I am hoping that someone can offer some advice on when to book the cruise. We have used on line agents --shopped for prices --and when we thought we could do no better we booked usually months ahead of time. Is there any truth to the statement that you can save big by waiting to the last minute I feel or fear that the ship will sail without us if we wait ,always the possibility. We are looking into a Med cruise for the summer of 2006 in August there are some respectable deals out there now--should we act or wait???
I think "once upon a time" waiting until the last minute may have been to your advantage. I do not believe that is so anymore. In addition, if you wait until the last minute, you will not have much choice in the ship or your cabin. If you book early and happen to see that your cruise went down in price, sometimes you can get a refund for the difference, depending on the circumstance. So bottom line is: if you can be flexible and do not really care where you may end up on the ship, then I see no problem with waiting to book. But, if you want to have some control, I would book early and get exactly what I want. Hope this helps.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
I've found I do the best by booking in advance. I think the days of the last minute deals are over. When I booked our cruise for April 2005 I booked in June 2005. By the time we sailed the last minute "deals" were still $200/pp higher than what we paid. It also gives us more time to shop for airfare.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
I also agree with the previous posters, if you've found the cruise you want, go ahead and book it now. If for some reason, at a later date you can't go, as long as its before final payment, you can get your deposit back and this way you get a better choice of cabin, etc.
Depends on whether you are tied to a particular date/dates. My husband is retired so we can go whenever. vacationstogo.com has a good list of last minute deals and I think other sites do too. If you can find the price on vacationstogo, it will be listed on other sites too.
In our case, we booked now (August) to go in January so I could keep an eye out for a good airfair over what the cruise line wants to charge me. But I will say that often the airfair charged by the cruiselines is pretty good if it's a last minute deal because at least NCL doesn't change the cost since they have an agreed upon price from the airlines. Which isn't always the best deal and isn't always beatable either.
We booked our Hawaii cruise next month last September (367 days in advance) and by January 05, the ship was sold out. Out of curiosity, a couple of days after final payment was due, I checked to see if any cabins came available from cancellations. Not a one. I also noticed that over the first three months after I booked, my cabin went up by an average of $500. I have to agree with ML - days of the last minute deals are gone. I got an email from CCL last week for some "last minute deals" that were only about $50 less than what the cruise normally books at. If you know what you want, go ahead and book it - ships sell out a lot faster now than they used to.
I agree with everyone above. On my last cruise, I kept checking prices to see if it would go down as the sailing date got closer and it never did. In fact, it went higher. In the end I was glad I booked the cruise when I did because if I had waited until the last minute I would have ended up paying hundreds more than I paid. I don't know if those last minute deals still exist or not, but if they do they are very hard to find.
And if you use a good TA, they will most often call the cruiseline and go to bat for you if the price goes down. This has happened to us several times and when I notice the price dropping, our TA got us the lower rate. If it's after you've paid your final payment, then you will most likely get an onboard credit.
Besides, it's just plan FUN to get excited that far in advance!
Dec 2006 - Carnival Fantasy All Girls Cruise for my 50th birthday!
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
Prices will go down during hurricane season, especially if it's an active one. That's why swscruiser got a good deal on the Horizon to Bermuda. I've seen some prices go down for a week, but then the price really jumps up after that. Supply and demand.
I have always saved money by booking early. I'm already booked for 2006 and 2007. My April 2006 Panama Canal cruise is sold out. I booked it last October on another cruise and not only got a great price, but a $200 shipboard credit. If I can't take book on the ship because the schedule is not out, just ask for a shipboard credit voucher and you can then use when the schedule comes out.
I was even able to get a Celebrity voucher for a shipboard credit on a RCL cruise not only for myself but for another couple who was going to cruise with us. Once the schedule came out, I booked it for myself and my other couple with my agent and gave her the vouchers to apply.
I will now see if that cruise goes up in price....I'm pretty sure it will.
WE bookeddirect with NCL got the last OV cabin cat EE on THE JEWEL sails 10 /10/05 they gave me a special price for as a LATITUDE member 2 days after paying final payment an on line agency said if I transfered my booking to them they would give me a $400 per cabin reduction , NCL would not agree to transfer , I have written to CEO & marketing , no reply yet.