Wave Season & Finding Cruise Deals

Last updated on 03/27/2023

What is Wave Season?

What is Wave Season?

If you've been planning a cruise vacation, you may have heard the phrase "wave season." Wave season refers to the time of the year when the cruise industry offers discounted rates. These deals make it the most popular time for cruisers to book their trips.

When is Wave Season?

While the dates are not exact, wave season typically runs from mid-January to mid-March each year. The types of offers and discounts will vary by destination and cruise line, but the majority of cruises are booked during this promotional period.

How Can Cruisers Get the Best Deals During Wave Season?

Now that you know what wave season is and when it occurs, you can leverage the promotional period to get the best deal on your cruise vacation. For example, if you're considering booking a cruise for the coming year as a holiday gift, it may be better to wait a few weeks before booking until the wave season promotions begin to run.

Book an Off-Peak Cruise

If your departure dates are flexible, you may be able to save even more money by traveling during off-peak times. Off-peak season cruises are typically cheaper due to lower demand, so combining off-peak deals with wave season deals is a great way to spend less and get more. Research your cruise destination to find out when the peak seasons are.

Travel Agents & Package Deals

If you plan on booking your cruise through a travel agent, you may be able to combine deals for additional savings. Some travel agents have partnerships with specific cruise lines and in some cases can offer further incentives, like free upgrades, package deals, and specialty options.

Loyalty Programs

If you're a frequent cruiser, consider becoming a loyalty member with your favorite cruise line for even more savings. Your membership may entitle you to exclusive offers or first dibs at special promotions. The savviest cruisers combine loyalty savings and exclusive offers with wave season deals for maximum discounts.

Discounts for Seniors

Senior citizens may qualify for additional discounts either directly through the cruise line or indirectly through a membership program. For example, AARP frequently runs deals that allow older travelers to save even more on their nautical vacations.

Depart from a Local Port

While not everyone lives close to a cruise port of call, those who do can save by choosing a local departure option. Doing so allows travelers to avoid having to book expensive flights or pay for long-term parking.

Research & Plan Ahead

Planning ahead gives cruisers the best chance at booking a high-quality cruise at the lowest possible price. Start with a budget and research your desired cruise line and destinations. Then watch for promotions during wave season to find an option that suits your needs and budget. Most importantly, be prepared to act fast and book at a moment's notice. Some cruise deals only run for a limited time, so you'll want to make sure you can book before it's too late.

Purchase Travel Insurance When You Book

Once you have booked your perfect cruise at a great price, don’t forget to purchase cruise travel insurance. Cruises can be complex vacations with multiple legs, international destinations, and many costs paid up front. Unexpected illness or injury are top concerns of travelers. Many cruisers don't know that their domestic medical insurance provider may not cover care they receive outside of their home country. Medical travel insurance coverage can offset these expenses. Depending on the plan, cruise travel insurance can also protect you for various other reasons including missed connections, lost baggage, cancellation due to severe weather, or an emergency evacuation from the sea. It is advisable to research your insurance options and purchase a policy through a third-party source that fits your specific travel needs.