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Video: When Should You Cruise for the Best Prices

Summary: Learn how seasonal factors influence cruise demand and prices, and the best times to cruise to save money.

Video Run Time: 1:58

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Video Transcript:

When should you cruise to get the best price on your cruise vacation?

The answer is a surprising simple one: you get the best deals whenever most kids are in school. So any time that's not during the summer, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring Break is when you want to cruise to save money.

Cruising is a demand-based business. The more demand, the higher the prices. If lots of people want to cruise on a certain date, the cruise lines can charge more for each cabin. That's why the exact same cabin on a Christmas cruise can cost triple the rate for mid-January.

It's also why a cruise to the warm, sunny Caribbean actually costs more in July than it does in February.

This high season/low season dynamic is the same for many travel businesses-hotels, resorts, theme parks-even airlines.

Hotels can reduce staff and airlines can cut back on flight schedules when things are slow. But cruise line staffs live on board--they get paid whether the cabins are empty or not. Empty cabins also don't buy drinks at the bar, gamble in the casino, or buy shore excursions from the cruise line. So cruise lines are better off practically giving cabins away rather than letting them sail empty.

And because customer satisfaction is so high on cruises, every cruise you take actually makes it more likely you'll take another one--so the lines don't even need to make money on you this time around to come out ahead in the long run.

The very best time to cruise? The first two and half weeks of December. It's a great time to sail--its cold in much of the northern hemisphere and hurricane season is over. But with kids in school, Thanksgiving just ended and Christmas on the horizon, cruise demand is actually at its lowest point of the year.

So while you can find great values at many times during the year, early December is the time to sail to get the very best deal on your cruise vacation.

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