Do Prices of Cruises Go Down as the Departure Date Gets Closer?

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If you’ve ever tried to book an airline flight or a hotel a few days before your trip, you may notice that you’re paying a premium for not planning ahead. Likewise, in spite of the popular belief that you can save money by waiting until the last minute to book a cruise, these companies follow the same philosophy as hotels and airlines.

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Think about it — if they drop fares just to fill empty rooms or seats, everyone would wait until the last minute to book.

That’s why, according to the experts at, you probably won’t save money by waiting until the last minute to book your cruise. In addition, waiting until the last minute can add undue stress to your vacation, and you may not get the room you desire on the ship you prefer.

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However, the folks at Royal Caribbean Group note that you may be able to find a deal within 90 days of the ship’s departure, but you probably won’t get the best room. Additionally, there may be deals to be found if you are willing to leave on a Monday or book during an off-season for your cruising location.

What is the best way to get a cheap cruise? recommends booking as far in advance as possible, that way you can get your choice of room. You can start scoping out prices as far as a year or more in advance of your trip and purchase while the price is low, but it’s early enough that your choice of cabin is still available.

It’s also smart to use a travel rewards credit card with purchase price protection, such as the Capital One Venture card when you book through the Capital One Travel portal. With Capital One Travel’s price drop protection, if the price of your cruise decreases, you’ll receive a refund of the difference as a statement credit.

Another factor affecting cruise prices is the timing of your cruise. Booking in January, February, September, October, or November (up to Thanksgiving weekend) can often yield lower fares because schools are in session.

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Prices often go up during the summer, as well as during spring break and the winter holidays.

As with booking any travel, there is no way to guess whether cruise prices will rise or fall at any given time. Monitoring prices closely before you book, using a travel rewards credit card to defray costs, and making sure your credit card has price drop protection are some ways to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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