Imagine finally being able to book the cruise of your dreams for more than half off the original cost! In a recent study we (at Cruisewatch) - a next-generation cruise advisor based on artificial intelligence - have determined that prices for cruise sailings are greatly reduced on average five weeks before setting sail. However, there are significant differences between the major cruise lines regarding timing and discounts.
Be selective in when you book your cruise
As experienced cruisers ourselves, we know that cruise lines try as best as possible to optimize their prices and secure long-term bookings from customers. Even so, what usually happens is that they end up with a good number of unsold cabins close to the sailing date. In order to fill all those empty cabins, they often start reducing prices closer to departure, which means that you can benefit from huge discounts if you're willing to hold off on an early booking. These savings are pushed even further by additional ships entering the cruise market.
“Determining the right moment to book a cruise on one's preferred cruise line is the most crucial factor to save money,'' says Markus Stumpe, our CEO and co-founder. Based on extensive research, which took into consideration more than 25,000 cruise sailings departing in 2018, the highest discounts for major cruise lines can be found within 70 days prior to departure, with discounts up to 59% percent.
When to get the best discounts by cruise line
Not all cruise lines are the same - at the most basic level, choosing a cruise line should be dependent on aligning it with your personality, desired cruise experience and destinations, as well as your budget. Cruise price discounts for the major cruise lines can range from 22% up to as much as 59%.
The cruise lines with the highest discounts include:
- Holland America Line, 59%
- Norwegian Cruise Line, 55%
- Princess Cruises, 55%
- Azamara Club Cruises, 54%
- Cunard, 52%
- Celebrity Cruises, 46%
The club of below-40% reduction includes:
- Royal Caribbean Cruises, 36%
- Costa Cruise Line, 31%
- Carnival Cruise Line, 25%
- Disney Cruise Line, 24%
- MSC Cruises, 22%
Essentially, you should always book short-term to get these kinds of discounts, especially when you can get hot deals in the last 10 days before departure (like with Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises).
Discounts are specific to cabin type
We went even further to analyze the discounts offered per cabin type for each cruise line in the study. What we found was that interior cabins feature the highest discounts closer to departure, followed by oceanview and balcony cabins. Suites receive the lowest discounts of all cabin types. If you're unsure about which cabin type is best for you, we created a guide to help you decide how to choose the right cruise ship cabin.
“What remains true year after year is that it pays to be a little flexible, especially regarding cabin type or cruise ship, unless you are looking for a specific cruise itinerary,” explains cruise enthusiast Markus Stumpe.
Why should you sign up?
At Cruisewatch.com, we help you find the perfect time to book a cruise for the best price, through a free price drop monitoring system that utilizes big data and machine learning. Enjoy our cruise price prediction tool for accurate advice - book now or wait (because a price drop is expected). Even better, sign up and you can get notified automatically when prices are reduced or when good deals are coming up with our 100% free cruise price alerts. Keeping true to our mission: right time. right cruise. right price, we are committed to “levelling the playing field and offering consumers up-to-date technology to make the right decisions”.