Are you looking for the cheapest travel time of the year? If you're like me, you want to take as many cruises as possible and as often as possible. If you're trying to book a cruise during peak season, you could be hit hard on the etiquette.
Some of the best times of the year for sailing are late winter and early fall. There are caveats that come with that, so let's dig in and find out which time of year will save you the most money on a cruise vacation.
Here are some tips for booking a cruise vacation on a budget. And everything is done simply by choosing the right season. Can't beat that, right?
Rule of thumb for cheapest cruise times
While we believe there are never bad times to sail, some weeks of the year tend to be cheaper than others. A good rule of thumb is that prices are likely to be higher on holidays or when the kids are not in school.
Basically, the cheapest times of the year to sail are also the most expensive. Do you want to save money? Go against the grain. Book your vacation while everyone else is at work or school. This will make your vacation photos even cooler when you return to show all your friends how great your cruise was.
What causes prices to change from week to week? Everything is based on supply and demand. While some weeks (particularly around Christmas) are notoriously expensive due to increased demand, the following weeks are generally the cheapest to cruise.
It is worth noting that even if it is one of the weeks listed below, any week can see high prices if a particular candlestick sells well. But if you're asking, "What's the best time to surf?" You are in the right place.
Related: How much would it cost if you took a cruise every week for a year?
Cheapest weeks of the year for cruises
- 2nd week of January to early February- You can usually find great prizes right after the extremely popular season from Christmas to New Years.
- last week of february– Prices tend to be higher during the week of Valentine's Day, who doesn't want a Love Boat cruise? However, prices tend to drop after Valentine's Day through spring break.
- Begginings of may- After the popular spring break weeks, there tends to be a bit of a lull in early May before the kids leave school for the summer. Once Memorial Day is over, prices will go up.
- September after Labor Day- With the kids going back to school and hurricane season in full swing, you can usually find some great prizes from the week after Labor Day through October.
- The first two weeks of December.- Between the popular Thanksgiving and Christmas cruise weeks, the first two weeks of December often fall with cheap prices.
- Check out the top 10 cruise deals
Our recommendation for finding the cheapest travel time? Book in advance and take advantage of discounts that not only ensure the best selection of cabins, but also the best price.
Table with the cheapest cruise weeks
Although this chart is a few years old, not much has changed when it comes to the cheapest time of year to travel. This graph is fromCruise Market Trackingand highlights the average cost of a Royal Caribbean cruise for an inside cabin year-round.
Use this chart as a visual rather than a concrete measure of the costs of specific cruises during these periods. This table is also from 2012, but the general pricing rules for weeks of the year still apply today.
Watch out for price spikes during the busy Christmas period in December, followed by a sharp price drop in early January. This chart is a great way to quickly see the cheapest cruise months.
There are some increases in cruise prices before spring as people prepare for spring break. However, these prices are still lower than the spectacular increase during the peak cruise season in June and July.
My Favorite Time to Book Caribbean Cruises
I love booking cruises in September because it's usually still warm and you can find great value deals. Even with the threat of sailing during hurricane season, all is well if you are flexible. Your ship may have to change routes due to an approaching storm, but bring your spirit of adventure and you'll still be glad you got a good deal.
The best time for a cruise in Hawaii
The same rule applies to cruises to and around Hawaii. Book during the slowest time, usually November through February, and you'll save the most money. This is also the rainy season for Hawaii, so expect some showers on your trip. During holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, you will see prices increase due to some travelers wanting to book their vacations out of order.
Some like to sail in Hawaii between December and April because that is when humpback whales can be seen in these waters.
Between mid-April and mid-June, there is often a lull in travelers to Hawaii, so cruise costs can drop a bit even during these times.
The best time to sail in Alaska
Keep in mind that Alaska cruises have a relatively short window of time. The cheapest cruises to Alaska usually take place at the beginning of the cruise season (May) and at the end of the season (September).
These times are also more prone to inclement weather and some tours or ports may be cancelled. So to save a few bucks requires some flexibility.
The cheapest cruise to Mexico
The best times for a Mexico cruise are very similar to those for a Caribbean cruise. The Christmas and Easter holidays can be particularly busy for travelers to Mexico, and costs reflect this, as cruise costs and airfares are higher.
Late July through November may be one of the best times to book a cruise to Mexico in terms of price. But also keep in mind that the end of the summer will also be unbearably hot in this country and the hurricane season is in full swing.
If the cost of a cruise is more important than the ideal temperature and weather implications, go ahead.
In our article on7 tips to get the best deal on a cruiseDid we mention that off-season cruises are one of the best ways to stay on budget? Use the information above to find the best time to sail in the Bahamas or the Caribbean in general.
Which cruise lines offer the cheapest fares?
Would you like to spend as little as possible on a cruise? Some of the most popular cruise lines that offer great cruise deals are Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean, with Royal Caribbean at the higher end of this spectrum but offering excellent value for money.
MSC Cruises often offers impressive deals as they are still trying to break into the market.
For the absolute lowest price on a short 2-day cruise, the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line price is hard to beat at just $129 per person. You can read about our first experience with itcruise line here.
What's the best deal you've ever gotten on an off-season cruise? Let us know and let's do a happy dance together. Does this post inspire you to get a great deal on a cruise? If so, we've done our job!
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