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How far in advance?

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Hello...my husband and I have decided to take cruise in May 2006 instead of this May. How far in advance should I start looking to book our cruise? I have read several posts that say booking early is better. I have also read that if I book early and the price goes down I can get a refund for the difference. How exactly does that work? Do I have to book directly from the cruise line or from a TA? Can I book on one of the many cruise websites and still be eligible for a refund?

Thank you for any help. It is appreciated!


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Yes, earlier is better. If they have May 2006 open for booking, you have better cabin choices by booking early. You can use online sites such as cruises only or cruise411 (or a myriad other choices), or a local TA. Online agencies aren't neccesarily cheaper than a brick and mortar TA, although both are usually cheaper than booking through the cruise line itself.

To get the lower price, should there be one, you would call your TA and ask them to check when they get a minute. You could do some online research yourself, but you'll usually find the price of the lowest grade cabin in your category when you might not be in that lowest grade, so it's hard to actually find out what your specific category is selling for. Some TA's will automatically keep on top of the price for you, and get you the cheaper price if it goes down. I beleive in most cases that this applies only upto when final payment is due. If you see your cruise on sale 6 weeks before you sail, you won't get the lower price, since you have no leverage with the cruise line at that point.

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