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While wave season might seem like it has something to do with actual waves on the ocean, in regard to cruising, it's not even close. 'Wave season' refers to the 'wave' of cruises that are announced each year and, with them, potential deals for travelers to take advantage of. However, cruise wave season refers to more than just cruise packages - this is also when travelers find out which cruise lines are offering specific routes, for how long, and when.

Therefore, it's a pretty serious time for avid cruisers, as it only happens once a year, and these deals get scooped up fast. So, when, exactly, is cruise wave season, and how can a traveler take advantage of it? Let's find out.


When Is Cruise Wave Season?

Typically, the cruise wave season begins at the very beginning of each year and runs from around the middle of January until the middle of March. During this off-peak-season time, travelers aren't usually cruising but are keeping an eye out for cruises to be announced for the rest of the year. Since a majority of people book during the summer months, this is the ideal time to jump on any newly-announced cruises or get tickets aboard that new ship that was just announced the previous year.

Wave season is also known as the 'promotional period.' During this time, many cruise lines announce promos that travelers can take advantage of quickly, as they don't last forever and are usually limited. This is a great way to score a good cruise deal for those who don't mind being a bit spontaneous with their cruising plans.

Many avid cruisers will wait until wave season in order to purchase tickets for a cruise if wave season promotions are announced just before a holiday.

Why Wave Season Is So Beneficial To Cruisers

The great thing about booking a trip during wave season is that the ticket can be purchased - but the cruise doesn't need to be during wave season. Tickets can be purchased ahead for a cruise in the summer, fall, or even the winter, if a promotion happens to be taking place for that specific cruise line or route. Therefore, avid cruisers know that they can peruse the sales and deals that are announced during wave season in order to potentially book a cruise that they plan on taking much later on in the year.

According to CruiseHive, many avid cruisers compare the deals found during wave season to those found during Black Friday. The comparison reveals just how low cruise prices come down during wave season - comparable to that of the extreme discounts one might find during a Black Friday travel sale.

Related: Cruise Trip: Should You Work With A Travel Agent Or Book Directly?

How To Save Even More Money During Wave Season

While wave season does afford travelers the ability to purchase a cruise package at a discounted price, there are even more ways to save money when booking the said vacation.

  • Book with a friend. Splitting the cost of an already-discounted cruise deal during wave season is a great way to make it affordable for more than one person. Since two people (or more) can share a room, it's economically smart to split a cabin with one or more people in order to make the most of a cruise package deal.
  • Consider money saved on extras. Sometimes, a cruise might not be discounted much in price but might come with a reasonable number of perks. These can include onboard credits, food and beverages, services, or even excursions for island stops. Although a traveler might not be saving much on the actual price of the cruise, they'll be saving money on the things they can do while they're on it.
  • BOGO deals might be worth it. It's not always surprising to see cruises putting out BOGO deals during wave season. For those traveling with more than one person, splitting the cost of the BOGO might be more cost-efficient than buying separate cabins.
  • Free upgrades. Again, while the price might not be affected much by the wave season, travelers might notice that a cruise comes with additional upgrades (a larger room, more services) for no extra cost. Just because a cruise isn't discounted doesn't mean it's lacking incentives - and it might be worth getting upgraded room perks for the cost of an average one.

Cruise wave season is worth taking advantage of for anyone who's looking for a cruise in the upcoming year - not just avid cruisers. Travelers might be surprised to find that they can find an affordable vacation without waiting out for Black Friday, and it might be one that fits their budget better than they anticipated.