I know that sounds a bit like a Shakespeare quote, but it’s a very common question that we get asked a lot. Is it best to book your cruise in advance or wait until the last minute?
Recently we returned from the Allure of the Seas. During that cruise I attended the past passenger party. At the party a passenger took to the stage and spoke about all his cruises and how he books them. He had some very interesting comments that I wanted to share with you. This man who has been on over 100 cruises in the past 5 years did a spreadsheet to track the benefits, if any, of booking ahead. He generally books all his cruises 2 years in advance, once the schedules become available. He discovered that 70% of the cruises he had booked had increased in price from the time they booked it until the ship had sailed. 15% of the time the prices had remained exactly the same, and the other 15% of the time they had decreased in price. He made the comment that if there was a machine in the casino that consistently paid off 70% of the time he would play it all the time. That’s a very true and smart statement.
He also said that if the price does happen to go down before the final payment date then the travel agent will protect it and adjust the fare to the new lower price. “So how can I lose”, he said. Another very good point made. He also followed up with the fact that by booking 2 years in advance he also gets the best cabin choice available.
The moral of this story is that buying your cruise in advance will give you the best price and location 85% of the time. If you are one of those people who have a very flexible schedule and can go at the last minute (and take advantage of that rare 15% discount) that’s great. Your cabin may not be in a great location, but at least you got a good deal.