Cruise lines would like to see booking periods extended again and some are encouraging this. Virgin Travelwhich operates in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, offers a 10 percent discount on bookings made 180 days or more in advance, and a five percent discount on bookings made more than 120 days in advance.
High-end ships are filling up
Luxury ocean, river and expedition ships, which are generally much smaller than those of the mass-market cruise lines, have less trouble filling the space.
“Luxury has been off the charts since Covid,” said Ms Fee, noting that many have been filled with bookings pushed by canceled trips for the past two years. “These are people who travel and realize that if I don’t rebook, I miss the opportunity because the ships are smaller.”
Still, there are some direct deals for the few remaining vacancies. until June, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers half-rates on 20 European river routes, such as an eight-day sailing trip on the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam from $2,999 per person in August, including open bar and excursions, after the discount.
“A sale of this caliber is not common for us, but we are constantly monitoring booking trends and listening to our guests,” Ellen Bettridge, Uniworld’s president and chief executive, wrote in an email. “As a result, we see shorter travel booking periods continue to increase in the coming months.”
The selection is limited on some offers. AmaWaterways, another river specialist, sells select seven-night itineraries through December starting at $5499, which includes round-trip flights and airport transfers, which are normally extra; the company says the inclusions represent more than $2,000 in value. The offer, valid until June 30, is available in Provenceon the Rhine and in Netherlands and Belgium†