How long before the cruise do the prices go down?

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Spring City, Pa
13 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
I am wondering do the prices go down the closer you get to the cruise? We are going to be in Florida for spring break and thought we would wait right before the cruise to book it instead of booking now. Any thoughts or experience on this? Thanks!!
Albany, New York
6,005 Posts
Joined May 2002
Its 50/50, also the longer you wait the changes of getting a good cabin diminishes.
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Originally posted by kelsjoy
I am wondering do the prices go down the closer you get to the cruise? We are going to be in Florida for spring break and thought we would wait right before the cruise to book it instead of booking now. Any thoughts or experience on this? Thanks!!
Another way to ask the same question is "How long before sailing do prices go up?" It depends on how well the spaces are selling -- cruise lines have models which track sales similar to those airlines use. Prices only go down if spaces are not selling well. If you are talking Spring break, what makes you think there won't be others (perhaps thousands of others) thinking the same thing.
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Ontario, Canada
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Joined Oct 2010
Ditto to what the previous poster said, we've cruised over the school's Christmas break twice now and paid more for the cruise we booked 4 months before sailing than the one we booked almost a year before sailing. I find there are good last minute deals during low season, but that's about it. That being said, we're limited in our cabin options as DH needs a balcony, we don't want a suite and the cabin must fit 4 people, which limits our options. If you are two people, not picky as to where you are on the ship, last minute could work.
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I look at it this way. If a cruise line has a last minute sale on some cabins, what's left to pick from? Are they decent accommodations, or are they in locations so bad that no one in their right mind would want them (under the disco, or in the bow where you'd hear the anchor drop in the morning when the ship is docking, etc.)? Of course, if you're not real picky, and happy to save a few bucks just to be on a ship, that's your choice. I'd rather book as far in advance as possible to get what I want, then watch for price drops. Off peak prices tend to be the cheapest, like in the Caribbean during hurricane season. But you run the risk of having rough seas, or a port of call being cancelled. You'll probably have a better chance of seeing a unicorn than finding a last minute sale on a Spring Break cruise.
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Greenville, SC, USA
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It all depends on how the ship is selling. If there are many empty cabins, prices could drop right after final payment. If the ship is sailing well, prices will go up as sailing approaches. Spring break cruises usually sell well. I would not bank on price drops.
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Brooksville FL
3,609 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
OP may have already waited too long to book for Spring Break weeks.
Have a alternate vacation plan in case your cruise choices are sold out or still too much $$$. If you must have a particular cruise, cabin cat., book it now as cruise lines don't wait very long after final ,to offer a great rate if they need to fill out a sailing.
Grass Valley/Carmichael, CA
577 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
These are all good comments. It seems prices change one way or another around the time final payments are due. Is there a way to determine if ships are filling up like the airline agents are able to do?
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John & Karen
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We often book our cruises up to a year in advance and it is not unusual for us to see the prices go up between when we book and when we sail.

There is no predicting when is the best time to get the best price and still have a choice for a cabin that interests you. We aren't willing to take just anything so we book very early, most of the time.
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Cocoa Beach Florida
44 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
Most agents have to return their blocks at the 90 day mark.

After that they may go down further in price about every 30 days, but you have little to chose.

You can always book a guarantee.

A guarantee is the losest price without being able to chose your cabin.
The Big Tomato; i.e. Sacramento CA
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[quote=B&Z's Mom;32342302]... we're limited in our cabin options as DH needs a balcony,

As I need a handicapped accessible cabin, I can't expect to be able to book a cabin right before a cruise leaves. I have to book at least a year in advance if I'm expecting an accessible cabin. Sometimes a year in advance isn't enough. Last November I attempted to get an accessible cabin for a Caribbean cruise next January, with no luck. I took a regular cabin in anticipation of getting an accessible one when final pymt is due and hopefully some people cancel.
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Maple Ridge, B.C. Canada
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IF the ship is not filling the price may go down, but if it is nearly full then the price will go up. It all depends on the supply and demand. 90 to 30 days day before the cruise is when most bigger drops occur if they are going to. The cruise lines all have great formulas to plan price changes to their best advantage.
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The price scanner on my cruise keeps alerting me to sell outs and price increases. Five months to it sails.

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Every cruise can be different, but if it is a cruise at a popular time, such as spring break, there will probably be no price drops. Even if a cabin isn't sold a week out, they still list the same price and they generally sail full.

We've gotten the best prices for cruises booked a year in advance, then wait for price drops before final payment. We've ended up getting a jr. suite for less than a D category for our Med cruise a couple years ago. We once paid less for a jr. suite than a standard inside on the lowest deck on a Christmas cruise.

Another time we were chatting with a few people who couldn't believe their great bargain on last minute cabins, they all had ocean views. We kept our mouths shut because we had paid a couple hundred less for a balcony cabin. The price dropped about 60 days prior to the cruise, then went back up a couple weeks later...but still listed as "sale" pricing.

Our next cruise in April did go down, I was watching it for a while, we booked in November. The price dropped for a couple weeks, for new bookings only (about $80), then went back up after final payment was due, to more than what we paid.

That's not to say a big discount doesn't happen at times, it does, but generally off season.
3,534 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by kelsjoy
I am wondering do the prices go down the closer you get to the cruise? We are going to be in Florida for spring break and thought we would wait right before the cruise to book it instead of booking now. Any thoughts or experience on this? Thanks!!
Which port are you hoping to sail from? We have ports in Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Port Canaveral and I find there is a difference in price at the different ports. I normally book a year or more in advance, but I want to be able to select my room. Check for price drops Wednesday mornings and be certain to monitor 55+, military, state discounts. Many times price drops are posted on roll calls and then everyone who is posting quickly requests the price drop. Most of the previous information is good advice.
Happy cruising.
flushing, ny
6,166 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
The best way to get cheap cruises is to sail off season. That is the time when price drops are most likely.
There are many school teachers in my family that I am envious of them with all the holidays and vacations they get. That is, until they book travel. Then when I see the prices they have to pay, I am glad that I can travel off peak.
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New Cumberland,PA, USA
28,019 Posts
Joined May 2000
Last minute price drops, when they happen, will normally occur just inside the final payment period for booked passengers. The actual timing of this varies among cruise lines but is usually somewhere between 60 and 90 days prior to a cruise. The problem for cruise lines is that if they announce lower fares prior to the final payment period many passengers who are already booked want the reduction. You also need to watch for various promotions in lieu of lower fares. Things like pre-paid gratutities, on board credits, free or reduced air, etc are quite common.

Spring Break is a popular time for cruising so great last minute deals are not very common. The OP does not mention their age, but they need to keep in mind that there are also minimum age requirements for booking with some cruise lines which can often prevent groups of college students booking cruises.