The Cheapest Times Of Year To Cruise
Telling you whats the cheapest month to cruise is easy. According to a 2012 Cruise Market Watch analysis of Royal Caribbean cruise fares for sailings worldwide, October is the cheapest month overall to cruise. And although that study was done a decade ago and for just one cruise line, the reasons why its the cheapest month to cruise havent changed.
In general, October is a month when weather conditions arent at peak loveliness. Kids are usually in school, so families arent planning vacations. There arent any major holidays .
Cruise fares fluctuate because of demand, and October just isnt an in-demand month on average in the cruise world.
But that doesnt mean all the cheap fares are only in Octoberafter all, some cruise itineraries dont even sail during that time of year! Depending on where you want to cruise and what week youre willing to sail, you can find rock-bottom prices on cruises at many other times of the year. You can often find a cruise thats much cheaper than any October sailing, if you choose the right week.
In general, look for times of the year when the kids are in school and its not a major holiday. Weather is also a major factor. After all, lots of us choose our vacation spots because were trying to escape the weather at homewere either trying to escape the cold or enjoy a reprieve from the heat and humidity! Cruising to a location when everyone else isnt clamoring to go is usually the best way to save money.
When Not To Cruise
When looking to book a cruise vacation, consider the pros and cons of booking the best time versus booking an off-season cruise deal. While there are no bad times of the year to cruise, you might want to think twice about sailing in hurricane season. The shoulder season also offers cooler weather so consider choosing a cruise ship with an indoor pool.
If youre budgeting for a cruise, there are times when it is not advisable to cruise. These include Christmas and New Year cruises which come with sticker shock. Inaugural cruises on brand new ships also come with high prices, so its best to book on these ships when they are no longer the new kid on the block.
Happy travel ~ Karen
The Best Types Of Cruises For First
Plump for a winter sun trip in the Caribbean. Its easy and affordable to reach the boarding port, and shuttling between the clusters of islands offers a compact, convenient contrast in cultures. Think of a cruise as a tapas menu, says Spencer Brownit allows you to sample destinations to which you might later return for a longer visit.;Even handier, when on a Caribbean cruise almost every island accepts payment in dollars, so theres no need to juggle currencies. The waters also are largely calm, keeping seasickness to a minimum.
The CDCs constraints on cruising have also led many lines to reposition ships that might have roamed the globe onto less far-flung itineraries, so you can trial ultra-luxe operators like Crystal, for example, on a short jaunt to and from the Bahamas. River cruising is another smart first time choice, says Spencer Brown. You can literally walk off the ship into town, go to a park or ride a bike, or just sit on the top deck breathing the airits marvelous, she says.;
Destination programming has been upended by the pandemic. Many lines now focus on bringing passengers to their own private islands, a reassuring if slightly soulless optionbut the advantage is that theres no risk from any local interactions; its effectively just a landlocked version of the ship.
Recommended Reading: Msc Divina Dress Code
How To Get Cheap Cruises: An Insider Guide
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Before I became a full-time blogger, I worked in the marketing department of a well-known specialist cruise travel agency for five years.
In that time, Ive sat at my desk and watched the price of cruises go up and down, and up again.
Ive seen cruises priced at £13 per night and cruises that cost over £4,000 per night. Ive spotted some incredible deals and Ive also scratched my head at why some cruises are priced so much higher than others.
I always like to have at least five cruises booked at any one time. People ask me how I afford to go on so many cruises? Am I rich? Do I have a rich husband? Alas, the answer is no! Ive just learned how to get cheap cruises from working in the industry.
Cruises arent expensive if you know how to find the cheap deals.
What Is A Sea Day
Transits, when the ship is en route between ports, are known as sea days ; passengers, obviously, are confined on board. Many newbies fret about wasting time at sea rather than exploring, but theyre often a fun chance to explore the ship itself, as well as decompress between ports. Make sure theyre evenly scattered through an itinerary, though, rather than bookending a weeks voyage, as you wont benefit as much from the downtime.
Read Also: Why Is Disney Cruise So Expensive
Book Early But Not Too Early
Most cruise lines do not offer significant last-minute savings. While there are occasional last-minute deals, especially for weekend cruises, those sailings are often nearly full and there wont be as much choice in cabins. Instead, book your cruise earlier several months in advance for the best pricing as well as the best choice of cabins.
Also Read: How to Get a Good Deal On Your Next Cruise
Similarly, there is no great advantage in booking more than a year in advance, except for very special or limited cruises. Seasonal cruises such as voyages to Alaska or Antarctica, for example, dont operate year-round and they will fill up much more quickly, and maiden voyages of the newest vessels are always sought-after. For the best prices, it is wise to book those cruises a year in advance or even further if possible.
