When to Book a Cruise?

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Saving Money on Your Cruise - Tips & Advice
Offer up your advice for saving money on cruises...from booking tips to info on shore excursions.
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#1
Pennsylvania
4 Posts
Joined May 2010
I want to book a cruise in May. When will I get the best fares? Someone once told me that six months prior is the best pricing. I don't want to book now, and find a better deal later. . . and I don't to wait and miss the price! HELP!
#2
90,274 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I always believe in booking early because the lowest price and highest price cabins go first along with those located in the best locations on the deck within each category. So if you want a good priced cabin in a good location I find it best to book sooner rather than later.

Keith
#3
Greater Cincy
6,027 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We book as soon as we decide when and where. I also say sooner than later.
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#4
31 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by Keith1010
I always believe in booking early because the lowest price and highest price cabins go first along with those located in the best locations on the deck within each category. So if you want a good priced cabin in a good location I find it best to book sooner rather than later.

Keith

Book soon and if prices go down along the way. Call the CL or TA and get the discount/upgrade/cruise credit
#5
5,788 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I also book early so I get the cabin I like and then check for price drops up to final payment, however, the cruise lines make it harder and harder price wise to do that lately. But if you wait too long you run the risk of not getting a cabin in a category you can afford or the price increasing as their availability decreases. So book when you think you like the price and be happy.
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#6
31 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by patseacruiser
I also book early so I get the cabin I like and then check for price drops up to final payment, however, the cruise lines make it harder and harder price wise to do that lately. But if you wait too long you run the risk of not getting a cabin in a category you can afford or the price increasing as their availability decreases. So book when you think you like the price and be happy.

I agree, i was worried I wouldn't but yesterday i saw a $38 pp drop in price and got a cruise credit!!
#7
Raleigh, N.C.
12,201 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Book when the price is right for you. I prefer booking later in most cases. Out of our last 10 cruises, all but two were booked after the final payment dates. But I always recommend booking sooner if you have your heart set on one particular cruise. That's why we're already booked for this Christmas on the Island Princess. I figured the price could just as likely go up as go down since that is the one cruise I wanted to go on during the holidays.
#8
632 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Our next 2 cruises have been booked 17 months in advance and we were given a nice discount, onboard credits and upgrades on room category to sign up early for these.
#9
Nomads from England
125 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I think it all depends how much you want a particular date, cabin or cruise.

For most cruises we find between 90 and 70 days prior to cruise gives a good deal with a guaranteed grade cabin.

However our best deal ever was 2-hours before departure when I was on board the Odyssey of the Seas seeing friends off, found there was space and negotiated a $6400 suite for $1600 each for a 14 day spice island cruise out of Darwin. My husband had to drive 100 km to get to the ship in time but we made it and had our best cruise ever.

One thing we do now is to start to monitor which cruise we want from about 3 months out and see how the cabin allocation and prices are going to make our best judgement but you can bet no matter what price you get someone will get better but so long as you are happy with your deal thats the main thing. The only thing to be gained from talking to those who got a lower price is how they did it so you can improve next time!
#10
Rockaway, NJ
2,353 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Judging from my experience for the last 2 weeks it is impossible to say. It is 5 weeks before the cruise. I watched the prices and the specials on a cruise that I booked change before my eyes.

I was looking for a suite for my friends and an inside for myself. There had been some great specials on this cruise 2 months out, but I was considering a different cruise and not ready to book. The prices 2 month out were slightly higher than last week, but only about $100 to $200 a cabin. And there were some specials on some cabin categories that never showed up again.

Now it is 5 weeks out. The really low price advertised was for the lowest level guarantee. The specials were available on limited cabins that were the least desirable. By the time I called the travel agent the specials were gone, but there were better cabins available. But the next morning the specials were back but the worst cabins. A few days later a 55+ special, but while I was trying to see if there were any better cabins or if I wanted to move up to a balcony the discount disappeared when I clicked to the next screen.

It seemed that if I booked on line I might have gotten a cabin cheaper but that by the time the TAs come in the price went up but the TA gives me an credit. So it evens out.

Confusing. You bet. Add to that the price of the airfare also changed a few times. The price was $100 a person higher during the day when I put the cabin on hold. Then, when I booked airfare in the evening, they had lowered the price. Somehow we caught a reasonable fare with only a few window coach seats left. We had to pick flights that might not have been our first choice because we were a month out. Now, less than a week later, there are no seats left in coach unless you are elite. I've had the opposite happen with airfare. I've watched and watched and jumped when the price came down, only to find it drop again and stay lower.

Conclusion. Decide what you are willing to pay. My husband thinks I am crazy for looking. He is happy with the cabin and that is that. As long as we pay a reasonable price. It is not worth all this for a few hundred dollars.
#11
Rockaway, NJ
2,353 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
To continue my post above, I thought I would add what has happened to the pricing on my cruise during the last 3 weeks. (We are now 2 weeks + from our cuise) One morning there were some senior specials. I don't even trust that they would be there if you tried to book, because they disappeared at 10 when the Travel agencies open. Other that that, basically nothing. After a mad week discribed in the last post, the cabins settled into very good prices. The specials for the better cabins are gone. Most catagories are unavailable. The very cheap price you see advertised is for an inside and an oceanview guarantee.
#12
Rockaway, NJ
2,353 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Continuation of my posts above. Prices creeped up in the last few weeks for the few categories with available cabins. The guarantees went up in price.

We are now 2 days out and the ship is sold out. Even with the threat of a tropical storm in the Caribbean, I guess no one is bailing.
#13
florida
166 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by glenswatman
However our best deal ever was 2-hours before departure when I was on board the Odyssey of the Seas seeing friends off, found there was space and negotiated a $6400 suite for $1600 each for a 14 day spice island cruise out of Darwin.
So is it worth it to hang out at a port with your bags packed .....?
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