Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Sign in to follow this  
pghflyer

Best Time for Best Cruise (only) Price?

When to Book a Specific NCL Cruise..  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. For a specific sailing (date/ ship) and general cabin class (ex. balcony) - When is the best time to book for best cruise PRICE (in general)?

    • When First Listed - lowest prices the farthest out
      5
    • During Big Sales - (ex. Wave Season - January to March)
      0
    • Last Minute - ships rarely sell all cabins in most categories
      11
    • Doesn't Matter - no consistent patterns
      8


Recommended Posts

I previously thought cruises were like historical airline pricing where you generally needed to avoid last minute booking to get the best rates. Then I started hearing often and regularly that the best rates were normally booking as far in advance as possible (close to when they are released). Personally, I have generally seen that the best rates for choosing a specific room are to book as far in advance as possible....but that I could also get on the ship in my preferred class (ex. balcony) for much cheaper at the last minute.  Particularly if you book with a rate that allows upgrade bidding. Anyhow, I thought a poll would be interesting to gauge others - for sake of clarity, this poll is ONLY the cruise fare (not factoring in airfare) and is for general cabin classes and not if you want a specific room (you pay a little premium for that).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for the fun of it.  I have been checking on the price of the cruise I am taking 1 FEB and the total cost for 3 passengers is currently $600 cheaper than when I booked it nearly exactly 1 year ago.  The problem is, if I had waited until now I would have had to pay for the entire cost instead of making payments and could not reserve anything.  Plus, you can only get a guarantee room (Balcony).  I'm going to continue to check the prices up until sail date to see what the prices look like as it may be worth it.  I would just have to pick a date and sailing/sailings to target and make sure I get all the travel arrangements done to get me to the embarkation port city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Red Wing on this one.

I pay the deposit the very day a cruise becomes available once I'm sold that it's the itinerary I want.  Then I spend the next two years paying it off.  That's the only way I could ever afford to doing an excursion at every stop if I want, buying the insurance, booking my own airline, and stashing a couple grand away for spending.

Some people have that kind of dough laying around the house and I say bully for them.

Sure you can shave a little off the stateroom.  But by then you will have blown the opportunity for so much other stuff it will be penny wise and dollar foolish.

Er ... unless ... you happen to live in a luxury home hanging over Laguna Beach ... then ... you do what you want.  And in that case you're not trying to figure out how to save 200 bucks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was monitoring October 2019 Alaska and recording the prices in a spreadsheet so I could work out the best approach for October 2020.

The Joy and Bliss fluctuated up and down throughout the year most reached their lowest about 12 weeks out, some stayed low others shot up again.

If you are in the US then you have little to worry about as you can rebook without loss, here in the UK we lose our deposit so it's more important to book at the ideal time.

 

I ended up booking the Sun for 2020 about 14 months out as the price was good but prices went down substantially during the black friday sale.

We rebooked in the Black Friday sale (losing our deposit £50pp), same cabin but knocked £800 ($1040) off the cruise, we were very happy with that but best of all we now have 30 Latitude points instead of 15.

 

If you are very flexible, last minute could work out but if you need a specific sailing then it's a huge risk and on top of that flights are more expensive booked late, you can book a flight early but then the risk is even greater as your travel dates are fixed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to use Cruise Fish to monitor prices but they really don't work anymore but saw that Cayole and Cruise Watch both seem to have some good price history and prediction tools as resources FWIW.   We are lucky in the US to be able to cancel up to final payment (120 days prior) but I've seen lots of prices magically crater at 115 days.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The answer changes dramatically based on how you want to ask the question.

 

If I want to take a cruise on the Norweigan Epic on December 2, 2020 and, especially if you want to choose your balcony room - the answer is to book early

 

If I want to take a cruise in December 2020, but I"m flexible on which one, and fine with a guarantee room - the answer is to book late

 

I book early and have seen prices go up and down after final payment. I've also seen them sell out months ahead of the cruise. If you have a very specific cruise you want or you are at all fussy about the location of your cabin, waiting for a last minute deal is a risky proposition. But there are certainly deals to be had at the last minute if you are flexible.

Edited by sanger727

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My transatlantic cruise is less than 100 days out.  Prices are much more expensive than when the cruise first opened.  I have found this most of the time for my (non-Caribbean) cruises. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the Singapore and Hong Kong cruises I have followed dropped substantially after final payment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, sanger727 said:

.....there are certainly deals to be had at the last minute if you are flexible.

 

I guess, in that scenario, there is no 'free at sea' offered....but I really do not know if that is the case!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the US market at least, they continue to offer "free at sea" pricing pretty much up to sailing on those that I monitor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Transatlantic seemed to be best price further out. Reposition cruises vary with prices sometimes last minute others many months ahead of time. Bermuda cruises are cheaper in May when water is cold but great deals end of August and first week September. Short cruises out of Florida ports are very cheap last minute. Loyal customer favorite cruises like RCL Grandeur out of Baltimore are always a little higher in cost. Thanksgiving cruises seem cheaper. Xmas and New Years High $$$

A stock market dip can cause cancellations and lower prices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it totally depends on your sail date, your itinerary, your ship, your port -- and most importantly, how many other people have chosen to sail that date, itinerary, ship, and port.

 

They're going to try to maximize profits coming from a ship. If that means lowering prices to encourage people to book, that's what they'll do. They'll try to fill the ship and get the most they can out of each sailing.

 

I don't usually book cruises super far out, so I can't comment on whether prices are lowest when the itineraries first go on sale. But I have noticed that prices tend to be higher when they think people are going to want to book their vacation -- maybe 3-12 months ahead of time. Once you're significantly past final payment and into the penalty phases, they'll drop prices if they need to fill the ship. If the ship fills and starts selling out, prices will go back up.


A lot of it is luck of the draw. We had a rock-bottom price for a last minute cruise in October, the cheapest we've ever paid. On our upcoming cruise in February, prices were low in December, and then went up in January, and we booked in January because we were afraid our desired cabin category would sell out. It didn't, and the price dropped. I could have saved $600 by waiting a week.

 

Oh well, we got the cabin we wanted at a price we were willing to pay. I guess that's all that matters.

 

 🤷‍♂️💸

 

Edited by dcipjr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We only cruise last minute deals, best time for a deal is after thanksgiving and before Christmas.  Since Oct 12 we cruised 47 nights all last minute deals.  What type of deal?  $250 for a solo room 11 nights, 29 nights $1300 per person for a 2 person room 

Edited by Newleno

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...