You may be wondering if now is a good time to book a cruise. Perhaps you had a cruise booked and it’s been cancelled, or you’re stuck at home waiting for life to return to normal, and booking a future cruise would sure lift your spirits.
Is now a good time, or should you hold off booking your cruise? Cruisers everywhere are asking themselves this same question.
There are many factors that go into deciding if you should book a cruise at this time. In this post we’ll go over the things you may want to consider before booking your cruise.
Is it a good time to book your cruise vacation, or should you wait until cruises resume officially?
Things to consider if you’re considering whether to book a cruise at this time
That said, there’s the reality of this situation. I know we all wish and pray for everyone’s health and safety, and this time is coming closer day by day.
When will we cruise again and what will cruising be like when we do?
We have projections and ideas, but don’t have the answers just yet. However, in time, we will, and this too shall pass.
Whether it’s a good time to book a cruise depends a lot on your own situation and if you feel ready. I don’t have all the answers, but I can go through some things we could consider in making this decision.
1. When will we cruise again?
At this point in time, most cruise lines are planning for returns to cruising again from mid-June until July 1. This depends on cruise itineraries – unfortunately much of the Alaska cruise season has been cancelled, although Princess cruises and other cruise lines are hoping to salvage the late season.
Of course, we know that this situation is still evolving, so although cruise lines want to resume as soon as possible, they’ll only do so when it’s considered safe to travel again.
From news reports, we’re seeing amazing progress on the medical, scientific and technological side, so this is encouraging.
2. Are people booking cruises?
Despite cruise lines losing millions of dollars as they literally have no revenue coming in, combined with large expenses, future booking prospects look good. According to travel industry reports, cruise bookings for 2021 are up considerably compared to last year.
With many cruises having been canceled, cruisers have been looking ahead and booking cruises into 2021 and beyond. However, cruisers will canceled sailings only account for part of these new bookings, which is a good sign that we can be optimistic about the future of cruising.
3. Options if your cruise was cancelled
You can either take a full refund for your cruise or you can opt for a future cruise credit, with a higher value as an incentive.
Recently, we’ve been seeing cruise lines offering 125% in Future Cruise Credits or additional on board credits up to $600 a cabin.
4. Cruise deals, promotions and incentives
A big factor for many who are booking cruises for later this year or in 2021, is pricing and booking promotions. In some cases, people are reporting seeing amazing deals on cruises.
However, others have reported being disappointed with offers for similar or identical sailings for next year.
There are a lot of things that go into pricing, and supply and demand is one. In the case of Alaska sailings, which are always popular, having so many canceled cruises this year may really increase the demand for next year.
However, I do believe that cruise lines will be coming out with some attractive booking promotions on many sailings. Since they are dealing with an incredible situation, much of it beyond any projections and plans they had, I think we need to give them some time.
Every year cruise line’s have some great deals, incentives and promotions, and I do think we’ll see these again soon, once things get a bit back to “normal”, or at least closer.
Suggested: How to get the best deal on a cruise
5. Refundable and non-refundable cruise deposits
If you see an amazing deal on a cruise you’d love to take, why not put down a deposit to lock in the price? If you’re not completely sure, make sure that you book a cruise that has a refundable deposit.
Several years ago, the majority of cruise deposits were 100% refundable, however in recent years, we’ve seen cruise line’s such as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, have 2 offerings; the refundable deposit and non-refundable deposit. The non-refundable deposit option is often more advantageous, with a lower price and extra bonus.
If you aren’t 100% sure that you’ll be able to take this cruise, consider booking only with a refundable deposit.
Most major cruise lines continue to have a refundable deposit policy when booking your cruise, while you still lock in their best price. This is definitely worth checking out!
6. Bucket list cruise vacation planning
If there’s anything this time is teaching us, is that plans in life aren’t guaranteed. If there’s a trip or special cruise that you’ve been putting off, this may be the time to start looking ahead.
My husband and I talked about this the other night. We have a few trips in mind that are really on our wish list. We decided that we’ll write down 5 of them and make some plans for the future.
Of course, we won’t book ahead more than a couple of years, but having our cruise bucket list will help to prioritize, plan, and take advantage or various promotions by the cruise lines, once they come out.
If there’s a cruise vacation you really want to do, booking ahead for the next year to 18 months, could be a great idea, once the time is right for you.
Suggested: Why Taking that Bucket List Trip Should be a Priority (warning – you may just want to share this one)
7. What to prepare for if your “next” cruise gets canceled
I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence – preparing for a canceled cruise! “Unprecedented” definitely describes 2020!
The reality is some people have had one and even two cruises canceled already this year.
That said, if you book for July, or soon after the cruise line’s plan (and hope) to get back to cruising again, just be aware that plans may change.
Please make sure that if you do book hotels and flights, that your payments or deposits are refundable. You may even want to make hotel reservations where you don’t have to pay, to hold a reservation.
Remember that most cruise line’s have a Cruise with Confidence type policy, that allows refund should they cancel your cruise, and an option for you to cancel your cruise up until a few days prior, and receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC). Do check the details at the time of booking.
If you won’t be overly disappointed if this pause in cruising extends, then why not plan your cruise? It’s likely a very good deal.
Final thoughts: Is now a good time to book a cruise?
Booking a cruise now for the next few months or even into next year and beyond is a personal one. My personal advice is to only book a cruise for the time that you really hope and intend to take, obviously as long as it’s safe to sail.
In our case, as much as we would like to cruise this summer, we’re holding off to see how things progress. However, we do have cruises booked for both winter 2020 and into 2021. Other cruisers we know have cruises booked this Summer or Fall.
At this point, what is important to know is that plans can change, and if the cruise line cancels, although they will refund, this process has been taking longer than usual.
What are your thoughts? Have you booked or are you considering booking a cruise sometime soon? Please let me know in the comments below.
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