How far in advance should you book your next cruise to get the lowest fare? Sadly, there’s no magic formula for snagging the best price every time. But, we do have some advice for you to consider: book early or book late.
There are some other significant advantages to booking a cruise as early as possible. You’ll have access to the best choice of cabins and you might receive early booking incentives, such as discounted airfare or onboard credits. Early booking also gives you plenty of time to look forward to your cruise and plan what you want to do on board and on shore.
Still, keep in mind that a lot can happen in 18 months. Cruise lines have the right to change itineraries due to travel warnings, port conditions, and other factors, so the cruise you purchase may be a little different than the cruise you actually take. And – although this doesn’t happen often – you can be “bumped” from a cruise for a variety of reasons, such as the ship needing some maintenance work or being chartered. In these situations, the cruise line usually provides as much advance notice as possible, a full refund or rebooking, and perhaps some extras like future cruise credits.
If it’s not possible for you to commit to a cruise many months in advance, booking late can also deliver a good deal. Late booking bargains usually emerge two to four months before the sail date, when passengers with reservations have their last chance to cancel without paying a penalty. Other low-fare opportunities may come up when passengers have to cancel at the last minute. And, some slow-selling cruises may still have space available just a few weeks or days before the cruise begins.
If you look for a late booking deal, be flexible about your destination, as well as cabin type and location; you’ll have to choose from what’s available. And, understand that some cruises simply sell out early and stay sold out, with no options for late booking.
To try booking your next cruise early or late, reach out to Anita, your professional travel advisor, for the best assistance and advice.
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