When Is The Best Time To Book A Cruise To Alaska
If youre planning an Alaska cruise, whether you want to sail in shoulder season when youll find fewer crowds and drier weather, or in peak season , youll want to book as early as possible.
In shoulder season, the initial posted fares may be the best fares offered, and Celebritys Best Price Guarantee ensures youll benefit from a price change.
If youre cruising to Alaska during peak season, June through , youll want to book early for suites and your pick of staterooms. Another reason to book early is to reserve shore excursions like glacier helicopter tours that sell out quickly.
When To Book A Cruise For The Best Price
Book a cruise early if … you want to lock in a good rate, secure your favorite cabin and a pick specific ship and itinerary — especially popular ones that tend to sell quickly, are one-off voyages, or are otherwise in high demand.
Book a cruise late if … you want the cheapest possible price and don’t mind being flexible about your cruise ship and itinerary. This strategy is best for cruisers who live close to a homeport and don’t have to rely on last-minute airfare.
And if you miss out on booking early but a last minute cruise is too dicey, you can find a low price in between. Just look for cruise line promotions — fare sales and extra-perk offers — and book when you see a good offer. It might not be the absolute best price, but you will get a deal.
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Cheapest Cruise To Mexico
The most inexpensive times to cruise to Mexico will be very similar to Caribbean cruises. The holidays of Christmas and Easter can be particularly busy for travelers in Mexico and costs will reflect this, with both higher cruise costs and flights.
The end of July through November can be some of the best times to book a cruise to Mexico in terms of pricing. But also remember the end of summer will also be unbearably hot at times in this part of the world, and hurricane season will be in full swing.
If the cost of a cruise is more important than the ideal temperature and meteorological implications, go for it.
In our article on 7 Tips for Scoring the Best Deal on a Cruise we mention that cruising during the off season is one of the best ways to stay within your budget. Using the information above you can find the cheapest time to cruise to the Bahamas or Caribbean in general.
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Book A Vacation During Plan A Cruise Month
October is the Cruise Lines International Association’s Plan a Cruise Month, which is the second industry-wide annual discount period. Some people find deals in the surrounding months as well, making fall a great time in general to book a cruise. This is especially true for travelers looking for last-minute voyages late in the year or during off-season times for specific destinations, such as an Atlantic trip during hurricane season.
Much like booking late, this strategy is best for those who have some flexibility about when they leave and where they go. You still want to book as early as possible, though, to get a good offer and reserve your spot.
What About Sailing During The Winter Or Hurricane Season
Weve shown you the best time to sail if you want to save money. But what if youre wondering about the best time to sail due to weather?
For example, is it fine to sail in the middle of winter or during hurricane season?
The good news is that there is no wrong time of year to sail for most cruises, such as those heading to the Caribbean or Bahamas.
Lets take winter. While it might be cold in North America, the weather stays fairly consistent in the Caribbean. For instance, the average high temperature for Cozumel is about 84 degrees in January and 91 degrees during the peak of August. So temperatures are cooler during the winter, but not by much.
Where there is a difference during winter months is with your departure port. If you are sailing from a port in the United States , then the winter months can be cold. That means the first day of your cruise during the winter can be chilly as the ship heads south.
One more thing to keep in mind is the summer months in the tropics can often mean regular afternoon thunderstorms. Late winter and early spring months are drier. Even so, it can rain any time of year in the Caribbean.
Hurricanes are always of interest to the Caribbean, and hurricane season runs from June through November. For cruise passengers, the risk of being caught in a hurricane on a ship is low. Cruise ships actively avoid storms, and steer for better weather.
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Tips To Helps Enjoy A Cheap Cruise
Tip 1: Cruises are not often all-inclusive and become increasingly less so each year. Chris states, the gravy is what people spend on board. Cruise ships want you spending, since thats where they have the best margins. However, if you are smart and disciplined, cruises dont have to cost much more than the price of the cabin itself. Heres how to save money while on board:
Tip 2: Skip the soda A long time ago, soda was free. Now, you have to pay around $3 USD for a tiny glass, or you can pay $45-60 USD for a soda card that gives you unlimited soda for the duration of the cruise. Youd have to drink a lot of soda to make that worth it. Instead, stick to the free water, iced teas, and juices on the ship. Your wallet and insulin levels will thank you.
Tip 3: Say no to photos Do you really need some cheesy professional photos of your family? I didnt think so. Get them done back home for less or take a digital camera and have someone take them for you on the ship.
