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Why now is the best time to book your 2024 cruise vacation

by Staff

Now is the perfect time to start planning your 2024 cruise vacation if you haven’t done so already. 

Whether it’s for your child’s spring break in March, a family vacation in July, or a holiday sailing in December, booking a cruise at the beginning of the year gives you something to look forward to.

The early months of the year, namely January, February, and March, are referred to as “Wave Season” within the cruise industry, and this is when you will find some lucrative deals to help stretch your vacation budget even further. 

From discounts on cruise fares to stateroom upgrades, onboard credit, and more, if you’ve been holding off on booking your 2024 cruise, you should not wait too much longer. 

Read more: When is the best time to book a cruise?

Wave Season tends to welcome industry-wide sales that can help you save money or get some additional perks

Cruise lines want to encourage bookings during the winter months, so they’ll offer promotions to entice customers to reserve a cruise with them over competitors. 

While actual deals and conditions vary, wave season sales usually include anything from additional onboard credit, free upgrades, discounted excursions, kids sail free, prepaid gratuities, and more. 

The best part about Wave Season is that you don’t actually have to take a cruise during January, February, or March; you can often book years ahead. 

For instance, during MSC Cruises’ 2024 Wave Season deal that runs through January 15, 2024, you can book cruises through the end of the 2024-2025 winter season. 

Similarly, Carnival Cruise Line’s deal that ran through January 6, 2024 was eligible for new bookings on departure dates through April 2026. 

By booking in advance, you will not have to worry about your desired cruise selling out

While last-minute deals are still possible, ships are sailing closer to full capacity. If you’re trying to cruise during a popular time of the year (i.e., spring break or Christmas), there’s a chance it could sell out in advance, especially if you are hoping to book a specific cabin category, such as a suite or adjoining balconies for your family. 

Plus, not everyone is fortunate enough to live within driving distance of a major cruise port. Last-minute airfare could negate any savings that you receive from the cheaper cruise fare. It’s best to book everything in advance, so you are not struggling to find affordable means of transportation to your ship! 

Read more: What to know before booking a cheap cruise

If you are struggling to find Wave Season deals, simply head to your favorite cruise line’s website or talk with your travel agent

Because cruise lines want you to reserve a cruise with them, they do not tend to hide their deals. As soon as you venture to their website, you’ll clearly be able to see what they are offering. 

Of course, there are usually some caveats. If, for instance, they are offering kids sail free, there might be an age restriction (i.e., 12 and under), or the “free” passengers only apply to the third and fourth guests in a single stateroom. 

Rather than reading through the terms and conditions yourself, a travel agent will be able to quickly answer any questions that you have and recommend the best deals for what you are seeking. 

Perhaps you don’t care about kids sail free because your children are grown and are hoping to secure a stateroom upgrade. They will be able to tell you what cruise lines are offering those kinds of Wave Season deals without you having to search the internet yourself. 

Read more: 5 Reasons to Book With a Travel Agent for Your Next Cruise

Below are the best Wave Season cruise deals of 2024

Whether you’re just curious to see what’s out there or do not have a trusted travel agent, we have a list of the best Wave Season cruise deals that were available at the time of writing to make your search a little bit easier. 

The less time you spend browsing the internet for prices, the more time you have to devote to the fun parts of planning your cruise vacation! 

MSC Cruises

From December 27, 2023 through January 15, 2024, MSC Cruises is offering cruises for as low as $279 per person that includes drinks, Wi-Fi, and up to $400 in onboard credit. Kids sail free, too. 

Margaritaville at Sea

Through February 12, 2024, you can book buy-one-get-three-free on Margaritaville at Sea sailings departing through December 30, 2024. 

Explora Journeys

From now through January 31, 2024, you can save up to 40% off your cruise when booking an Ocean Terrace Suite or Ocean Grand Terrace Suite. Plus, you’ll only have to pay a 10% reduced deposit and earn 200 EUR per person in onboard credit. 

Virgin Voyages

Adults seeking a child-free getaway will appreciate Virgin Voyages’ Wave Season sale. From now until January 31, 2024, you can save up to 70% off the fare of second sailors on sailings that depart through November 2025. 

Additionally, you could score up to $600 in premium drinks per stateroom if you book an XL Sea Terrace, Central Sea Terrance, or Ltd View Sea Terrance cabin, as well as those in the RockStar Quarters Meta Category. 

Disney Cruise Line

While Disney Cruise Line’s sales are few and far between, they are offering half off of the deposit rate on select cruises that depart between June 17, 2024 and May 31, 2025 if you book by February 16. 

Plus, you can save up to 30% on select sailings

  • 15-night South Pacific cruise ending in Honolulu onboard Disney Wonder departing February 16, 2024 
  • 10-night Hawaiian cruise ending in Vancouver onboard Disney Wonder departing March 1, 2024 
  • 7-night Western Caribbean cruise onboard Disney Fantasy departing February 24, 2024 
  • 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise onboard Disney Fantasy departing March 2, 2024

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises is currently having their semi-annual sale, in which you can receive up to 75% off your second guest’s cruise fare, as well as up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom. The sale only lasts through January 11, 2024, so you’ll need to book soon!

Note that it only applies to select sailings that are 3 nights and longer departing December 06, 2023 through April 30, 2026.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises‘ Wave Season sale lasts through the end of February, meaning you have time to decide whether this upscale cruise line is right for your next vacation. From now through February 29, you can score up to 40% off your cruise fare and a free room upgrade! Plus, 3rd and 4th guests sail free. 

Holland America Line

Holland America Line’s “Time of Your Life” is offering up to 40% off cruise fares, as well as a free stateroom upgrade and kids sale free, through February 29, 2024. This sale is only applicable on select 2024 and 2025 departures and excludes Grand Voyages and any cruise lasting 5 days or fewer. 

If you book by January 31, you could be eligible for some onboard credit, too. 

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