Best Cruise Fares
If you want to pick your cabin:
Purchase your ticket as soon as you know your travel dates. Most cruise lines offer early discounts to encourage passengers to purchase tickets early, and, like airlines, increase prices as the cruise date gets closer.
If you want a better price:
Wait until the last minute. The flip-side of buying a cruise ticket, buying late, may provide even greater discounts than buying early. The downside is that you’ll be relegated to whatever availability remains on the ship. Ocean-view cabins may be sold out, and you’ll have no choice but to take an interior cabin with no view.
If you want a great price and unsure weather:
Book your cruise based upon time of year and cruising destination to hit the off-peak travel dates for the region. The period from March through April serves as off-peak months for European cruises, while hurricane season makes the Caribbean less popular in the fall. Since the savings at off-peak times come with a risk of bad weather, though, be prepared to miss some port stops or have to cancel off-ship excursions.
Promotions to look for:
- Kids cruise free deals
- Cabin category upgrades
- Two-for-one fares
- Free or discounted airfare, shore excursions, and/or pre and post cruise hotel stays
- Shipboard credits (the equivalent of spending money to use onboard)
- Discount coupons for use on the ship
- “Guarantee” cabins (you pick a category and if it sells out you get an automatic upgrade)