What is Wave Season? Wave season is a cruise industry term for the time of year when most people plan & book their cruise vacations. Wave Season is January – March.
What does this mean for you? It means if you plan on cruising during a peak-time in 2012, the best time for you to book your cruise is between now and the end of the year.
2012 Spring Break & Summer Cruise Prices
Over the last two months pricing for March & April 2012 cruises is up while Summer Cruise prices have been relatively flat. So, what people were paying in October for a March or April 2012 cruise is higher today. This trend has been up month over month since September.
Example: the Voyager of the Seas 7-night Caribbean cruise departing New Orleans, 3/17/2012 in a category N inside cabin for 2 was selling for $1433 in September, $1500 in October, and today it is selling for $1633.
Lets compare 2011 Spring Break pricing vs. current 2012 Spring Break Pricing . In mid-January of 2011, the 3/27/2011 Freedom of the Seas 7-night Caribbean Cruise departing Port Canaveral Cat. I Oceanview cabin for 2 was selling for $2411. Today [12.15.2011], the 3/25/2012 sailing on the Freedom of the Seas in the same cabin is selling for $2069. Almost a $350 savings… but if you wait until Mid-January 2012 to book the 3/25/2012 Freedom of the Seas, I’m guessing the rate will be close to $2400. So the savings is there now for those who book in the next 15 days.
So on these Spring Break Cruises, the rates have been increasing during Sept – November [the slow booking season], just wait until Wave Season hits… or actually don’t wait for wave season, book your Spring Break Cruises now.
The trend is upward, and I’m anticipating when the demand picks up in January, prices for peak season 2012 cruises will go up faster than they have the last couple of years. Cruise pricing is very fluid all driven by supply and demand. I think that there is pent up demand for cruises and this Wave Season is going to surprise us to the upside similar to how strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday were for retailers.
Currently, Europe and Alaska Summer 2012 cruise prices are on average slightly higher than they were last year… but with the economic turmoil in Europe and high airfare, I’m not 100% sold that they will be able to keep prices for European cruises at current levels. I’ll be monitoring European cruise pricing closely as we get into Wave Season.
PRO TIP: If you book Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, or Norwegian with a fully refundable deposit and the rate drops prior to the final payment date then you can get the reduced rate. The exception to this rule is with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean weekly one day sales… which we inform you about on CruiseSource every Friday. So, it still makes sense to put down a fully refundable deposit now to lock in todays rate, and if the rate drops before final payment then in most circumstances you can get the reduced rate.
I could continue to go on & on with cruise prices and trends… what it all tells me is that for those of you cruising when kids are out of school, need to reserve your cabins with a deposit before the end of 2011 to get the best deal. Click here to start looking at live cruise pricing.[box] Author Note: Rich Tucker has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, ABCnews.com, NY Times, etc. as a cruise pricing expert. [/box]