Cruise lines would like to see booking windows expand again and some are incentivizing it. Virgin Voyages, which operates in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, is offering 10 percent off bookings made 180 days or more in advance, and five percent off those more than 120 days out.
High-end ships are filling up
Luxury ocean, river and expedition ships, which tend to be much smaller than those run by the mass-market cruise lines, are having less trouble filling space.
“Luxury has been off the charts since Covid,” Ms. Fee said, noting that many are filled with bookings pushed from canceled trips over the past two years. “Those are people that travel and realize if I don’t rebook, I will lose the chance because the ships are smaller.”
Still, there are some immediate deals for the few remaining vacancies. Through June, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering half-off fares on 20 European river itineraries, such as an eight-day sailing on the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam from $2,999 a person in August, which includes 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,” wrote Ellen Bettridge, the president and chief executive of Uniworld, in an email. “As a result of that, we are seeing shorter booking windows continue to spike for trips in the coming months.”
Selection is narrow on some of the offers. AmaWaterways, another river specialist, is selling select seven-night itineraries running through December from $5,499, including round-trip airfare and airport transfers, which are normally extra; the company says the inclusions represent more than $2,000 in value. The offer, good through June 30, is available in Provence, on the Rhine River and in Holland and Belgium.