When to book a cruise for less

Tips on Booking Cruises - When's a Good Time to Book a Cruise?

It can be tricky:  When considering when to book your next cruis, there are a few specifics that can guide your planning.

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It can be tricky:  When considering when to book your next cruis, there are a few specifics that can guide your planning.

On Alaska cruises, for example, balcony cabins on newer ships will usually sell out long before the less desirable accommodations. Though such cabins are more expensive, the demand is still high enough (and the supply small enough) that getting your booking in early is a must.

Route matters, too. 

The Gulf Route between Vancouver and Anchorage is the one of the most popular choices for Alaska cruises. Several lines offer on shore excursions as part of a package deal. It's a good idea to book these as far in advance as possible, but certainly no later than six months ahead for May-September departures.

Round Trip cruises which depart from Vancouver often have more spaces available closer to the departure date. Booking a cruise for May or September will often give you more choices, too. In any case, however, unless you just get lucky, you can expect to pay $100 (and up) more for an ocean view cabin than for an interior one.

You'll find you have a lot of factors to weigh as you do your research. Creating, and sticking to, a checklist of your wishes, your budget and a table of options in a spreadsheet form will help you decide.

Bahamas and Caribbean cruises are slightly different from Alaskan cruises. Though they also require planning in order to get a good deal, there are so many lines going so often you have much wider array of choices...and prices. The weather is less of a consideration on a cruise to the Bahamas or around the Caribbean, but do remember that they have hurricanes in that area.

It's probably not surprising that cruises during the Holidays tend to sell out first. 

Spring Break week (when college students flood every tourist destination), the Christmas-New Year week, and of course July and August are the most desired times. Even with all the options to the Caribbean, demand is so high that you'll need to book almost a year in advance to get a good cabin on a nice voyage.

At these times, increased demand in the face of limited supply leads to a higher price. (There's no escaping basic economics!) Summers are, of course, more common vacation times for families traveling together, so book accordingly.

The late winter and early spring months (in the Northern Hemisphere) of the February - April time frame will start to book up next. By then, many living in sections of the U.S. that get cold in winter are looking to find relief from the cold. Even though they won't actually leave for months, the act of booking seems to provide some relief from the winter doldrums.

If you are flexible, bargains abound for most of September through early December and you may find a good cabin available as short as 60 days before departure. If you can, take advantage of that, since the weather can still be pleasant. 

Be prepared to be flexible.

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