The best time to book a cruise


Essential things you need to know about booking your next cruise! The best time to book a cruise and quite often the cheapest time to book a cruise is the months January through March, when most cruise line launches “wave season” promotions. However this can vary depending on several factors such as destination, cruise line, time of year, and personal preferences. As there are so many factors to consider, let’s look at the best and cheapest times to book a cruise.

When Is The Best And Cheapest Time To Book A Cruise?

Symphony of the Seas view of the 10 story Abysss msn
Photo Credit: Donna Vallance

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The ideal timing for booking a cruise is entirely up to you, but saving money is fantastic, just as basking in the sun atop a cruise ship with a delightful cocktail in hand. But why not enjoy both and grab yourself a saving?

Securing cost-effective cruise deals is simpler than you might think once you understand the optimal booking times, upgrade opportunities, and how to sail on your preferred itinerary without overspending. 

Explore the variables influencing price fluctuations, including monthly offers, itinerary selection, and cabin preferences. The best time to book a cruise hinges on your desired travel period, whether you prefer booking well in advance or waiting for last-minute deals, and the additional perks you wish to include. These are the best and cheapest times to book a cruise:

The Wave Season for Promotions and Discounts

Photo credit: Donna Vallance

The Wave Season (January – March) is often considered the best time to book a cruise. After the rush of the holiday period this time is often considered one of the best times to book a cruise As many cruise lines offer promotions, discounts, and added perks during these months. It’s a good time to find deals and secure bookings for the upcoming travel seasons. 

Look Out For Black Friday Deals

Photo credit: Donna Vallance

Another good time of the year is Black Friday. Cruise lines often take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Cruise fares can be reduced as well as saving money with smaller deposits and airfares.

Book Early When Cruise’s are Released

Photo Credit: Donna Vallance

Book Early for popular destinations or peak seasons (like holidays or summer vacation) Booking early as possible when cruise’s are  released is advisable. Sometimes even a year or more in advance. This is especially true if you have specific cabin preferences or want to secure a spot on a popular itinerary.

Grab a Last-Minute Deal

NCL cruise line
Photo Credit: Donna Vallance

Grab a Last-Minute Deal, Occasionally, cruise lines offer last-minute deals to fill remaining cabins. If you’re flexible with your travel dates and cabin preferences, you might find significant discounts by booking closer to the departure date. However, this strategy can be risky as availability might be limited. Also if you are flying to your cruise destination consider that flights may be dearer closer to departure.

Book in Off-Peak Season

The independence of the seas in the Norweigian fjords msn
Photo credit: Donna Vallance

Off-Peak Seasons, consider cruising during shoulder seasons or off-peak times when demand is lower. You might find better deals during these times, and the weather might still be favorable in many destinations. Avoid School holiday’s such as spring break and Christmas Holiday periods for cheaper sailings.

Choose a Smaller Ship

MSC Lirica
Photo credit: Donna Vallance

It may not seem obvious but smaller and older ships are often cheaper to cruise on. Cruise lines have big fares on large brand new ships. Once the buzz is over smaller, older ships often go overlooked so try opting for a smaller ship for a cheaper vacation.

Use a Travel Agent or Cruise Specialist

Allure of the Seas Photo Credit Royal Caribbean-4
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean.

Use a Travel Agent or Cruise Specialist. They often have access to special deals and promotions that might not be available to the general public. They can also provide advice based on your preferences and help you find the best cruise for your needs.

Sign up For Newsletters 

Central Park Symphony of the Seas from above
Photo Credit: Donna Vallance

Signing up for newsletters or following cruise lines on social media can help you stay informed about these deals. Here you will see the biggest price drops and offers on things such as excursions and drinks packages.

Be Flexible with Dates and Itineraries

Allure of the Seas Photo Credit Royal Caribbean-2
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean.

Be Flexible with Dates and Itineraries. Being flexible with your travel dates and itineraries can help you find better deals. Sometimes, choosing a different sailing date or a slightly different route can lead to more affordable options.

Ultimately, the best time to book a cruise depends on your preferences, budget, and flexibility. Consider your priorities and research different options to find the most suitable deal for your needs.

Want to Take a Tour of One of the Largest Ships?

Are Royal Caribbean Drinks Packages Worth it Photo Credit Royal Caribbean.
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean.

See our Royal Caribbean guide to Wonder of the Seas!


  • Donna Vallance

    Donna loves cruising with her husband and two teenage boys. Having cruised with the children from a young age she feels it is the perfect way to experience the world safely. Her boys are social butterfly’s and love meeting other children their own age whilst onboard some of the most extraordinary floating ships. She also writes over at Like Love Do, a travel memoir of her trips, from London to far off beaches. She has an eye for the unusual and like to go off of the beaten track just to find the perfect photo. With a passion for photography and exploring cruising has become the perfect holiday choice.

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