The cheapest time to book a cruise

Cruisewatch, an American price monitoring website, has reviewed its data from 2018 and revealed the best time to cruise on a budget. It found that for savings of up to 59 per cent, when travelling with a major cruise line, book within 70 days of departure.

When booking within a week of departure, it was possible to save more than half the cost on major lines such as Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line.

cruise ship in harbour

The best savings on lines including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Azamara Club Cruises were found when booking eight to 10 weeks ahead.

The report found that, if you’re travelling on a budget but want to experience high-end cruising, it may be worth holding out to book with operators such as Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines, that have higher launch fares but great time-sensitive discounts.

Gareth Evison, product and offline marketing manager at Cruise1st, told Cruise Passenger:  “If you don’t care when you travel, where you travel to, and there are no flights involved, you can often get a better deal closer to departure.”

For travellers flying to the cruise departure location, things may not be so straight forward. While cruise prices may drop as they near the departure date, flight fares are likely to increase. If you want to travel during peak times, such as during school holidays, or with a large group, deals may also be be scarce and offers limited.

“If you are looking for the best deals for international packages, my advice is to sign up to the cruise agencies newsletters as you never know when a cruise line and an airline release deals at the same time,” Mr Evison said. “This could be 11 months out, nine months out or six months out, but when they do, and everything lines up, you can often get an incredible deal. This, to me, is the best time to book.”

Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Cruises are known for having reasonable fares from the get-go, so they may be preferable for travellers wanting to book in advance.

If you have an adventurous spirit and a flexible calendar, it may be worth postponing booking. It may just land you the discount cruise of your dreams.

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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