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Best Moments to Book a Cruise

Posted: 5/2/2024

Author: Amelie de Moreau

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Having read my article on the benefits of cruises or family cruises, are you now wondering when is the best time to book a cruise? Let me share my experience with you and unveil the golden rules to benefit from the best promotions and deals to book your cruise at the best price! Join me for a cruise through the intricacies of cruise companies' algorithms and calculations!

Rule #1: Book as Early as Possible

Once you've defined your ideal itinerary or chosen the ship of your dreams, it's time to book your cruise! Generally, cruise companies release their itineraries up to two years in advance, and the rates offered at this stage are often the most advantageous. Unlike hotels, once a ship is fully booked, it's impossible to find an alternative with the same itinerary at the same time. So, if you've spotted your dream cruise, don't hesitate to book! Moreover, you often benefit from Early Booking conditions with discounts of up to 50% or additional onboard credits. Finally, the earlier you book, the more choices you'll have regarding cabins and their locations on the ship!

A simple rule generally applies to cruises: as the ship fills up, prices tend to increase. The success of a specific ship or itinerary encourages companies to maintain their rates, or even raise them.

Regarding payment terms, most companies require a deposit at the time of booking, followed by payment of the final balance 60 days before departure (this policy may vary depending on the companies and the duration of the cruise - please contact us for more information).

To reassure travelers about potential political, meteorological, or other issues in a region, it's important to know that a ship can easily modify its itinerary.

For example, I had booked a cruise in the Caribbean with a stop in Haiti, but due to political unrest in the country, the stop was replaced by a visit to Nassau in the Bahamas. Similarly, following events in Israel in early October 2023, the stops were changed to safer destinations such as Malta, Rhodes, or Heraklion. In summary, rest assured that your safety and comfort are always a priority for cruise companies.

Rule #2: 60 Days Before Departure

As mentioned earlier, the balance of your trip must be paid 60 days before departure. It's also at this time that some passengers may cancel their reservation, freeing up cabins that will be put back on sale. At this stage, the company has a precise view of the number of available cabins.

This deadline is a double-edged sword: if few passengers cancel, the success of the cruise is confirmed, which can lead companies to maintain their prices. However, if a large number of cabins are put back into circulation or if there are still many cabins available, you can save money!

It's important to note that in the latter case, the full balance of the cruise must be paid in one lump sum, without the possibility of installment payments.

Rule #3: Last Minute

With the advent of the pandemic, the concept of the last minute is no longer as appealing as it once was. Indeed, the health crisis has strengthened the desire to travel for many people, making it increasingly difficult to find good deals at the last minute. Although it's still possible to find interesting opportunities on some cruises with moderate occupancy rates, it's often the flights that may pose a problem. I've already noticed that the cost of flights sometimes exceeds that of the cruise itself. In such cases, solutions can be considered, but it requires a certain flexibility regarding departure or return dates and departure airports.

Furthermore, the options available in terms of location, cabin type, and their position on the ship will be very limited.

However, it's still possible to find real bargains, provided you're flexible about the choice of ship and itinerary. Some companies prefer to sell off the last available cabins rather than sail with empty cabins. The best opportunities usually arise outside of school holiday periods or for longer or more distant destinations.

Rule #4: Periods Offering the Best Deals

The most crucial booking period, often referred to as the "wave period," typically extends from January to March. During this time, you can enjoy numerous enticing advantages, such as free flights, discounts of up to 50%, or even extra onboard credit. This period is well-known to travel agents, and it's usually when we're most in demand. I highly recommend following my social media channels (Facebook and Instagram) and subscribing to my newsletter to benefit from the best prices. However, due to our commitment to providing personalized service and catering to the specific needs of each client, you may have to wait a few hours to receive a response from us during this period. Rest assured that all inquiries are handled with the utmost care, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

Additionally, Black Friday is a period that can offer numerous promotions and incredible deals! However, it's not uncommon for companies to slightly increase prices before this period only to reduce them afterward, using the pretext of Black Friday to offer interesting promotions (note that it's not just the tourism industry that does this during Black Friday). Nevertheless, it will still be possible to find excellent deals during this time!

Finally, summer is generally a quieter period, and companies often offer very enticing promotions for trips the following winter!

Rule #5: Repositioning Cruises, the Smart Choice?

Repositioning cruises are the annual migrations that ships make to move from summer in the Mediterranean to winter in the Caribbean, or when a ship simply changes its departure port. These cruises often take place in the fall and spring.

Often, these cruises offer fewer stops, are generally longer, and therefore less popular. Due to their low demand, these cruises are often sold at very attractive prices because the ship needs to travel to a specific location, whether it's fully booked or not!

However, even though the price is often attractive, you should consider that your departure port will not be the same as your arrival port, which can incur additional costs for flights.

If you absolutely want to explore a new ship, enjoy a quieter itinerary, or simply avoid crowds, these cruises represent an ideal opportunity to save money while experiencing a unique travel experience!


In conclusion, if you absolutely want to board a brand-new ship, I recommend booking when reservations open (usually 1 or 2 years in advance) because prices typically increase as the inaugural cruise approaches. New ships are often highly sought after by customers, and the fill rate only increases, along with prices!

If you're a large group, family, or have your heart set on a specific company, ship, or itinerary, it's best to book when you've made your decision. This way, you'll have the best choice of cabins (connecting cabins are always more challenging to find).

If you're unsure, you can always wait until 60 days before departure, but keep in mind that you'll need to pay the full balance of your cruise, and not all cabins will be available, or you may need to be flexible with your departure dates. Additionally, you may not get the best conditions.

If you're considering a cruise for your next adventure, don't hesitate to contact us at:, or via the following form or by phone at 020 4576 2793 to help you plan an unforgettable journey.

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