It's April so we are joining thousands of other bloggers and are participating in the A-Z challenge. For the A-Z challenge this year our theme is "the A-Z of cruising" where we will provide some hints and knowledge about cruising on the open ocean. Yesterday we discussed the different ways to get to the port. Click here to see that post and catch up
Today is the letter B and our title for the day is "Best time to sail" where we talk about the best times to sail on a cruise ship.
Like much of the travel industry the prices fluctuate based on demand. If you are able to sail off season it will be much cheaper than during school vacation time. In the U.S/Canada the highest prices are during spring break and between late June and early August. It is a little cheaper during early June and mid August but the cheapest times are when the kids are in school. For example a 4 day cruise from Miami to Cozumel and Key West on the Carnival Victory is as low as $189 next January but around $400 during the height of summer. For Alaska cruises it is around $800 in May or September for a 7 day cruise but climbs to $1000-$1200 during June-August. If you are flexible with your dates you can save a lot of money.
Best time to book:
It is best to book as far ahead as possible. If you see a deal you like go ahead and take advantage of it. Usually you only need a deposit to secure your cabin and you can pay the rest off closer to departure date. The cruise lines sometimes put out specials including on board credit or cabin upgrades for certain sailings so that is something you can take advantage of. Many people book between Jan-March so there is often a lot of sales then. If you find a better price for your cabin after booking you can ask the cruise line for the cheaper price so you aren't locked into the price like an airline ticket.
The cruise lines like to sail full so there are occasions where they will put out some great deals close to sailing. If you have open availability and can get to the port easily this can also save you some money. Keep in mind getting airline tickets last minute can be expensive and could wipe out any savings you have on the cabin prices so this is probably best if you can drive to the port.
To Book online or use a travel agent:
A travel agent can be really useful if you don't know exactly what you want and can provide a lot of knowledge and experience about the ships and different cruise lines. If you need assistance in selecting a cruise it may be worth having them do the work for you and worth their fee.
If you are fairly online savvy and are comfortable shopping around for deals then you can easily book online. We have booked online for all of our cruises and found it is just as easy as booking an airline ticket or hotel.
We are taking a break tomorrow from the A-Z challenge but will be back to help discuss one of the most important aspects of your cruise vacation.
When would be your preferred time to sail? Mine would be during the winter so I can escape the cold weather for a few days.