Tip 4: Avoid the restaurants On most cruise ships these days, there are specialty restaurants that you can book for an added cost. Some are à la carte, some charge a set fee. Avoid these specialty restaurants. The food in the dining areas, the buffets, and the other shops is just as good and less costly.
Tip 6: Bring your own supplies Cruise companies will let you bring one case of your own water, soda, and beer, as well as a bottle of wine onto the ship.
Tip 8: Avoid the casino This goes without saying.
While Still On A Cruise
Just like essentially all other companies, cruise lines like to retain customers. Among other things, they do that by offering passengers deals on future cruises when theyre still on board. So, if youre in a position to book your next trip while on a current trip, you should visit the cruise desk on the ship and ask about what they can do for you.
Deals include discounts on future cruises, but may also be lower deposits and on-board credits, which you can use for things like tips, drinks, excursions and/or other fun activities.
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Is There A Best Month/season To Book A Cruise
We mentioned earlier that you should book as early as possible. This gives you the most options as far as lowest prices, most cabins available, and price protection.
What about the actual date that you book your cruise? Is there a month or time of year when the cruise lines offer the best sales if you book?
In our experience, there isnt much difference in the time of year that you book. For example, the same cruise isnt automatically cheaper if you buy in January versus if you buy in July.
This makes sense. Say there was a month or two out of the year when cruises were drastically cheaper for you to book, no matter when you sailed. If that were the case, passengers would catch on and wait until then to book.
That would lead to fewer people booking throughout the year instead they would wait until that one time a year when cruises were cheaper. Obviously the cruise lines wouldnt want this. Thats why theres not a best time of year to actually buy your cruise. You can find deals throughout the entire year.
Instead, what will have the biggest impact on what you pay for a cruise is when you sail, not when you book.
Cruise : The Best Time To Book A Cruise
From expert tips to answers for your burning questions, heres now to make the most of a vacation at sea.
Vacations are about the memories you make, and it starts with the anticipationfrom finding just the right destination and pinning down your itinerary, to nabbing a value that gets you even more excited to get away. With a lineup of more than 260 destinations, newly modernized ships and a new, $250 million private island destination, Royal Caribbean is dialing up the adventure like never before. Whether youve cruised before or are considering it for the first time, youll want to start off your planning with a few basics on timing.
Curious to know the best time to book a cruise and your flight, or if there are surefire ways to score upgrades. Read on for our tips to help you plan like a pro.
How Early Should You Book a Cruise?
Guests book within different time frames for a variety of reasons and benefits. Weve broken it down into three buckets:
12 to 18 months: As a general rule of thumbthe farther you are traveling, the further out you will want to consider booking. Cruise lines open their new itineraries around the world earlier than airlines do. If youre planning a bucket-list trip around Australia or the Baltics, or headed to a locale best explored by sea , its wise to book early. Having plenty of lead time will give you the greatest choice when it comes to choosing your preferred style of accommodations and airfare.
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Cruisers Recommend Booking Your Flight For The Day Before The Ship Leaves
Since my cruise ship leaves from Florida and I live in New York, I have to fly there. When I started searching for flights, I looked for reservations on the same day as my cruise departure.
But after a little research on Cruise Critic, a cruise review site, seasoned cruisers recommend flying in at least one day before your cruise ship departs to leave room for potential delays.
Do You Save Money Booking Through A Travel Agent
Booking your cruise vacation through a travel agent might help you save money. Of course, you can book a cruise on your own, but a good travel agent can provide more than just a booking service.
A good travel agent can help you save money through deals and discounts that may not be apparent. Moreover, travel agents can access group pricing and special promotions that arent available to regular travelers.
Beyond saving money, a good travel agent can provide you with knowledge and experience to help make the most of your vacation.
And, if an issue arises or a billing discrepancy occurs, having a travel agent is worth it every time. When there is an issue, travel agents have your back and are the ones that deal with the cruise line instead of you.
Most importantly, it shouldnt cost you anything to use the services of a travel agent. Cruise lines pay travel agents a commission for booking guests on one of their cruises, so you have nothing to lose!
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Sign Up For Emails For Cruise Specials
Signing up to receive emails is a great way to stay in-the-know about cruise deals and promotions. Sign up for emails from Norwegian to receive info about cruise deals the moment they’re announced, and use the pricing tool to compare Free at Sea rates and Sail Away rates to see which is the better option for you.
Another Great Time To Book Cruises Is During Wave Season
Wave Season is the sales period that historically takes place between January and March since a large percentage of cruisers book their trips in the early months of the year. The new year, an empty calendar plus the cold winter months get travelers thinking about vacations and because of this cruise lines and travel agents often offer extra incentives.
