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How to Plan. When to book. Types of Deals.

Book a Cruise Late - Just a Few Weeks (or Days) in Advance

On the other hand, you can also get in on huge savings by booking late. But in order to take advantage of these deals you have to be flexible in your schedule and be able to take time off within just a few weeks or even a few days. Again, it's business. No cruise line company wants to set sail with empty berths. So they often offer deep discounts on last minute bookings. Join email lists for several cruise ship lines so you can get alerts about these fantastic last minute deals!

You hear all the time about star-studded and huge super cruises hosted by folk like Tom Joyner and his fantastic voyages! Family and friends post pics on Face Book showing off about the fun they had. Before long, you get bit by the cruise bug.

Look for ways to save. Timing and flexibility will get you the best deals!

Sail the Caribbean - Because Competition is steep.

You get some of the best deals in the world on Caribbean cruises. That's because it is THE number one cruise destination. And - airfares to get you to the port of embarkation are often cheaper than other destinations.

Book Early - Like Six or More Months in Advance

Like any business, cruise ship operators like to know how many passengers they will have and book their ship as full as possible. That's why booking more than six months in advance will often get you the best deal. Look for special offers like "low price guarantees." In that case, the cruise line will notify you of when rates lower and match your price to the lower rate. But it's wise to monitor the rates yourself - just in case. Tell your travel agent when you see the lowered rate to get a refund. Or - you can consider upgrading to a better cabin (referred to as a "berth").

Book Off-Season

The most expensive cruises take place during mid-to-late December (Christmas), spring and summer. Off-season cruises take place in fall, typically from September to December. This is because the other times of the year are most amenable to families because kids are out of school during the summer and during traditional holidays.

March through May, and September through November are called the "shoulder season" periods and provide hefty discounts. This is a good time to cruise in Europe and the Caribbean. Alaskan off-season deals are typically found in May or September.

While some people worry about September and October cruises because this is the typical "hurricane season" in the Caribbean - know that cruise lines alter their routes days in advance to avoid storms. After all - they want to keep their passengers and ships safe.

If You Have the Time - Check Into a Repositioning Cruise

A "repositioning" cruise is a long cruise that takes place in areas like Alaska and northern Europe, where they have to move the ship to warmer waters during the winter months. If you've ever dreamed of sailing for a long time - a repositioning cruise can be a great deal. In most cases, these cruises last two weeks or more. So that's a key consideration. Also keep in mind that the long length will also impact your costs for extras like the casino, shopping and more. But the savings can balance things out.


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