In the cruise industry, the largest booking months are the first quarter of the year - January through March so it's called 'Wave Season'. As a lay person, it's great for you to be aware of the 'Wave Season' because this is one of the major times of the year that cruise lines jump in and offer some of the best rates, amenities and options of the year. Usually second only to an event in October which is called 'National Cruise Week'.
So what does this mean for you? Look for some of the following items from your cruise agent:
- Shipboard Credit. Sometimes seen as 'SBC'. This means you get a set dollar amount applied to your account. While onboard the ship, this dollar amount is available to spend on items like photo purchases, Internet time, casino play, alcoholic beverage purchases and more. The amount is usually based on the type of cabin or length of cruise your book. If you book a 7 night balcony cabin, you could get $150 onboard where if you book a 4 night inside cabin, you may see $25 SBC.
- An Amenity. This is usually something physical placed in your cabin like a bottle of wine, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and more. But sometimes it can include a free shore excursion or hotel stay. An amenity is something you get above and beyond your cruise for booking a less in demand cruise. Try booking longer cruises during the fall or spring avoiding the summer which usually offer no amenities.
- Spending Booklet. This booklet usually offers you between $200-500 dollars off shipboard activities, services or products. Some coupons you usually see in the booklet is $10 off a photo purchase, buy one get one free beverage, free casino play and lots more.
- Reduced Deposit. A deposit varies based on booking but can vary between $150-300 per person. Limited offers may offer you a zero deposit or $50 deposit. The full amount of the cruise is still due but this can help you have time to pay it out with minimal upfront out of pocket expense.
Other special deals that don't come very often are airfare included, reduced transfers between airport and cruise port, reduced 3rd and 4th passenger rates and more.
So, if you have been thinking about booking a cruise this is the best time of the year to do it!