My wife are mid-50s and have cruised over 20 times and we still dicker over when is the best time to book a cruise. We know prices are set by a computer model that looks at a forecast and bookings to date. But from a practical senses, I would be interested to know from you feel you got your best deals booking early or at the last minute. Thanks!
I always book about 10-12 months out. The prices are low then and begin to go up and then go back down last minute. We travel with kids and book a balcony room for us but like to have a quad directly across the hall for the kids. Because of needing rooms across the hall from each other I like to book early.
Carnival Freedom June 2009
Crown Princess March 2009
Carnival Glory January 2008
Naviagator of the Seas Mar 07
Sovereign of Seas Oct 06
Carnival Glory March 2005
Nordic Empress 1996
I don't think there is a "best time to book". It all depends on your flexibility. If you are totally flexible (e.g. because you are retired), you will probably catch some excellent last-minute deals.
However, the downside is that in that case you must "take what's left", and it will probably not be possible for you to pick a particular cabin.
When booking far in advance, you can choose the cabin of your choice, and - as many ships sail sold out these days - also the ship of your choice. And it might be possible that booking early is less than booking late.
I agree with previous poster. My husband and I booked 4 weeks in advance for our next cruise leaving September 30th only because it was a last minute plan to travel. We saved a ton of money for guaranteed room. However, the guaranteed rooms do not allow you to choose a room - you have to take what they have. Often, I hear, if space permits they will book you into the highest price catetegory. But you still don't have the flexibility to choose your own room which is important to me. It would have been at least $400 more to book a specific room.
Just an update. We just got our cabin assignment for our guaranteed room and we were upgraded 6 categories to a PERFECT inside room, smack dab in the middle of the ship. Deck 9 with neighbors only on one side and nothing above or below us to keep us awake at night. I couldn't be happier
Two weeks ago we booked the Splendour Cruise starting november 12th in Barcelona.
We prefer booking 2-3 months ahead, or even later. We have no preferences in the cabin and prefer guarantee cabins. Thats the best price for us.
Now on the Splendour were getting a cabin on deck 7. Last year on the Jewel we got an upgrade from inside to outside and got a handicapt cabin, very large, but the closets have been a little bit to small, because they are constructed different than normal closets.