Cheapest Month to Book a Cruise: When is the Best Time to Go on a Cruise?

Did you know that the window immediately following the New Year’s celebration often harbors the cheapest weeks to cruise? Yes, this period hosts a treasure trove of affordable cruise dates that many aren’t aware of. I’ll share insights into the cheapest time to take a cruisebudget-friendly cruise seasons, and off-season cruise deals that will have you booking your next maritime adventure without a second thought about cost.

Cheapest Month to Book a Cruise?

Key Takeaways

  • Pinpoint the cheapest weeks to cruise by targeting the start of the year, especially when the holidays wrap up.
  • Learn about affordable cruise dates that coincide with the kids’ school schedules to maximize savings.
  • Understand why the cheapest time to cruise taps into off-peak industry rhythms for unbeatable rates.
  • Discover why budget-friendly cruise seasons offer not just price cuts but enhanced cabin availability, too.
  • Unravel the secrets of snagging economical sail times with repositioning cruises during spring and fall.
  • Get ahead with reduced-rate cruise windows, ensuring you know the best times to book for less traveled destinations.
  • Find out when to set sail with off-season cruise deals that promise considerable savings for the savvy traveler.

Optimal Periods for Inexpensive Cruising

When asked when the cheapest time to cruise is, my answer invariably falls within the first quarter of the year. Cruisers in the know often refer to this time as the “wave season,” a span between January and March rich in cost-saving opportunities. The cruise industry, aware of the lull following the festive season, unveils a treasure trove of promotions and discounts to fill their fleets for the year’s voyages. These incentives can include anything from free stateroom upgrades to complimentary airfare, luring savvy travelers into setting sail at slashed rates.

The most economical sail times pleasantly coincide with when children are tucked away in classrooms and the chaos of holiday travel has subsided. At this time, the cruise low season welcomes fewer tourists, translates to lower prices, and opens up a greater variety of available cabins. For those who thirst for tropical destinations, finding cheap cruises in the Caribbean becomes particularly feasible during this period. Meanwhile, colder destinations like Alaska present a different seasonal pricing model, which is best taken advantage of outside the summer peak.

  • Cruise Low Season: January to mid-February
  • Optimal Cruise Pricing Periods: Wave season deals (January-March)
  • Best Time to Find Cruise Deals: Just after the New Year
  • Off-Season Cruise Deals: Discounts prevalent when vacationing families are less likely to travel
  • Cheapest Months to Cruise: Historically, in late January and February

Best Time of Year to Book a Cruise

My advice for cruisers is straightforward: early reservation is a strategic maneuver. This ensures access to various budget-friendly cruise seasons and discounted cruise schedules, which is particularly advantageous for specialty or expedition voyages where demand may soar swiftly. As expected, price points generally ascend as the departure date draws near, solidifying that the cheapest time to cruise is at the genesis of wave season or at the inaugural moment when bookings are first available.

  • Secure early deals during January and February, the peak of wave season.
  • Look for luxury and specialized cruises, such as Disney and expedition cruises, when they first open for booking.
  • Be vigilant of the cheapest cruise line promotions to maximize savings.
Booking PeriodAdvantagesConsiderations
January – February (Wave Season)Highest volume of deals, onboard credit, reduced depositsDemand for popular itineraries is high, book early
Upon Itinerary ReleaseBest rates for new ships and luxury sailingsLimited booking window, requires fast action
Specialized/Expedition CruisesUnique experiences, potential early-bird discountsOften sell out quickly, booking well in advance recommended
3-6 Months Prior to DepartureGood balance of prices and availabilityCloser to departure may limit cabin selection

Best Time to Book Caribbean Cruises

For cheap cruises in the Caribbean, the consensus among seasoned travelers is to aim for the best time to cruise to the Caribbean, which typically falls during the wave season.

Booking during the early months of the year, especially from January through March, can secure you a cheap cruise in the Caribbean. This period is often punctuated by a lull in demand post-holiday season, making it the best time to go on a cruise to the Caribbean if you’re on a budget. I’m also a big fan of cruising in October, November or Decemeber when the sailing dates are not during a holiday. Holidays sailings are often come with peak prices. Remember, if kids are out of school, the rates will be much higher.

Booking your cruise during wave season offers numerous promotions that can lead to substantial savings.

