When is the Best Time to Book a Cruise?

In a Nutshell: The best time to book a cruise is either early to secure a preferable cabin and stable prices, or closer to the departure date for last-minute deals if you have a flexible schedule.


  • Booking early often guarantees better cabin choices and prices that won’t escalate.
  • If you book early and the price drops later, you can get it repriced to the new lower rate.
  • Last-minute bookings can offer great deals, particularly for those with flexible schedules.
  • Cruise pricing varies with demand; popular cruises can increase in price.

Best Time to Book a Cruise to Save Money

Booking a cruise is an art, finding the best time between early planning and opportunistic last-minute deals.

Don Terris, a seasoned travel agent and the face behind “Don’s Family Vacations” on YouTube, brings over 35 years of cruising experience to the table. 

He sheds light on the best strategies and the best time for booking a cruise, a topic of great interest to many aspiring voyagers.

Early vs. Last-Minute Bookings

According to Terris, the golden rule of booking a cruise is finding the best time to make your reservation. Booking early almost guarantees a better choice of cabins and locked-in prices that won’t escalate. 

He advises, “If you book a cabin early and the price drops later, you can have your travel agent reprice it to the new, lower rate.”  This strategy ensures you get the best deal without compromising on your preferences.

On the other hand, finding the best time for last-minute bookings can be a goldmine for deals, especially for those with flexible schedules.

Terris shares an intriguing example, “Just days before sailing, inside cabins on the Norwegian Encore were available for under $500 for two people.” 

However, he cautions that this approach often means compromising on cabin selection.

Navigating the Highs and Lows of Pricing

Terris emphasizes the fluid nature of cruise pricing, influenced by supply and demand. 

“Cruises can go up in price if they are popular and sell out,” he explains, using holiday cruises as a prime example. 

His advice for those with specific needs, like avoiding noisy areas or seasickness concerns, is to identify the best time to book, often as soon as the cruise is announced.

The Misconception of Cheapest Dates

A common mistake, Terris notes, is assuming the cheapest inside cabin correlates with the cheapest dates for higher-tier cabins. 

He encourages a thorough exploration of all dates, as sometimes a balcony cabin can be significantly cheaper on a different sailing week. “Don’t just settle for the first price you see,” he advises.

For first-time cruisers or those overwhelmed by options, Terris suggests consulting a travel agent to determine the best time and options for their cruise.

They can compare prices across dates and consider other factors like holidays or special events, ensuring you get the best deal for your preferred cabin type.

A Voyage of Informed Decisions

Terris’s advice is a beacon for both seasoned and first-time cruisers. As he concludes, “Explore all your options, don’t be afraid to search it out. A well-informed decision can save you quite a bit of money.” 

With these insights, travelers can confidently set sail on their dream cruise, ensuring a memorable and cost-effective journey.

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