The outlook for the cruise industry as far as booking & occupancy rates are very dismal according to research reports recently released on the cruise line industry and specific cruise line companies.
It may be a good time to book now with a modest or minimum down payment for the cruise. As long as the cruise is NOT paid in full, and there are further price reductions, you will get the price reductions. This has recently happened to our NCL Star Panama Canal cruise that we booked about 4 months ago. Our cruise has been reduced several times by about $1000 each since we first booked. Mary watches the prices carefully and when a reduction comes about, she calls our NCL CC (Cruise Consultant) and he is quick to make the adjustments downward.
There is no doubt that both the USA and European economies are in dire straights and the cruise line companies are suffering greatly. If you don't believe me, just look at the stock prices of the 2 major cruise line companies.
There are some great cruise values, but the values may get even better. The cruise line companies, need to fill the ships. They will adjust prices downward to attract cruisers.
Sometimes you are entitled to lower rates, sometimes not. NCL is one of the few that will not lower rates, their reasoning is they do not increase rates if the price goes up. Sometimes, if it is far enough out, you can cancel your booking and book again. Sometimes, they will bump you up in catagory and sometimes they will do nothing. If you book early, you do run the risk that the fares will go down. If you book late, you run the risk of not getting the cabin or catagory you want. It's totally up to you on what you select to do.