Holidaymakers have been given advice on the best times of the year to book cruises and other forms of travel.
Experts at the luxury cruise retailer Panache Cruises have named the booking sweet spots when globetrotters can find the best deals for their holidays.
The best time to book a holiday is generally as far in advance as possible, for example in the first few months of the year if it’s a summer vacation.
Cruise lines announce itineraries 18 months or more in advance, so the best cruising deals can often be found by planning a trip well ahead.
Planning your cruise holiday early is especially important if you have specialist needs in terms of the type of cabin or stateroom.
There are usually only a very small number of family cabins or interconnecting cabins on-board even the most modern of cruise ships, so it pays to book early to secure the accommodation you need. The same is true for disabled or solo traveller cabins too.
When it comes to the cruising industry, the booking sweet spot also known as the ‘wave season’, is from January to March.
This is the period when a lot of popular cruises first go on sale and travellers can get the best deals, as fares often rise as the ship fills up.
This is especially true for luxury cruise ships and new or high-demand mainstream cruises.
The situation regarding flights is slightly different but especially relevant to people who are booking ‘fly cruises’ whereby a flight is needed to join a cruise ship from its port of departure.
According to research, travellers who booked flights around six months in advance managed to save 20% compared to those who waited until two months or less to book.
The research also revealed that Sunday is the best day to book flights and other travel, with savings of up to 20% compared to Friday – this could be due to the fact that offers are refreshed at the end of each week.
However, when it comes to departures, Friday tends to be the cheapest day of the week, as those who started their trip on a Friday saved 15% more than those who departed at the beginning of the week.
However, those who are flexible with their dates can also take advantage of some amazing last-minute deals on cruises, hotels and other forms of package holiday, especially outside of peak booking periods like school holidays.
James Cole, founder and managing director at Panache Cruises said: “The cost of living crisis is driving up costs for all travel businesses, so booking early will lock in the price which could rise as fuel, food and staff costs continue to rise.
“The best time to book a summer holiday is January through March, which is the time when industry-wide sales occur.
“Early bookers can currently find some great fares for popular cruises, and there are opportunities to bag some amazing extra perks, like free upgrades, prepaid gratuities, or onboard spending money.
“It’s also useful to keep in mind that the farther away from peak travel season you can book, the better rates you will get.”
Booking late also allows savvy travellers to swoop in and take advantage of some amazing deals, however, their options will be much more restricted.
James Cole said: “Booking late can get you some fantastic cruising deals if you’ve got a flexible schedule and are not picky about cabins.
“The ship will sail come what may, so cruise lines may drop the fares significantly if the departure date is approaching and the cabins aren’t filled.
“There’s a chance that the cabin options will be minimal, however, if you’re not overly bothered about getting the best views, then you could save a lot of money and also receive some free add-ons.”
Late bookers also need to keep in mind that even if they get a good offer on their cruise, then last-minute flight tickets to the homeport may be costly. Flight prices sold near the departure date are sometimes prohibitively expensive.
For additional savings opportunities, customers can take advantage of loyalty programmes or travel rewards cards which often offer discounts or points that can help offset some of the costs.
Panache Cruises is the leading UK provider of luxury cruises and partners only with the World’s most luxurious cruise lines. With full ATOL financial protection, Panache Cruises’ customers also benefit from the company’s Customer Trust Fund which provides total peace of mind.