Are Cruises Cheaper Through A Travel Agent
Cruises should always be cheaper through a travel agent. If theyre not, then you need to find yourself a new travel agent!
Most cruise travel agents make money in two ways:
The bonuses that travel agents receive for hitting their targets can be huge. So when a sales target deadline is coming up, travel agents may be willing to sell cruises at cost price or even at a loss to earn their big bonus payment.
Whats more, some cruise travel agents use a specific business model whereby they buy up thousands of cabins in bulk for a cheap rate. Once the travel agent owns those cabins, they have to sell them. Even if they make a small loss on some of the cabins, its better than the loss that would be made if the cabins remained unsold.
As well as getting the best price on your cruise, there are other advantages to booking your cruise with a travel agent rather than directly with the cruise line. If youre booking flights and hotels too, a travel agent can get you the best package price, sort everything out for you and take charge if anything goes wrong.
To compare cruise prices from lots of different travel agents at once, I like to use Cruise Critic.
Also Check: Best Time To Go On A Mediterranean Cruise
Shipboard Staff And Crew
Ship crew includes waiters, bartenders, stateroom attendants, cleaners, while its staff relates to positions like an officer, manager, shop worker, tour guide, lecturer/entertainer. The best benefit is that they can travel the world for free.
- Staff/crew share dorm-style, smaller-sized cabins with en-suite bathroom.
- As soon as the first shift ends, most staff/crew nip off for a quick nap before the second shift starts.
- Among the crew-only facilities and amenities are an exclusive sundeck , mess hall , complimentary food/drinks/healthcare, crew parties.
- Tips/gratuities are combined and divided between tipping positions only.
- Crew and staff aren’t supposed to intermingle with passengers – they can get fired if caught. If you have a romantic encounter with a crew, use discretion and realize you’re probably not the first traveler he/she is with.
- With a currently employed crew-staff member, you pay only port charges. Crew also get free tours and know seaport’s best places to visit. And you’ll be able to access some crew-only areas.
- Meals are free and offered at Mess Hall . Med services are also free.
- Highest paying crew jobs are Captain, Executive Chef, Cruise Director, Chief Purser, Hotel Director, Human Resources Manager.
- Crew caught engaging in personal relationships with passengers are fired immediately.
- Most crew are accommodated in 2-3-bed bunk cabins .
Preferred Times For Main Dining Room
Booking early also affords you the opportunity to reserve your preferred dining time in the ships Main Dining Room by choosing the Celebrity Select Dining option. This gives you the flexibility of dining early or later each day, rather than at a set time.
Early seatings are often booked first, so if you prefer dining at a set time each evening, booking early gives you the best chance of reserving your preferred time with the added benefit of a more personalized dining experience by having the same table and wait staff each evening.
Also Check: When Is The Best Time To Cruise The Mediterranean
Tips To Help You Find The Best Last
- Have a few different itinerary options in mind before you check for last-minute price drops. You might find the most exciting cruise opportunity by chance.
- Check out the deck plan to be sure you understand the location of your stateroom. Also know that youre rarely going to see much of a price drop for suites.
- If youre within driving distance of a cruise port, be open to the ships and itineraries that sail from that port.
The Cheapest Time For European River Cruises
River cruises have been surging in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Cruising Europes waterways can plunge you right into the heart of the continent, minimizing travel time between ports and attractions. With European rivers being the cheapest in the world to cruise, the Rhine and Danube are the cheapest to cruise in Europe. You can also discover the Seine, the Rhône, and the Main, among countless others wherever theres a river, there will undoubtedly be a river cruise.
The sailing season starts in March and runs through December, and unlike with ocean cruises, prices drop as the temperatures rise in July and August. Theres no shortage of things to see during those months, either while prices will increase for special events, this is the perfect time to catch the tulips in Amsterdam in April and early May, and holiday Christmas market cruises in November and December are the most affordable way to enjoy a river cruise and get into the holiday spirit at the same time.
You May Like: How To Get From Southampton Cruise Terminal To London
The Best Cheap Family Cruises
When youre cruising as a family, one of the most important things to pay attention to is the child prices.
Sometimes, kids cruise free and sometimes youll be charged the full adult fare for each child. Choosing a cruise where kids go free for a family of four will save you up to 50% on your total cruise price straight away.
Heres how much each cruise line charges for kids:
- Carnival Full adult price
- Celebrity Cruises Full adult price
- Costa Cruises Children under 18 pay only port fees and service fees
- Cunard Full adult price
- Disney Cruise Line Full adult price
- MSC Cruises Children under 18 cruise FREE when booking in the USA and from £119 when booking in the UK
- Norwegian Cruise Line Full adult price except when the Free At Sea promotion is on when kids cruise free
- P&O Cruises Full adult price in the school holidays and £99 per week in term-time
- Princess Cruises Full adult price
- Royal Caribbean Full adult price except when the Kids Sail Free promotion is on
Cruise prices for babies vary hugely, depending on the cruise line.
