The Best Time of the Year to Book River Cruises

River Views™, a River Cruise Blog

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It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time river cruiser or if you are a seasoned river cruiser looking to experience new ports of call, the looming question for all travelers seems to be: When is the best time of the year to book American river cruises?

Planning a river cruise vacation is not just about when you choose to travel, but it is also about when you choose to book your travel and there are some things to take into consideration. First, you should determine what is most important to you when choosing to book your river cruise. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:  

How important is the price of the river cruise? How important is the destination of the river cruise? How important is the date of your river cruise?

If price is driving your decision on when to book your river cruise, then last minute bookings may be your best bet. However, it is never a sure thing. Keep in mind that last minute deals are typically bottom of the barrel and may not get you where you want to go. If you have a particular city in mind to kick off your river cruise, or perhaps a particular itinerary with ports of call that you absolutely must visit, you risk losing out by waiting for big sales and last minute discounts. And you may as well forget about that suite or stateroom that you set your sights on because it is most likely sold out. Never forget that you are competing with capacity when you book last minute. Riverboat cruises are not like ocean ship cruises. Riverboats are smaller and carry fewer guests than big ocean ships, meaning they fill up faster.

Additionally, if you obsess over discounts and wait until the last minute, there is a good chance that you will miss the boat all-together because that golden opportunity that you have been waiting for may never materialize. Ultimately, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint an exact time of the year that would be best to book your river cruise and ensure that you landed the best possible fare. But one thing is for sure, booking your river cruise early (at least 9-12 months in advance) is the best time to get the vacation you want.

The saying is true, the early bird really does get the worm. Do not be fooled into thinking that booking early means that you won’t get the best deal. Even finicky river cruisers who want a specific cabin and aren’t flexible on their cruise date book the vacation of their dreams at a great rate.

Essentially, it all comes down to timing.  Yes, timing is everything! Timing is crucial when choosing to book river cruises – for savvy shoppers who want river cruises for a bargain, it can mean the difference between big savings or no savings; for discerning shoppers who know what they want and are not willing to sacrifice any of their river cruise preferences, it can mean the difference between snagging their choice stateroom or dream itinerary. So if you are wanting to escape the winter chill with a lower Mississippi river cruise, organize a multi-generational family reunion with a Columbia and Snake River cruise through the great Pacific Northwest or wish to celebrate a milestone anniversary on the upper reaches of the Mississippi, you will definitely want to ensure that you get your timing right.    

Once you find the itinerary, cruise date and accommodations that you desire – book it and be confident that you made the right decision.