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What's the best timing for lowest rates on any NCL Cruise?


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What's the best timing for lowest rates on any NCL Cruise? 90 days out, 60 days out, 30 days out? Not asking for the secret formula but your past experiences. I can travel any time and place since I work from home and can be remote. That leaves me the flexible to book extremely last minute. I get there are too many variables. Cruise capacity, percentage vacancy, open cabins in various classes, etc. I find 30-60 days out from cruise date is a pretty sweet spot on ships with more availability. I also understand that cruises may not be interested in filling 100% of the cabins for various reasons. Curious on what deals you got last minute and how close to sail date you booked.

 

Also, my NCL rep mentioned if I book now and the price drops, they'll give me 25% of the booking in onboard credit or a free cabin upgrade for the difference is available. 25% on board credit is a piss in the bucket. For me the cabin upgrade is a bonus however, I always book the cabin I want in the first place. I guess if you take a chance and book an inside room, a bump to balcony might be nice.

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23 minutes ago, dpavid said:

 For me the cabin upgrade is a bonus however, I always book the cabin I want in the first place. I guess if you take a chance and book an inside room, a bump to balcony might be nice.

I've started booking a reasonable but not necessarily my ideal cabin so I have flexibility to upgrade.  So far I haven't been disappointed.  So I'll book OV for a cruise that is port intensive and then upgrade to balcony if prices drop at 60 days or so.

Many times I will book early to guarantee pricing & promos and then watch the rates, re-booking often if appropriate up until final payment.  From that point on, it's kind of a game - will I get a bid, will prices go up/down, will the cruise sell out.  At that point, supply and demand will determine prices, so there is no magic formula.

Best to just determine your price point and if you get lucky with upgrades or credits so much the better.

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if you live in same city as port and you are ready to move at the last moment best deals are 2-3 days before cruise, no doubt about it. Especially now I read their pricing strategy is outsourced to a private company they try to keep prices higher throughout.

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Sometimes I got good upgrades from a Studio to a Balcony at the 216 hour mark- one time I did it at the 168 hour mark but then found about 150 hours (which was too late to have time for me due to work printing new labels etc) to be the sweet spot.

Sometimes there are last minute deals available.

 

However, the March 15th Bliss here peaked last week at $986 for a bF and then oddly raised and then sold out- it was a reverse curve.

 

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Don't forget to check the international pricing/promos and any TAs that may have packaged.

 

Sometime to protect prices in a market they will dump somewhere else.

 

Eg. we have seen some silly low prices on Princess round britains in the UK as not a lot of UK people do those cruises, US prices stayed high. 

Hoping NCL will do that as well now they are back in the UK.

 

Then you have the package(flight and hotel) through a TA that costs similar to the cruise only from the cruise line. 

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We are cruising march 8. Our trip pricing has been crazier than the stock market. We have a balcony and it dropped 458.00 person  right at 3 weeks before cruise date. It did go down just before the 3 weeks but dropped even more. Stayed at that rate for 2 days then went up a bit. This cruise is not selling it appears. I was offered an upgrade or OBC.

we cruised June 2 and only went down once and it was not a lot. 

My observation for most of my cruises is they have actually gone UP in price just before cruising.

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On 2/24/2020 at 5:35 PM, dpavid said:

What's the best timing for lowest rates on any NCL Cruise? 90 days out, 60 days out, 30 days out? Not asking for the secret formula but your past experiences. I can travel any time and place since I work from home and can be remote. That leaves me the flexible to book extremely last minute. I get there are too many variables. Cruise capacity, percentage vacancy, open cabins in various classes, etc. I find 30-60 days out from cruise date is a pretty sweet spot on ships with more availability. I also understand that cruises may not be interested in filling 100% of the cabins for various reasons. Curious on what deals you got last minute and how close to sail date you booked.

 

Also, my NCL rep mentioned if I book now and the price drops, they'll give me 25% of the booking in onboard credit or a free cabin upgrade for the difference is available. 25% on board credit is a piss in the bucket. For me the cabin upgrade is a bonus however, I always book the cabin I want in the first place. I guess if you take a chance and book an inside room, a bump to balcony might be nice.

