desirability of the Ship

The age of the ship may also affect the price paid. If you are travelling on an older, less desirable ship, you may get a cheaper deal.

norwegian sun

Me enjoying a winter cruise, on the Older cruise ship, Norwegian Sun – built in 2000.

(It did rain a lot, but it only cost £642 $794 for 8 nights. (This included a “Free at sea” package – meaning tips, drinks, two speciality meals and some WiFi were included in the price. A total bargain!)

If you wish to travel on a newer ship – like Royal Caribbean’s “Wonder of the Seas” for example – the fares will always be more expensive.

The cruise line will have no problem selling the cabins, so won’t have to reduce prices.

If the cruise line are struggling to fill the cabins, they may well reduce the prices. I got a fantastic deal on MSC’s Seaview in February 2021! They seemed unable to fill the cabins, and I was able to get a week’s fly cruise to the Caribbean from the UK for £580/$720 – incredible value!

MSC Seaview is a large ship, with a capacity of over 5000 guests!

Although they were still sailing at reduced capacity after the Covid pandemic, they were struggling to even sell the cabins they needed to break even!

Disadvantages of Cruising out of Peak Season

  • The weather may be unpredictable
  • You may have fewer choices in Cruise Ships and available itineraries.
  • Some of the shops in the ports may be shut
  • Visitor attractions may be shut or have reduced opening hours.

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Mediterranean Cruise

When looking at fly cruises to the Mediterranean – or sailing from the Uk down to the Mediterranean you will find that the cheapest prices can be found in November, January, February or the first two weeks in December.

I took a wonderful trip on the Costa Smeralda in January 2023. It is one of the newest ships in the Costa fleet, and holds up to six and a half thousand passengers!

The weather was warm and pleasant when we sailed, and we had a wonderful time.

The cruise itself only cost £279 / $350 for the week!

To find out more about that cheap and cheerful cruise, watch the video below:

Cruises that sail at the beginning of December are usually very good value.

It seems that whilst many people enjoy a cruise holiday over the Christmas and New Year holidays, they are not so keen to be away in the run-up to Christmas and then return for the main event.

Many people spend a long time organising their Christmas celebrations, and have far too much to do to consider going on holiday!

Of course, many people don’t celebrate Christmas or prefer to have a low-key celebration.

Some people don’t like Christmas at all, it can be a very sad time of year. Many people want to get away from their normal routine and hopefully find some sunshine.

Early December can be a great time of year to find yourself a Mediterranean cruise bargain!

Personally, I love to go away in early December. The ships are often decorated with Christmas Trees and Christmas lights. It can really give me that Christmassy feeling – but the cruise is so much cheaper than actually being away over Christmas itself.

It is great to get away from the cold, dark British weather and see sunny skies once again.

I took a very cheap Pre-Chrismas Cruise on the Costa Luminosa. To find out about the highs and the lows of this interesting trip, watch the video below:

The weather during the winter months in the Mediterranean can be variable, but you still have a good chance of having pleasantly warm weather, and days are longer than in the UK.

If you are sailing down to the Mediterranean from the UK, you will have to sail through the notorious Bay Of Biscay.

Seas there can be rough, and some prefer not to risk it during the winter months! Really, it is just the luck of the draw. It may be absolutely fine – you can never tell!

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Canary Islands Cruise

The climate in the Canary Islands is pleasant year-round, it rarely gets unbearably hot in the summer and is still mild in winter.

Of course, sunshine can not be guaranteed all the time, there is more rainfall in the winter months. This does mean though that the islands are lush, green and beautiful!

Cruisers from the UK may find the “winter sun” they are looking for at a very affordable price!

In the UK the weather is cold, dark and wet in the winter months. Daylight hours are short, so to get away to the sunshine is wonderful!

When looking at fly cruises to the Canary Islands, or sailing from the UK down to the Canary Islands you will find that the cheapest prices can be found in November, January, February or the first two weeks in December.

Cruises that sail at the beginning of December can be very good value.

It seems that whilst many people enjoy a cruise holiday over the Christmas and New Year holidays, they are not so keen to be away in the run-up to Christmas and then return for the main event.

Many people spend a long time organising their Christmas celebrations, and have far too much to do to consider going on holiday!

Some people don’t like Christmas at all, it can be a very sad time of year and people. Manypeople want to get away from their normal routine and hopefully find some sunshine.

I have been to the Canary Islands and Madeira on a couple of cruises in and around the Christmas holidays. The sun was shining and the temperature was around 25C/77F – Lovely!

Early December can be a great time of year to find yourself a Canary Islands cruise bargain!

