Which do you feel gets the best rates? We're looking at September, 2003, and I had a travel agent tell me we should wait till next year because none of the sales had started yet for that time. But then, on the other hand, some places say to be sure and book early! Confusing!!
I don't know which cruiseline you're contemplating, but some lines will credit you if the fare drops after you've booked. Other lines specify that lowered fares are for new reservations only. Check the policy of the line you're looking at. Also, a good travel agent will keep tabs on your reservation and notify you of any changes (after you've booked) which might be to your benefit. Under those circumstances, there's no reason not to book early. Good luck.
If you really need/want a specific cabin, then go ahead and book early. Any good travel agent will and can pass the savings on to you if the prices do fall later. Its unfortunate for me, but sometimes there are some good deals as the cruise comes closer and you can adjust your travel plans. I usually have to plan my trips in advance and as long as I can get that balcony cabin, I'm fine.
Let us know what you decide to do and happy cruising!
I have booked with HAL with a cruise. I booked thru a TA even thought you can book thru HAL website. I booked my cruise in Feb , 2002 for a criuse in Feb, 2003. Since then I have check with HAL web site for pricing. About one month ago ,HAL lowered my price of the cruise about $ 290.00. I call my TA and advise her of the diffence of price. She call HAL and they gave me the lower price. I just keep track of the pricing on the HAL web site and then I tell my TA about the lower price. Then she gets me the lower price.
HAL will not lower your price unless you see the lower price on the web site. Then they will lower the price if you call them.
This work with HAL. I don't know about other cruise line.
We have more flexibility than most and always book at the last minute. We don't have to have that specific week, or that specific cabin, or that specific cruise, so when we're ready to go we find the best deal and book through our TA. I believe we almost always get the lowest price. Since we live in Florida and drive to the ports we don't have to make flight arrangements either.
My hubby & I are very flexable as to our times & we always do better doing last minute booking (it is actually the only way we can do it due to hubbys job). I also do it all myself over the internet & have had usually have very good luck. (I say usually because I had a glich this morning that really had my blood pressure up there!) I just finalized a booking about an hour ago for Sept. 29th on the Norway leaving out of Miami (it was a bit of a headach but this morning everything got finalized much better than I thought) So if you have the time & can do it I suggest last minute, you have to be flexible tho. Also we don't really care to much where we go or what we do, we believe you make your own good time no matter what cabin you are in or what cruise you go on. I find the prices to be ALOT cheaper. If you have to have something specific then I think you should do things a little earlier. Happy hunting!!! And Cruising!!! saleaway3
Brad, I agree, I too an a cruise nut and I love to check many many sites for prices, deals etc. I also get many emails of deals going on but I no longer go thru a TA anymore. It's down to the internet where I have been able to get the best prices. As for last minute or early bird, it depends. If I need to coordinate air and want a specific iteniery or cabin I book early but if I'm not picky and can drive to the port then wait for last minute as there are some really hot deals out there!
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Saleaway3, if you are able to do a last minute I have seen some deals as cheap as $279 including port charges for a 7 day on NCL Norway. About a month ago RCCL had Voyager of the Seas for $439! I have subscribed to many sites for last minute deals and boy are they hard to resist but my vacation time is taken til next August so I will have to wait til then to try a last minute.
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We're booking a cruise for a family reunion next summer that Mrs. Thomas and I have taken several times. When the two of us book this cruise we wait until a month or so before to book and always pay about $350 or less per person. Right now the price for the same category cabin is $670 for the family reunion cruise. It's nearly double for booking this early.
But then the problem lies in the fact Mrs. Thomas and I can leave on a moments notice but when doing a family reunion cruise we have to have the cruise firmly in place months in advance so others can plan around it.
To me there's merit in all of the replies - I have a real reliable TA but still check out the Line's website - my other half hates last minute arrangements so we book early and that usually gives us a good deal......still keep checking and if there's a drop in price I'm on the phone real fast. Guess we're picky about cabin location - the earlier you book, the better the choice. In our experience the least expensive and top of the line mid ship cabins go first - if you just want to be on board, location unimportant, I'd probably hold out for the last minute deal. Much depends on how the cruise is selling - school breaks for example - the early booking discount is usually the best you're going to get.