This question was answered on our Q & A Wednesday show on June 7, 2017.
There are many variables to consider about the best time to book your cruise. Generally, there are 3 key times that you should try to focus on.
Typically, the best cruise pricing and promotions are offered during Wave Season which takes place during the first 3 months of each year. Cruise Lines count on a large percentage of their annual bookings to be done during this period to fill their ships. Offers will change throughout Wave Season and history shows that the cruise line’s best offers are available immediately following the New Year.
Contrary to popular belief, you have a better chance of getting the best price when you book early, not last minute. Additionally, booking early gives you the pick of the best stateroom categories and locations. Early booking means at least 6 months in advance. If you book when the cruise lines open future itineraries, especially for high-demand sailings and ships, you will almost guarantee the lowest fare. An important point to mention, is that most cruise lines will allow you to re-fare your cruise if the price drops before final payment, so you have nothing to lose.
Almost all cruise lines now offer the ability to book cruises onboard. The direct benefits do vary by cruise line, but generally, you will be able to take advantage of any current offers in the marketplace, so combing this with any of the other two booking windows I mentioned earlier can amount to one fantastic deal. Also, onboard bookings generally receive reduced deposits, onboard credits or other incentives.