You would think after doing this job for 28 years I would know the answer to this well I still don’t !!!
It is an interesting question and very controversial, I’m sure you will get differing opinions. I have seen massive changes over the years and I have never known 5 seasons to be on sale at one time like we have now. We have cruises on sale up to Summer of 2021 and the cruise companies certainly seem to be launching their seasons earlier and earlier each year.P&O and Cunard are soon to launch their Summer 2021 programme and they do encourage new to cruise and past passengers to book early with a discount incentive.
When I check for the availability for next summer it already amazes me at how booked up some of the larger ships out there are, where are all these people coming from filling these ever-growing ships ?? The market is definitely booking up earlier than ever.
Unless you have absolutely no ties or date restrictions or want a specific grade of cabin i.e balcony cabins,midship cabins or 3 and 4 berth cabins, I definitely would not be leaving anything until the very last minute or you may be very disappointed this isn’t even down to price this is just availability.Plus if a cruise you are thinking about involves flights the cost of these tends to increase nearer to the date.River Cruises and Luxury liners also have reduced numbers of cabins to the Ocean liners so never a good idea to leave these as they do book up early.
You can great some extra discounts also by booking your cruise whilst on board a cruise and the booking comes right back to us your agents. The deals you tend to get are extra money off , On board credit etc but what a great time to book when you are already experiencing exactly what you want or may want.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that we as cruise consultants can offer you a better price than going direct to to the cruise line. We usually get the same base price but we can offer an incentive to book with us.
I believe the best time to book is when you get that feeling that you have got a great deal !! That may be a great deal to you as you have a drinks package included but may not be to others so you have to understand the value of the offer and I can help you with that.
The cruise market is definitely booking earlier so my advise would be don’t leave it late.