“When is the best time to book a my cruise?” This is one of the most common questions I get asked from my clients. Oftentimes, these guests have tried to book their cruise online only to find that the array of prices is mind-boggling as is the fact that the pricing can (literally) change by the minute. How do you decide when to book to make sure you get the best deal? While there are no hard and fast rules, here are some tips that can help:
Book Early Most cruise lines have low rates for those who book far in advance. As staterooms book up, prices will rise. It’s important to note that some of these rates come with severe restrictions such as nonrefundability or an inability to change dates or cruises.
Book Late Once a cruise has entered the penalty period (ie — new bookings must be paid in full at the time of booking), prices may drop if the cruise is not fully booked. For less popular cruises, there can be steep discounts. However, there is no guarantee a cruise will be discounted and you could actually end up paying more if many staterooms are booked. These rates are for those who are flexible with their dates and room categories.
Book Onboard Most cruise lines offer discounts and onboard credits to those guests who book their next cruise while still onboard ship. These are usually some of the lowest rates offered by the cruise line. Not sure when you want to cruse next? Book a “dummy” cruise. That is, book a short cruise (to minimize the deposit) as far out as you can. You can then change the date once you know when you want to cruise and keep all the benefits! Right now, all cruise lines allow you to do this but definitely double-check before you book.
Use A Travel Agent As a travel agent, I am biased toward the benefits of using a good agent. However, when booking a cruise it’s really essential. It doesn’t cost you anything and the agent can help you navigate the rate maze, watch for any additional discounts and even offer additional discounts if you book while onboard.
I hope these tips help! A cruise might seem like a simple thing to book on your own, but it really isn’t. A competent professional can help you decide when it is best for you to book based on your family’s needs and the cruise you want to take.
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