I took a wonderful Pre-Christmas trip to the Canary Islands on The Norwegian Sun. It cost me £642 /$794 for eight nights. This included Norwegian’s “Free At Sea” promotion, meaning drinks, tips and speciality meals were included in that price!

Find out all about this good value trip below:

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Greek Island Cruise

The peak season to go and explore the Greek Islands on a cruise is August and September. This is when the children In Europe tend to be on school holidays, and the weather is at its hottest.

The cheapest cruise deals to the Greek Isles can be found in November, December, January, February and March.

In the winter season, you may have fewer choices about the cruise ship you book.

Cruises that sail at the beginning of December can be very good value. It seems that whilst many people enjoy a cruise holiday over the Christmas and New Year holidays, they are not so keen to be away in the run-up to Christmas and then return for the main event.

Prices will rise significantly over the Christmas and New Year Holidays, wherever you cruise.

The weather is still likely to be warm and sunny, but some of the shops and visitor attractions may be closed or have reduced opening hours.

If you want to totally immerse yourself in the Greek experience, Celestyal Cruises are a Greek Cruise Line. The food onboard is Greek or Mediterranean, and they have itineraries that visit two ports per day!

They sail all year round and have a fleet of ex-Royal Carribean ships. They make an interesting change to what the mainstream cruise lines offer.

Find out all about my trip on the Celestyal Olympia here:

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Transatlantic Cruise

Cruise lines often reposition their ships in April and October. Ships go to the Caribbean for the winter season, returning to Europe in the spring.

By doing this cruise lines can make the most of the good weather and sell as many cruises as possible!

You can often get a great deal on these repositioning cruises, but the downside is that you will often have many sea days and stop at few ports.

Some ships handle the rough seas of the Atlantic better than others! If you suffer from seasickness, it would be a good idea to research the ship you are considering before you book!

It’s probably best to avoid smaller or older cruise ships if you are considering transatlantic sailing – you may get seasick if the seas are rough!

Cunard Transatlantic Crossings

Cunard runs the last Ocean Liner, the Queen Mary 2. She was designed specifically for the rough seas and strong winds of a winter transatlantic crossing. She is the most stable ship I have ever been on!

If you are concerned about seasickness, it might be worth considering a transatlantic voyage on this iconic ship.

Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner
Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner sailing from New York

A trip with Cunard is like stepping back in time! There are strict dress codes to adhere to, and you can enjoy afternoon tea served by waiters wearing white gloves! It is quite an experience!

The cheapest time to make a transatlantic cruise with Cunard is during the winter months.

Again, early December is usually the cheapest time to make the crossing. Cunard decorates the ship beautifully for Christmas, but be aware the seas could be rough.

There are also comparable cheaper prices to be found in October, January and March.

To find out what to expect when sailing with Cunard, watch the video below:

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Caribbean Cruise

The cheapest months to cruise to the Caribbean are May, September and October.

The most popular months for the Caribbean are December to April when the weather is best and it is at its driest.

If the cruise line is struggling to fill the cabins, they may well reduce the prices. I got an amazing deal on MSC’s Seaview in February 2021 to the Caribbean! They seemed unable to fill the cabins, and I was able to get a week’s fly cruise to the Caribbean from the UK for £580/$720 – incredible value!

MSC Seaview is a large ship, with a capacity of over 5000 guests! Although they were still sailing at reduced capacity after the Covid pandemic, they still were struggling to sell the cabins they needed to break even!

Hear all about that wonderful trip in the video below:

If you sail in the cheaper months you run the risk of more rain and possibly even the risk of hurricanes.

This may cause changes to itineraries as the ships avoid the worst of the weather.

When sailing, it is essential to take out cruise-specific travel insurance!

If you have an accident or a health emergency, it will cover the costs incurred.

What is less well known is that most cruise-specific travel insurance policies also will cover missed ports! If you have one or two missed ports and make a claim, you may find that it covers the initial cost of the policy!

To find out more about the missed port cover in insurance policies, click here:

Do You Get Compensation For Missed Cruise Ports?

To research and take out good cruise insurance cover, look at my step-by-step guide below:

Cruise Travel Insurance – Why You Need it and How to Get It: (Step by Step Illustrated Guide)

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Norwegian Fjords Cruise

The best time to cruise to Norway is in July or August. It is cheaper to sail in April, May, and September. This is out of the school summer holidays, so there are cheaper deals to be had.

Norwegian Fjords cruises do happen year-round although the choice of cruise lines is dramatically less outside of the summer season.

Winter “Northern Lights” itineraries that take place in the winter months are far more expensive than summer sailings.

The weather in the Norwegian Fjords can be unpredictable, no matter when you sail.

If you are considering a cruise to Norway, check out the Norwegian Season Price Guide below. This gives fuller details of what to expect during the different months of the year.

