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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
prepared to be flexible.
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