When exactly is the best time to book a cruise? Many potential cruisers monitor the prices for months hoping to find the best deal, while others reserve immediately to ensure they get space on their cruise of choice. There is a lot of conflicting information concerning the best time to reserve a cruise as well as benefits both to booking your cruise early or as close to departure as possible.
The right decision for you may not just be about saving money. If you can only travel during certain time periods, traveling during a holiday, have a specific cabin location in mind or just feel more comfortable having your plans fully arranged as early on as possible, reserving a cruise early is the way to go.
For those budget-conscious travelers, note that many cruise lines begin selling cabins at the lowest price they feel they can manage, and prices go up as the cruise fills up and space becomes more limited. Many travelers assume that cruise lines will offer last minute deals, like airlines often do. Though last minute deals do occur, it is not always the case. So if you feel like you've come upon a reasonable price in your search, waiting may not be in your best interest.
Note that some cruise lines will honor price drops for passengers who have already booked their trip. If you notice that the category of cabin you've booked has dropped in price closer to the departure date, contact the cruise line or your travel agent and you may find yourself being reimbursed for the difference in your cruise fare.
When is it a good time to wait for the lowest price? If your plans are extremely flexible, that's when you have the wiggle room to wait for last minute pricing. As aforementioned, last minute deals do occur if the ship hasn't filled a few weeks before departure, but there is no guarantee it will happen for the cruise you have your eye on. If you're the type of person who likes to get up and go on a whim with no specific place in mind and is fortunate to live in driving distance of a cruise port (last minute flights are costly and will negate any cruise discounts), then last minute booking can sometimes save you money.
In the end, the best time to book your cruise depends on you. If you prefer options and the security of knowing you'll be on a particular ship with everything in order the day it departs, book as early as possible. If you're more laid back and just want to cruise for the sake of cruising, you can hold out for what may be the best cruise deal around. Either way, your Caribbean cruise is sure to be worth every penny you spend on it.
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