A study by Cruisewatch.com has found that booking the right cruise destination at the right time can realistically save travelers up to 71% off their chosen cruise.
The site’s massive study examined 18,983 sailings by region with departures in 2017, and found a surprising trend: as the date of departure approaches, cruise prices fluctuate to a greater extent. Some regions even show up to a 71% price reduction on fares. However, there are huge differences between destinations to keep in mind.
Short-Term Cruise Planning Can Really Pay Off
Analyzing more than 1.8 million data points, the study found many of the world’s 15 cruise regions show the highest maximum price reduction between 75 and 55 days before departure. These include North America (71%), the Middle East (64%), South America (56%), and Southern Europe (59%).
In fact, if cruisers are flexible with their cabin choices, they could save significant amounts of money simply by booking their cruise last minute. Spontaneous travelers could save up to 61% on Hawaiian cruises, for instance, by booking within 3 weeks of the departure date, a Cruisewatch executive noted.
Hawaii and Mexico are the best regions for this option. The best time to book Hawaiian cruises is 21 days before departure, and Mexican cruises can offer up to 46% off within 32 days prior to departure.
When to Book Caribbean Cruises for the Best Price
The Caribbean is America’s favorite cruise region, and this popular playground boasts maximum price reductions of 51% off when booked around 59 days before departure. Furthermore, the trend extends to the nearby region of Bermuda, where maximum price reductions of 46% off happen exactly 51 days before cruises set sail. This means that cruise enthusiasts looking for a dose of Vitamin D can save around half off their trip by booking at the right time.
Choosing the Right Cruise Locations for Long-Term Planning
According to Cruisewatch, some regions maintain fairly consistent pricing.
Such regions as Australia (35%), the South Sea (27%), and Alaska (19%) are good choices. These regions see relatively small price fluctuations, and they tend to happen 85 days before departure.
However, some regions still offer fair price reductions and more planning time. These include:
- Northern Europe (45% off 70 days pre-departure),
- Galapagos cruises (39% off 79 days pre-departure),
- Asia (38% off 84 days pre-departure), and
- Transatlantic or Transpacific cruises (41% off 73 days pre-departure).
While these regions may not offer as extreme price drops as Hawaii or the Caribbean, knowing when to take a cruise to these locations can still save consumers a significant amount of money.