Sure, you may be able to get a great price on a last-minute booking. But will you get the cruise you’ve always dreamed of? There may be only a few cabins left—and they may not include the balcony suite you’ve had your heart set on.
Here’s how to plan a cruise to ensure you get your choice of room and other amenities: Book as early as possible—ideally, as soon as an itinerary is announced, about 18 to 24 months ahead of the cruise. In addition to getting your pick of staterooms, you may also be rewarded with early booking incentives, like free or discounted airfare, onboard credits and prepaid gratuities.
3. Bring your squad
Get as many people as you can to go on the cruise with you and you could reap the benefits of group travel. Like buying in bulk, traveling with your crew can often score special pricing and extra amenities for your party. If your group is large enough, you could even earn a free cabin.
4. Sail off-season
A destination’s peak season is the time everyone wants to go, usually when the weather is nicest and kids are out of school. But high demand can mean big crowds and heftier prices. Instead, consider off-peak months. That could mean May or September in Alaska (the beginning and end of the state’s cruising season), when temperatures are cooler but crowds are smaller.
In the Caribbean, late summer and fall bring lower prices. If you’re concerned about storms, look for cruises that include southern Caribbean islands or Bermuda, which are typically less affected by hurricanes, and buy travel insurance.