It’s a question that we all ask before handing over our credit card details: Are we getting the best deal?
Should I have booked earlier? Should I wait? Is now the right time to book my cruise?
Cruisewatch, an American based price monitoring website, has just revealed its latest report, which details when in 2018, was the best time to book your cruise for maximum savings.
And it turns out that the biggest discounts of up to 59 per cent are found within 70 days prior to departure for major cruise lines.
In the US, cruisers were finding that they were getting more than half the cost off sailings on Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises when booking within a week before sailing.
Meanwhile the best deals on lines like Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Azamara Club Cruises are found eight to 10-weeks out.
The prices of the American cruise market are known to be much more competitive than the Australian market. But Gareth Evison, Product & Offline Marketing Manager at Cruise1st says that there are similarities.
“If you don’t care when you travel, where you travel to and there are no flights involved you can often get a better deal closer to departure,” says Mr Evison.
He also adds that the lines that offer the biggest discounts are “very similar to the report”.
Cruisers are less like to see big discounts on lines like Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Cruise line which have prices that are “good from day one”.
Bargain hunters should look out for lines like Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises as they often have higher launch fares that gets reduced later.
It is however less straightforward for fly-cruisers to catch a bargain, as it requires cruise sales to marry up with air offers. Getting these deals could mean keeping an eye out for up to 11 months out and when it happens, it often runs for a very short period.
“Although the cruise lines may discount last minute, flight prices are always higher… so no matter when you book prices should remain fairly steady,” says Mr Evison.
“If you are looking for the best deals for international packages my advice is to sign up to the cruise agencies newsletters as you never know when a cruise line and a airline release deals at the same time.”
“This could be 11 months out, nine months out or six months out but when they do and everything lines up you can often get an incredible deal. This to me is the best time to book.”
Mr Evison also highlights a few exceptions where it wouldn’t be wise to hold out for a bargain.
“If you are wanting to go during school holidays you have to book early or you simply wont get a deal. There also aren’t many three or four berth cabins. If you are a family or large party again book early to save disappointment,” says Mr Evison.