When to Put Down that Deposit on Your Next Cruise
The best cruise prices come when you book in advance! This is especially true when you book 12 to 24 months in advance. I recently sat down with a business development manager of a huge cruise line, which I am not going to name, but our agency does sell their cruises. We talked about the newest promotions coming out and I told her that I felt like her company always had promotions going on and I asked if they were finding a decrease in overall cruise sales. She informed me that their sales have been better than ever because of their promotions. She explained that many years ago, the business model for cruise lines was to have “fire sales” close to departure dates to fill cabins. You would be able to get the best deals IF you waited until the last minute.
That was a big risk for cruise lines because if people couldn’t take last minute vacations, those cabins would remain unfilled. About two years ago, a new CEO came into the company and wanted to get rid of the “fire sales.” Instead, they wanted to put into place the “incentive” for people to book early. The earlier they book, the more they save because every so many months, we are going to increase the pricing slightly.
Not only will they increase the pricing slightly, but they will put out promotions that are combinable with each other. For example, if you wanted to take an Alaskan Cruise with a cruise tour, you can take advantage of the buy one get one 50% off on the cruise and the $250 off the cruise tour portion. If there is a flash sale of an onboard credit or beverage package, you can stack promotions on top of each other. The best part is that if you put down a deposit 12 to 18 months prior to the cruise departure date, you are getting the better value for your cruise than the person who booked last minute.
This all sounds good and made sense to me, but I really wanted to see the numbers for myself. I pulled a couple of reservations that our agency made last year and the clients were sailing this year. I looked at the promotions they were under and the current promotions available. When I recreated their bookings, the clients would be paying at least a $100/person more if they booked this month compared to what they booked last year! That is if their cabin category was still available. One group we had booked, that entire cabin category was sold out. It was good that they booked the cabins they wanted when they did!
If you are thinking about taking a cruise next year, especially if it is an Alaskan cruise, I would recommend that you call our agency today. We can help you determine which itinerary will be best for you, and make sure that you get the cabin category you want. Most deposits for cruise lines are fully refundable up until 90 days prior to departure for a 7-night cruise, so put down the deposit just to secure your space.
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