I’ve prepared a comparative table to guide you on when might be the best time for Caribbean cruise bookings based on factors such as average prices, demand, and weather conditions. This may also help you snag those elusive cheap Caribbean cruises we all covet:

Time of YearAverage PriceDemandWeather Conditions
Early January – Mid-FebruaryLowerLowMild
Late February – AprilModerateMediumWarm
May – Early JuneHigherHigh (Start of Peak Season)Hot
September – Early NovemberModerateLow (Hurricane Season Risk)Variable
Late November – Mid-DecemberLowerLowMild to Cool

Watching for last-minute offers can lead to significant savings for those with flexible schedules. However, I want you to know that this strategy comes with risks, including limited cabin availability and the potentially rapid selling out of desired itineraries.

When to Book Early

If your dream vacation includes a particular stateroom or a spot on the newest mega-ship, Waiting won’t do; the prime picks, whether cabins or dates, tend to sell out with surprising speed.

  • The early bird catches the worm: Recent high demand makes this advice, even more relevant today.
  • Anticipated releases: Booking when new itineraries are released can lock in incredible deals.
  • Marquee cabins: Early booking is non-negotiable for prime locations such as aft balconies or unique suites.
  • Peak travel periods: Holidays and school vacations call for strategic, early reservations.
  • Exclusive experiences: Small ship and expedition cruises with limited capacity similarly demand foresight. This also goes for any unique itineraries.

Cheapest Time to Cruise Alaska

I’ve discovered that the best month to cruise this breathtaking region aligns with the fringes of the tourist season called the ‘shoulder season’ in May and September. These months mark the most economical sail times to Alaska, with the onset and conclusion of the cruise calendar offering the cheapest time to take a cruise to the Last Frontier. While summer in Alaska can be spectacular, prices during June, July, and August surge due to high demand.

I’ve also found that Alaska cruise deals often include what’s known as repositioning cruises. These are one-way itineraries where ships relocate from one region to another. Repositioning cruises at the start and end of the Alaskan season isn’t just an opportunity to save but also offers a unique perspective of transitioning landscapes. By targeting these specific time slots, I can relish the uncrowded serenity of Alaska’s majesty while benefiting from some of the cheapest time of year for cruises to this destination.

Tracking Cruise Fares

I recommend tracking cruise fares to snag the best price. Patience and persistence are essential, as fares fluctuate based on various factors, including the chosen itinerary, the age of the ship, and even the time of year. Insights gathered from cruise fare tracking can guide you on the best time to purchase a cruise, potentially saving you a substantial amount.

Through diligent monitoring, I’ve observed that Thursdays occasionally present notable fare drops. However, there’s no guaranteed timeframe for when deals appear, so flexibility is a boon if you’re employing this tactic to get the best deal on a cruise. While there are no guarantees with fare tracking — with some risks, like limited cabin availability — it is often worth the effort for those with adaptable travel plans.

Best Time to Go on a Cruise – FAQ

When is the best time to book a cruise?

The best time to book a cruise is typically during Wave Season, which runs from January to March and offers great deals and promotions.

What is the cheapest month to go on a cruise?

The cheapest months to cruise are usually September and October, known as the shoulder season, offering lower prices and fewer crowds.

How can I find the best cruise deals?

To find the best cruise deals, consider booking during the off-peak season, being flexible with travel dates, and checking for last-minute cruise deals.

Which cruise lines offer the cheapest cruises?

Cruise lines such as MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean often offer competitive pricing and discounts on their cruises.

Is booking a cruise early or waiting for last-minute deals better?

It depends on your flexibility and preferences. Booking early ensures a better selection of cabins, while waiting for last-minute deals can sometimes result in discounted prices.

What are some popular cruise destinations to consider?

Popular cruise destinations include the Mediterranean, Mexico, the Caribbean, Alaska, and Northern Europe, offering unique experiences and attractions.

How important is using a travel agent when booking a cruise?

Travel agents can offer valuable insights, expertise, and often access to exclusive deals and promotions, making them an excellent resource for booking your next cruise.

Cheapest Month to Book a Cruise: When is the Best Time to Go on a Cruise? | 19
Cheapest Month to Book a Cruise: When is the Best Time to Go on a Cruise? | 19
John Shallo
John Shallo
John Shallo is the founder and editor of Cruise Addicts. Since 1999 it has been a leading destination for cruise travelers and self professed Cruise Addicts looking for the latest news, ship reviews and travel tips.

Related Articles

cruise deals
Visit our Cruise Forums Today!cruise forums