Cruise and Travel Consultant, Cruise Ship Center of Bellevue
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The Early Bird Gets The Worm And A Cruise Bargain
Generally speaking, if you book early, you can take advantage of special early-booking rates. These special rates start right when booking opens up usually up to two years before departure and are only available for a limited time. And once theyre gone theyre gone. You really dont want to miss the boat here.
There are also other benefits to booking early besides just saving money. If you have a specific itinerary or a certain ship in mind, then its best to start thinking about your cabin selection early. The earlier you book, the more likely different staterooms are to be available. By booking early, youll be able to choose not just the category of stateroom you want but also the deck and location onboard. Even if theres no early-bird discount for your particular cruise, you can be sure to secure the itinerary, ship, and stateroom that are perfect for you.
Cruise1st tip: Higher-level suite categories are popular and fill up early. If youre determined to stay in an Owners Suite during your cruise, book early!
If youre interested in special voyages like world cruises, maiden voyages, or event cruises will also want to make sure to book early. These popular cruise categories will sell out quickly!
Reserve Popular Shore Excursions And Onboard Activities
When you book your cruise early, youll have immediate access to the extensive array of shore excursions offered on Celebrity Cruises, many of which sell out quickly.
For example, when sailing on one of our Hubbard Glacier cruises, there are a very limited number of spots for a spectacular small-vessel excursion that takes you close to Alaskas amazing native wildlife, spectacular waterfalls, and the magnificent glacier located along the ships fjord route.
Early booking also lets you reserve specialty restaurant dates and times, and you can set up spa and fitness center appointments before the most desired times and locations are snapped up.
Early Booking Cancellation Policy
If it feels a bit daunting to book a cruise thats still a year or more in the future, rest assured that most Celebrity Cruises itineraries have cancellation policies that allow you to cancel your booking up to 90 days before sailing, and as long as you cancel within the stated window, you wont be charged the fare for the cruise.
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Another Reason To Book Early: Price Protection
There is another crucial reason to book your cruise early. When you book early, you can often get price protection if prices fall.
Although early prices are usually the best, cruise prices can move up and down over time. If you book a cruise and see the price drop later, you can call the cruise line and request a refund equal to the difference in price.
Taking advantage of price protection has saved us thousands of dollars on cruise vacations and is one of the primary reasons I prefer to book early.
Many last-minute cruise fares have their prices locked.
If you book within six months of sailing, you might not qualify for price protection on your cruise fare.
What you pay is what you get.
Each cruise line has rules to determine whether your fare is eligible for a partial refund if the price drops. Its always a good idea to read the fine print before buying.
Booking early is a win-win because youll either purchase your cruise fare at the lowest price or receive the discount later.
The only downside is that youll have to watch the cruise prices to take advantage of any price changes.
Early Morning On Weekends Is A Great Time
Ever had to get up early to go on holiday, yes? Then youll have to repeat that feat to get the best deal on cruises, with 5 am being the ideal time to get the best deal. No late night comparison shopping or checking cruises in your lunch. Get up, get on and book that cheap cruise.
Need further encouragement the best day to book is on a Sunday, usually a lie in the day for most people, well not you, well not if you want to secure a cheap cruise that is.
For further saving tips, ensure to book at least 2 months in advance if you can and if you are rechecking cruises, use an anonymous browser, else sites will raise prices as will recognize your IP address and will know you are too keen.
Travel Expert & Blogger, PhilaTravelGirl
When to book a cruise is a battle between cost savings and preference. If you book early and the sailing goes on sale, you miss out on the savings, conversely, if you wait to book, the airfare may increase and offset potential savings.
Cruise lines throw in enticements and discounted deposits throughout the year with their best specials during Wave Season .
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Booking A Cruise Early
Many cruise lines come out with their best fares when itineraries first go on sale, and then raise the rates as the ships sell out. This is especially true with luxury cruises, new or popular mainstream ships and Disney cruises that tend to book up well in advance. Booking early also gets you your pick of cabins — especially if you want a suite or a specific room, including solo cabins — and dining times.
In addition to low introductory fares, cruise lines may also offer extra perks for early bookers, such as free airfare, a complimentary upgrades, drink packages or an onboard credit. Even better, most lines only require a small initial deposit to hold your cabin, so if your plans change in the following months, you can cancel without a hassle.
However, the cruise line’s plans can also change between when you book and when you cruise. Be flexible when booking early because circumstances change and the cruise line reserves the right to alter the itinerary or bump you off the ship for a charter.
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