This truly is the million dollar question, and there is no right or wrong answer!
Getting the best value for money in the price you pay for your cruise really comes down to individual choice and expectation.
Every cruiser has different expectations on what they are looking to get out of their cruise holiday, whether it be the best possible choice of stateroom, dining and onboard location or a last minute getaway to the sun with exciting destinations to explore.
Cruises will almost always be at their cheapest closer to the departure date, however this will often require compromise as the availability and choice will be much reduced.
Our Cruise Experts are here to guide you through this decision making process and before making your final choice we would recommend considering the following:
Do you require a specific ship location, dining time or stateroom?
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 dining times, deck availability and stateroom choice, 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 onboard spending money so it is worth bearing this in mind when you begin to weigh up the benefits for you.
Is there a specific cruise itinerary/cruise line/ship that you know you want?
If you know that you want 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. If you leave booking too late then it could be a bit of a lottery as you may not be able to secure the cabin grade you want and the late pricing is fluid so can change dramatically from one day to the next.
Are you travelling as a group or a family and require larger or Family style staterooms?
If you are travelling as part of a group or as a family then you should bear in mind that most cruise ships only have a limited number of family staterooms available and so booking in advance really is the best option. If you are travelling as a group and wish to be located close by or next to each other on board then once again early booking gives you the best availability options.
Will you be sailing from the UK or looking to take a Fly-Cruise?
Flight availability is another key thing to consider when booking your cruise. The earlier you book the better the 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.
Call our Cruise Experts today on 0800 197 8050 and let us help guide you though the decision making process.