We like to book early, frequently soon after a cruise is released.  We always compare NCL with Celebrity, Royal C. and Princess.  Last few cruises NCL has been too expensive, since it never offers booking without perks when you book early.  The other lines allow booking without perks and always have a better deal for us.

Celebrity and Royal have a great loyalty program that includes a fee happy  hour every night (except the first night for Celebrity), so we never book the drink packages.  Also, NCL's prices have seriously gone up for its specialty restaurants, which was one of the few advantages in booking with NCL.

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Thanks for all the replies! We're watching Alaska late May - July. Waiting for a sub $600 on Bliss the last 2 sailing in May and I'll pull the trigger. My guess is 60 days out or less. It's pretty close at $734. Any reason not to wait? At what point do you think this ship will fill up and prices start to rise? My guess is 30 days. These are odd weeks and most families are traveling yet. Trying to beat the summer rush and rates.

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Time your purchase to coincide with a worldwide virus.

Seriously...our May cruise dropped over $1,000 per person last week because apparently people are canceling and now they need to re-fill the ship...assuming they can lure anyone willing to take a chance on the cruise being canceled.

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1 hour ago, schmoopie17 said:

Time your purchase to coincide with a worldwide virus.

Seriously...our May cruise dropped over $1,000 per person last week because apparently people are canceling and now they need to re-fill the ship...assuming they can lure anyone willing to take a chance on the cruise being canceled.

 

This, or right after a particularly bad hurricane season.

 

Morbid but true. 

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I’ve been watching pricing in general for last minute NCL cruises and at least in the NYC area some of the best prices I’ve seen have been 2-5 days before sailing. The price history for many NCL sailings look like this:

 

6C713D55-C121-4682-86E8-16A0265CB2FE.jpeg

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16 hours ago, mdsgu said:

As far in advance as possible!

 

For Alaska sailings, I have seen prices drop within 45 days for sure. I travel solo so I am often looking for past minute deals to reduce overall cost. I have flexibility like the OP mentioned. If I really want a sailing, I watch it daily. Sometimes the price bottoms at 45, sometimes 30, sometimes within 2 weeks or just days. Sometimes it goes back up or gets even higher. Since OP has set timeframe of late May, I would watch it daily from now on and grab it when you see a price that is acceptable to you. Again, that price could be offered for just a day or two then jump back up or get higher or lower. Crazy, right? This is the strategy I use and it has worked for me. Yeah, 25% OBC does not thrill me because losing 75% of my money is sad to me, lol. So. Watching prices daily works better, especially since I can be flexible. Good luck! I actually find price watching fun. Others might be annoyed, lol. I have never NOT seen a price drop on a sailing I want. But, I also recognize that I'm not watching higher tier cabins. I watch inside up to minisuite. Last deal was a balcony with a last minute upgrade to a minisuite due to price drop again. It was sweet! 

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19 hours ago, tomservo said:

I’ve been watching pricing in general for last minute NCL cruises and at least in the NYC area some of the best prices I’ve seen have been 2-5 days before sailing. The price history for many NCL sailings look like this:

 

6C713D55-C121-4682-86E8-16A0265CB2FE.jpeg

for sure, 👍

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If you are happy with an inside gty cabin, you can often get a really low price at the very last minute on NCL (often 10 days or less)  Our last booking was made 5 days out.  Sometimes you can get deals on oV or balcony cabins late, too, but often the great last minute deals are the insides.  Oh, they do want to fill the ships...anybody who said otherwise is being silLy

 

Many people seem pretty worried about traveling right now with the viral scares.  Depending on how things develop prices and availability may be quite open this year if you are willing to travel when others won’t.  

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I'm wondering how consistent the closer-to-last-minute deals are. I'd like to book a short cruise this fall or next spring for a Bachelorette trip, but there a couple girls who have a smaller budget - any opinions on if it would be a good bet to wait until we're a couple months away and look for a deal then to try to get a better price?

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On 2/26/2020 at 10:56 PM, Comi.uy said:

That is totally not true for NCL. Usually the more in advance you book the more expensive it is.

 

I'll reserve judgement on this one.

 

We booked a holiday cruise last summer that leaves Dec 26th this year - over 18 months in advance.  To book the same stateroom today (with the same free perks) would now cost us almost $1700 more.  I'm not convinced it's going down enough to make my choice to reserve early more expensive.

Edited by msmayor
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