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My wife and I are planning to go on an Alaskan cruise in September. I've heard that you can find some really good deals by waiting until the last minute to buy tickets because cruise ships will discount more and more the closer they get to the departure date.

My own observation seems to confirm this. I checked prices last month when we were still figuring out what kind of vacation we wanted, and now that we've decided, the tickets are indeed cheaper than they were a month ago.

I also think they try to use artificial scarcity to get people to buy early. According to their Web site, there are more staterooms available now than there were when I last checked.

So when is the best time to buy cruise tickets? Are they likely to be full in September?

  • Your perceived "artificial scarcity" could simply be group blocks that are releasing unneeded rooms. Group coordinators and travel wholesalers will often book XX cabins many months in advance, then at prescribed points (ie: 120, 60, etc days before sailing) will review their needs and released a percentage of the block that has not been booked yet. – user13044 May 11 '17 at 3:41
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This is hard to say because you risk the fact that the cruise could be sold out. If you work with a travel agent/company, they can reach out with last minute spots. But, travel agents place prior clients ahead of new ones. Your best bet is to book your cruise with a travel agent/company and they usually have special promotions or give you on board spending credits, which is like a discount. That's how I book my cruises. I am going on an Alaskan cruise in July and although I paid full price for my tickets, my travel agent gave me additional perks and onboard spending credit (things I would have bought/money I would have spent anyways), therefore to me, its like a discount.

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