Written by on Monday June 1, 2015
That really is the million dollar question, when IS the cheapest time to book?
Well, it all depends on what you are looking for and expecting from your cruising experience, whether it be the best possible choice of stateroom, dining and on-board location or just a last minute getaway to the sun with exciting destinations to explore.
It is true that almost all cruises will have lower prices closer to the departure date but this can mean compromising on some aspects of your cruise experience so you should also take this into account.
We have outlined how to pick the perfect stateroom for you in a previous blog post but booking the right stateroom at the right price does need further consideration!
So, depending on where you want your stateroom to be will dictate how early you will need to book because even though the prices will be lower closer to the date, there will be a lot less options to choose from.
If you prefer a mid-ship position, a specific deck or dining time then booking your cruise in advance certainly offers this advantage. The earlier you book the better the choice on offer will be for location and dining times, however, the chances are that this could cost significantly more than a last minute deal.
Cruise lines do often offer early booking incentives such as free drinks, gratuities or higher on-board spending money so it is worth bearing this in mind when you begin to weigh up the benefits for you.
Also, the size of your group will impact upon the price of your booking, and if you have a larger group or are cruising as a family then, again, booking early is probably in your best interests as most cruise ships have a finite amount of larger family sized staterooms. Also if you, as part of a larger group, wish to be positioned next to another party then once again booking in advance gives you the best positional opportunities on-board the ship.
Another thing to factor in is the cruise line, ship and itinerary you wish to embark up. The newest and most popular ships, lines and itineraries will sell out quicker so if you have a specific cruise on a specific date then our recommendation would always be to book as soon as you can in order not to be disappointed.
Flight availability is another key thing to consider when booking your cruise. The earlier you book the better the price and availability and although there are some great last minute cruise fares around, sadly the flight element can often be very expensive or even sold out the closer you get to your departure date.
Sailing from the UK may be the better last minute option, but remember that regional ports will not have the same availability as the main port in Southampton.
If any of the above considerations apply to you then it is certainly worth weighing up the pros and cons of early booking before making your final decision.
Bargain hunters who are relaxed about destination, cabin types, ship position etc can certainly hold off for reduced fares as cruise companies will always reduce prices closer to the sailing date.