If you look in the weekend papers you will see a whole host of cruise holiday offers. However, these so called “cruise deals” are not always all they’re cracked up to be. On the face of it they may appear to offer good value, but certainly in the luxury market these cruise deals are only useful if you have complete flexibility over when and where you are willing to travel. So, for some who have no commitments and simply want to get away, then waiting until the last minute to take advantage of cruise holiday offers is definitely something to consider.
However, for everyone else, the best way to save money is by booking in advance. Recent months have seen the launch of many of the luxury cruise line 2018 programmes. Certainly at the top end of the market it pays to book early. Luxury cruise lines’ pricing strategy is to start low and as the ships fill, either raise their prices or remove some of the added value attached to the cruise fare, be it complimentary flights, free Business Class upgrades, or onboard spending money. This way they are not penalising those guests who wish to book early. This is a win, win as the cruise line is able to get commitment and payment in advance and the guest gets the best value for money.
Along with prices rising as the ships fill, many cruise lines offer additional early booking discounts for those booking with a specified time of the programme going on sale. This can be a percentage off of the cruise fare, or for instance a time limited offer on savings if you book a combination cruise.
Some of the cruise lines offering luxury cruises in 2018 are now giving price promises which mean that if they do reduce their rates before departure, they will honour this new price to existing guests. As cruise ships are very sociable places, people talk…a lot. One topic of conversation that the cruise lines don’t wish guests to have is how much they paid for their voyage. If everyone has paid the same amount, then everyone is happy. And happy cruisers will cruise again.
What needs to be remembered is that cruise deals come down to basic supply and demand. Often these great cruise deals are on voyages that are unpopular because the itineraries aren’t great, be it because of a forced itinerary change or due to the voyage being a repositioning cruise, for example from the Mediterranean to the Baltic.
Booking in advance also means you have a better chance of getting on the exact voyage that you want. Certain destinations are best seen at a specific time (such as Antarctica). In these instances, cruises can be sold out over a year in advance. Therefore it is not just about the money, but getting the itinerary, ship and accommodation that you want. So, more often than not to get the best cruise holiday offers are those booked when the cruise goes on sale.