Internet Travel Monitor - Marketing, Research & Tech

April 26, 2017

Should You Book Your Cruise Early or Wait to Get the Best Cruise Deal?

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In-depth research from, an innovative cruise search engine, found that the discount period starts 100 days before departure. BUT: For some cruise lines, you need to be an early bird to get the best cruise deals.

According to this comprehensive study, there are many factors at play when it comes to price. The cruise line, the actual cruise, and the time you book. During 2016, analyzed 3,000 cruises on a cabin level. And focused especially on how many days before departure the best prices could be found.

The results of the study, with over 4,000,000 data points, gives a pretty clear view of pricing strategies of the cruise lines and a strong indication of when to book to get the best deals.

For 56% of cruises, booking within 100 days of departure brought the best prices. For 19%, booking early was the best option. Only 25% of cruises were found to have their best price between these two times.

Nina Stumpe, a cruise enthusiast and co-founder of gives some valuable tips...

"It is worth knowing which cruise lines offer better value if you book shortly before departure. Sign up for deals and price alerts. Then you'll know immediately when deals have been released."

"However, if you have your heart set on a particular cruise and a certain type of cabin then it's best to book early. Only book late if you are prepared to be flexible. Once you have booked, it's wise to still keep an eye on the prices. Keep checking them. If they fall after you've booked, many cruise lines will offer you the difference in on-board credit if you contact them."

Book Carnival in advance for best cruise deals. Book Windstar and Holland America later

There are surprisingly big differences between the pricing strategies of the different cruise lines. Crystal Cruises and Disney are almost never at their cheapest during the last 100 days before departure.

However, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity all usually have their best deals within the last 100 days.

Some companies offer their best prices just 50 days before departure. If your nerves can take it, you can get some great deals. These companies include Costa, Norwegian, Holland America and Windstar.

Finally, there are the companies that offer the best prices somewhere in the middle of these time frames. These include Crystal Cruises, MSC, Seadream and Oceania.

"Transparent prices are key to booking the best rates. We offer our customers free automatic notifications of price changes and re-available cabin types. We also provide an overview of the historical price development per ship and cabin type," says Nina Stumpe.

Next generation cruise search with offers consumers free price drop monitoring. The website processes massive amounts of data using intuitive software to help consumers find the perfect cruise at the best price. Users can choose to receive automatic alerts when prices are reduced or when good deals are on the horizon.

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