When is The Best Time to Cruise to Norway? – Season Price Guide

The Cheapest Months to Go to Alaska on a Cruise

The cheapest months to cruise are at the beginning of the season in April, or at the end of the season in September.

Children are still at school, and the weather is usually colder and may be more unpredictable than during the peak season.

Alaska has a relatively short summer cruising season compared to other destinations

Alaska is a place you visit for outstanding natural beauty – not to sit in the sun! If you want a cruise with guaranteed sunshine and warm weather, Alaska is probably not for you!

An advantage of going to Alaska out of peak season is that the small towns will be less crowded.

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Cruise to Hawaii

The cheapest months to cruise to Hawaii are outside of the peak season – November to March.

The coolest temperatures in Hawaii are found in February and March – but that is still around 70F or 21C.

Cruises that sail at the beginning of December can be very good value. It seems that whilst many people enjoy a cruise holiday over the Christmas and New Year holidays, they are not so keen to be away in the run-up to Christmas and then return home for the main event.

People seem to like to have a lot of time to organise their Christmas celebrations and have too much to do to consider going on holiday! This may mean cruise lines have cabins they wish to fill.

Americans will often book a Hawaii cruise from mid-December over the holiday period. They can see some winter sun and escape the cold weather found in many US States in the winter months.

Travelling in the period before the Christmas holidays or after the New Year will be cheaper.

The Cheapest Months to Go on a Cruise to Australia

The cheapest month to cruise around Australia is usually May. This is the winter season in Australia. Australian children are still in school – as are British and American children.

The weather will be cooler, like the Autumn/Fall in Europe or America, but it should be far less crowded than in peak season.

Christmas and New Year is the peak cruising season In Australia

It is usually at its most expensive, the weather is at its best and the children will be on school holidays.

The Cheapest Months to go on a Cruise around the UK and Ireland.

Cruises around the British Isles and Ireland tend to sail between April and October.

Weather in the British Isles and Ireland is unpredictable, no matter which month you chose to travel!

English and Welsh children don’t finish term until the end of July and return in early September. Scottish children start their holidays at the end of June but return in mid-August. Avoid sailing in the School holidays if you want to find a cheaper deal.

The advantage of cruising in April May or September is that you’ll run into fewer crowds, especially at some of the more popular sites.

The weather in May and September can be lovely – but there’s always the chance of rain so wear plenty of layers and maybe pack an umbrella.

While the weather in the British Isles is a little unpredictable, it’s also largely to thank for the lush green countryside and the picturesque coastlines that it is so famous for. Ireland is known as “The Emerald Isle” for good reason. It is really beautiful, but it can be quite wet at times!

I sailed around the UK and Ireland in August 2022.

I wouldn’t normally choose to travel in the middle of the summer holidays, but the cruise was put back due to the Covid Pandemic. (We were originally supposed to cruise in May 2021, but Princess Cruiselines let us change the date but honoured the price originally paid.)

To find out all about the trip, watch this video next. The weather was actually amazing! I got sunburnt sailing around the top of Scotland, and that is something I never thought I would say…

Thing to Consider Before You Book

There are some great cruise bargains to be had, as long as you don’t mind sailing out of peak season.

You need to accept that the weather can’t be guaranteed, and some attractions may not be open out of season.

I enjoy cruises far more when they are less crowded – so an out-of-season break is something I am always looking for!

If you have children or need to take your cruise in the school holidays, it is best to book ahead. There are unlikely to be any good “last minute” cruise deals to be found in peak season.

Cruise lines have no problem selling their cabins when the children are on their school holidays.

If you have children, it is worth taking the time to compare your children’s school holiday dates with other schools. If they are not exactly the same, you may get a cheaper deal at the beginning or end of the holidays when not all schoolchildren are off.

Before You Go!

Find out whether getting a good deal by booking the cheapest “Guaranteed” inside cabin would suit you. Find examples of what you will get for your money, and cabins I have stayed in here:

I Always Book Guaranteed Cabins on Cruise Ships – (Photo Examples, Regrets & More)

I stayed in the cheapest cabin on P&O’s Mega ship, Iona. I had a wonderful time, and didn’t miss having a balcony at all.

I Booked The Cheapest Cabin on a MEGA Cruise Ship

Find out all about the cheap inside cabin I booked on the luxury line Azamara here. Spoiler alert, the bathroom was TINY.

I Booked The Cheapest Cabin on a LUXURY CRUISE – Azamara Inside Cabin Review

Let Us Help You Book Your Cruise

If you think you would like to book your bargain cruise – or any cruise for that matter – please don’t forget that you can get in touch through my website. We are here for you anytime and it never costs more than booking directly with the cruise line.

Click on the link below to get your personalised quote:

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