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Alaska Cruise Tips: When to Book an Alaskan Cruise

Jun 8, 2008
How early should you book an Alaskan cruise? Should you wait until the last minute to get the best deals?

Unlike with Caribbean cruises, for which last minute deals are readily available, the market for Alaskan cruises is much tighter. There are fewer ships sailing in Alaska than in the Caribbean, due to smaller port capacities and limitations on entry into the major glacier viewing locations.

Because of this limited supply and an ever-growing demand, there have been fewer and fewer last minute Alaskan cruise deals available in recent years. If you are looking for a specific type of cabin, such as a balcony room or a suite, last minute deals are even harder to come by.

So does that mean that last minute Alaska cruise deals are a thing of the past? Not at all. In fact, you can still find fantastic deals if you are willing to be a bit flexible with the time you cruise.

The very best last minute Alaska cruise deals can be found for cruises that sail at the start of the season in the month of May. If you are able to travel in May, and you are a bit flexible on the date of your cruise, you often can find some outstanding deals on most all cabin categories, with savings of 50% or more over peak season rates in July and August.

The next best last minute prices can be found for Alaskan cruises sailing at the end of the season in September. The weather in southern coastal Alaska in September is only a few degrees cooler than in August, and there are even fewer bugs, making September a great time to cruise.

But what if you have to travel at the peak of the season, during the months of July and August? You can still find great deals for these months, but you must start planning your cruise early. In fact, the best time to start planning is over a year in advance.

Most Alaskan cruise lines start selling cabins on cruises over a year before their sail dates, in April and May of the prior year. So if you want some great early booking discounts, start looking very early and shop around, since additional discounts are available through travel agencies who have access to group pricing.

Alaska cruises offer a great value and remain the most economical and convenient way to see Alaska. So plan ahead or be flexible with your departure date, and you can find some fantastic deals.
About the Author
Scott Russell is a writer, consultant, and frequent traveler. To find out many more great tips on planning Alaskan cruises, check out the Alaska Cruise Advisor, which covers all aspects of Alaskan cruising, including details on Alaska shore excursions and cheap Alaska cruises.
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