Cruise lines send ships of all sizes on the rivers and oceans of the world, leaving few geographic areas of the planet unaccessible. That wide net has attracted travelers who have never sailed before, formerly choosing to visit places by air or land. Those numerous ships sail seasonally to some places and year-round in others, giving buyers a lot to choose from. While there may be no bad time to go on a cruise, the right time to buy a cruise is another matter.
The End Of September
Since that’s where we are as I write this, let’s start here. Starting in mid-September, the cruise industry starts getting ready for National Cruise Month in October. Featured during National Cruise Month are special events called ‘Cruise Nights’. These affairs are where a local travel agent in your area invites guests to come to their office or that agent goes to visit an organization to talk about cruises. Featured: some good deals not available elsewhere. But not until October.
December Holiday Weeks
Along the same lines of waiting at the end of September comes similar caution about buying a cruise at the end of December. Two potential issues here. First, next month is January which begins ‘Wave Season’. That’s a time when up to 50% of all cruises are sold and cruise lines put their best deals out there to consider. On a ship, look around, odds are about half of everyone you see bought during Wave Season.
Most Of The Summer - Except For Special Sales
Wave season begins in January, usually the week after New Year’s Day. Wave season-quality offers run to about the end of March. Cruise lines spend the rest of the year playing around with pricing and availability to get us to buy at a time when we may or may not be interested. The summer will bring flash sales, inclusive sales, discount sales, past guest offers and/or bonus value for residents of certain states, active/past military members and more.
But All Is Not Lost
These are three times of the year that can be potentially bad, for the reasons noted. This is mainly because buyers often spring into action for what appears to be a really good price. Understandable: who would not want the lowest fare? That would be the person who read the fine print and knows that their deal made during any of these three times of the year has restrictions. Book during an unrestricted promotion that allows consideration. If the cruise line has a better offer later that you qualify for, you should be able to get it.
The worst case scenario here: you paid more than someone else.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com