It's wave season, an old-school term that still means big savings on cruises this year and beyond. Each cruise line puts out its most tempting offers — discounts fares, cabin upgrades, extra perks like free Wi-Fi or on-board credit — in the first few months of the new year to lure travelers to book early.
For you, wave season means locking in a price you like with extras you like too. Just remember: Prices you'll see online and elsewhere don't include taxes and port fees; some sales apply only to selected cruises; and a travel agent could be a good option to help you compare different cruise offers and itineraries.
Here are seven deals worth exploring.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean takes 30% off passenger fares and half off deposits during its wave season sale. One low-price example: You can take a four-night cruise on Majesty of the Seas from Orlando, Fla., (stopping at CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas) starting at $247 per person. On the West Coast, seven-night Alaska cruises from Seward to Vancouver, Canada, are on sale starting at $823 per person. Must book by Jan. 31 for cruises that depart Feb. 4 and later. Info: Royal Caribbean, (866) 562-7625
Holland America Line
Holland America makes this deal all about upgrading your room on selected sailings. Get an ocean view room for the cost of an interior, or a veranda room for the price of an ocean view. In addition, two passengers receive $50 to $150 in spending money on certain seven- to nine-day cruises. Love the suite life? If so, you'll receive free prepaid room gratuities. The offer is good through Feb. 28 for sailings from March 30 to April 28, 2018. Info: Holland America, (877) 932–4259
The luxury line offers similar deals for ocean and river cruises. It's essentially 2-for-1 pricing on select itineraries plus free or inexpensive airfares from 150 destinations. Viking also includes perks like free Wi-Fi, a shore excursion in each port and meals.
Both offers are good through Jan. 31.
For ocean cruises, eight-day November and December sailings from Miami to the Yucatan Peninsula (stopping in Mexico and Belize) start at $2,999 per person and includes free airfare. Remember, that includes airfare too.
For river cruises, you can find an eight-day Danube River cruise from Budapest, Hungary, to Nuremberg, Germany on Nov. 19 that starts at $1,799, plus airfares starting at $295 per person. You also get to choose one of the following: free beverage package, up to $400 shipboard credit per room, or prepaid gratuities. Info: Viking Cruises, (800) 706-1483; Viking Ocean Cruises
Technically, this isn't a wave season deal. And Fathom, the socially conscious cruise brand launched by Carnival Corp. last year, will be ending in May. However, the company recently received approval to add a port call at Santiago de Cuba on the island of Cuba to its seven-day give-back cruises from Miami to the Dominican Republic. Prices are good, starting at $599 per person for seven days, on selected dates between February and May. Info: Fathom, (855) 932-8466
This deal is an extension of the Princess anniversary sale. The Santa Clarita-based line turned 50 in 2015 and has been celebrating ever since. You'll receive up to $600 in on-board spending money (based on your room category choice) for selected cruises six nights or longer between June and May 2018. An example: a seven-day round-trip cruise leaving Aug. 27 from Seattle to Alaska's Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord starts at $799 per person — and comes with $150 credit. Balcony cabins and suite guests receive a free specialty dining package. The offer ends Feb. 28. Info: Princess Cruises, (800) 774-6237
Celebrity takes $150 off any cabin price during its wave season sale. But the real perks come for those who book an ocean view or higher class room. With this deal, the first two passengers can choose two free perks: classic beverage package, prepaid gratuities, unlimited Wi-Fi or $150 in on-board spending money. Additional passengers in the same cabin receive a nonalcoholic beverage package and 40 minutes of Internet use. Book by Jan. 31 for sailings Feb. 1 through April 30, 2018. Info: Celebrity Cruises, (888) 283-6879
Azamara Club Cruises
The small luxury-cruise line (part of Royal Caribbean) has a deal for 2017 and 2018 cruises. Take half off the fare of the second passenger in a cabin, plus other perks for higher class cabins. Info: Azamara Club Cruises, (877) 999-9553