MSC Cruises and Cunard do not charge for children under two years of age. Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises and Disney Cruise Line charge a reduced fare for babies. Most other cruise lines charge the full adult price unless theres a special promotion on at the time of booking.
Best Time To Buy Your Cruise: As Far In Advance As Possible
When should you buy your cruise? While the lure of last-minute cruise deals tempt people, data actually suggests that its a much better idea to book as far in advance as possible.
This isnt because youll get amazing deals by buying earlier. There is a different benefit to booking early.
Truth is that cruise prices will vary, but tend to hover around the same point, whether the trip departs next month or next year.;
But what about last-minute deals?
It seems like basic logic that if a cruise were about to set sail with empty rooms, the company would slash prices to get people on the ship. After all, once a room leaves empty, it earns no money for the cruise line.
However, if every cruise line slashed prices last-minute, people would catch on and wait to book their trip. There would be no reason to book early.
This would be disastrous for the cruise lines, who want you to book as soon as possible. In fact, some lines refuse to drop prices any lower once the cruise gets within a few weeks of departure.
Where you can get burned waiting until last-minute is with cabin selection. If you wait until a couple of weeks before the cruise sails, then youre going to be left with cabins that other passengers didnt want. This usually means there are no or limited balcony rooms, and the locations of available rooms are often less desirable.
In other words, by waiting you can actually see fewer options for cabins and locations on the ship.
Also Check: How Much Should I Budget For An Alaskan Cruise
What To Know About Cruise Insurance
Dont skimp on cruise insurance. Its always been true, of course, but in a travel sector where so much more is in flux, its essential; Baker recommends Seven Corners, which has reasonable prices for comprehensive coverage that can also include COVID-related cancelations.
If youre flying to the embarkation point, plan to arrive the day beforethat ship wont wait if youre snarled in air traffic congestion all morning. In the past, there might have been a way to rejoin the voyage at one of its ports, but the logistics of pandemic protocols make that virtually impossible right now. Yet another reason to ensure youre insured.
Do I Need A Passport To Visit Canada
First of all, if some Alaskan scoundrel in a flannel lumberjack shirt offers to exchange your US dollars for Alaskan dollars, you tell him to shove off: Alaska is an American state where you spend American dollars. Sadly, this hustle is more common than you might think. Americans do not need a passport to visit Alaska. On the other hand, Canada is a different story: they really do have Canadian dollars, and you really do need a passport for your visit.
Most Alaskan sailings have a few ports of call in Canada, and Americans now need a passport to visit Canada. Even if you dont plan on getting off the ship in Canada, it doesnt matter: you still need a passport to embark on the cruise. Okay, technically American cruise ship passengers can get away with just having a valid government-issued photo ID PLUS proof of citizenship . But a passport is strongly recommended. Passports are the only reliable documents for international travel.;
Recommended Reading: How Much Is Disney Cruise Insurance
Is It Better To Book A Cruise Early Or Late
You often hear that the best time to book a cruise is either really early or really late in the booking window that is, from the time a cruise itinerary is released to about six weeks before the cruise departs. Each has benefits and drawbacks, so youll need to assess which is the right choice for you.
How Far In Advance Should You Book A Cruise
In order to book a cruise for the cheapest price you have two options:
Book When The Cruises Are Released
If you can book far in advance, DO IT! I have friends who book their cruises years in advance, I rarely do this because Im not organised enough but it can be a great way to get a bargain.
In general, the price when the cruise itineraries are first released is the cheapest that theyll be. There are exceptions with last minute deals but for the most part, cruises are cheaper when the itineraries have just been released. If you look to book a new ship that is not yet built you can get incredibly cheap cruises.
Maiden voyages are often really cheap because the ship may still be working out some issues, training the crew etc.;
If you do book a cruise really far in advance, dont worry that youre gonna have to pay it off straight away. Itll usually be 60 or 90 days before your cruise that the full balance will be required. Cruise lines will sometimes have special offers when they have a ridiculously low deposit. One of my favourite cruise lines, Princess Cruises, often have cruises with deposits from $1, you can find the deals on their website here!
Book Last Minute
As mentioned earlier, the price will usually drop around the 60 or 90-day mark. The cruise lines know then how many cabins they have to fill and they can adjust the prices accordingly.
Read Also: What Cruise Lines Depart From Bayonne Nj