The debate over when the best time is to book your cruise is an on-going one in the cruising community, but instead of continuing that debate in this particular blog post, I’m just going to concentrate on the advantages of booking early.
Location, location, location
When booking early you’ll have more chance of securing accommodation in the area of the ship which suits you best. If you or any of your regular fellow travellers are prone to seasickness, for example, you’d be better off on a lower deck, closer to the middle, where the movement of the ship is at a minimum. Or if you’d like simpler access to the pool and sun-bathing areas commonly found on the top deck of the ship, booking early will give you the chance to book accommodation in a location offering quicker and easier access to the outdoors. Similarly, if you’re a buffet strategist, getting a room near to the restaurant areas may just help you to beat the queues.
Get a room
Booking early gives you more choice when it comes to your suite or stateroom, so you’ll have more chance of booking a room which suits you best. Perhaps you’re travelling as part of a large family and are hoping to bag adjacent or joining family suites, or maybe you need an accessible cabin when you sail? If you’re usually on a budget when you cruise, booking early will give you a much better chance of securing one of the ship’s cheaper staterooms.
The early bird catches the discount
If you commit to booking your cruise early, you’ll be able to take advantage of the early booking discount offering by a lot of lines (and of course, Cruise118!) which can sometimes be as much as 50 per cent off their brochure prices. There are also some good added bonuses on offer, such as free flights, cabin upgrades and free parking which are included in the cost when booking early, so it can work out as excellent value.
If you’re restricted as to what time of the year you can travel, because of work commitments for example, then booking early gives you more chance of finding your ideal cruise. You’ll have more choice of destinations and itineraries and won’t run the risk of missing out. School holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for family cruisers, so if you’re intending to travel during the summer break for example, booking early would certainly be a good idea.
A grand day out
If shore excursions are an important part of your cruise, then by booking early, you’ll be able to ensure that you get to do all the things you want to do. Think about it. You can only book excursions once your cruise is booked, so if you book early there’s more chance of places being available on your favoured excursions, because, as the cruise lines will always point out, availability is never guaranteed.
More time to save up
It’s always good to be able to enjoy your cruise without watching your wallet too much and by booking early, you’ll have more time to save up more of that well-earned holiday spending money.
By Simon Brotherton