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How to get the 'very best value for money' on a cruise – key dates to book your holiday

TravelHow to get the 'very best value for money' on a cruise - key dates to book your holiday

Make the most of “wave season”

Booking in advance is one of the best ways to secure your holiday, but doing so during “wave season” could have particular advantages.

Traditionally this three-month period runs from January 1 to March 31.

Mr Williams said: “The key booking window tends to be January to end of March known across the industry as ‘Wave’ when there some great promotions to be had, for example at MSC Cruises we did a drinks package included as part of the price.

“These promotions are always a good opportunity to get a great package price.”

According to Mr Melinis, these sales tend to “dominate the first quarter of the year” with big-name lines “promoting tantalising value-added packages and special deals to travellers who are early when it comes to planning their holidays for the year.”

Peter Hodge of cruise deals comparison website Hello Cruise explained that these deals aren’t just to do with reduced sailing prices, but can also include “free on board spending money, drinks packages and low deposits.”

However, this isn’t the only time cruise lines are likely to run deals.

Mr Melinis continued: “Now that lines are sailing, some may have distressed stock to sell, so flash sales can and do happen throughout the sailing season.”

Travel outside of peak seasons

Mr Hodge explained: “Peak dates for cruises again are mostly around the time of year and destination, but the peak dates do tend to be around school holidays such as Easter, summer, October and Christmas.

“If you can, stay away from these months as flights, hotels, tours and cruises all tend to be dearer.”

Mr Melinis added: “For Europe, the most expensive time will be during the summer holidays – July, August and September – and you can expect to pay a premium if you choose to holiday then.”

Some cruise lines, such as MSC, offer deals outside of the peak seasons.

Mr Williams, of MSC Cruises, said: “Any departures away from half terms and school holidays generally offer lower rates as kids under 17 travel at reduced rates, and kids under two for free with MSC Cruises, so school holidays are always popular for multigenerational families.”

And it isn’t just UK school holidays that tourists should bear in mind.

Mr Williams added: “As an international cruise line with passengers from over 114 different countries you should also consider key dates for other countries, for example, spring break or Labour Day in America when ships in the Caribbean will be in higher demand.”

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