When it comes to booking a cruise, the early bird catches the worm. Credit: Shutterstock

Get ahead of the crowd: the value of booking early

Author: Daniel Edward

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Iglu Cruise knows that the early bird catches the worm. From a wider range of cabin choices available to extra discounts and savings, it really pays off to book early

Booking ahead provides so many benefits for cruisers. First – and maybe most obviously – getting your cabin booked early gives you longer to look forward to going on holiday… but beyond that, there are some very real, material benefits to getting your booking in early.

With that in mind, maybe you already want to start thinking about summer 2025 and all the places you might like to go? Or really push the boat out and give yourself two years to really get excited by booking your 2026 cruise today.

And cruise lines are definitely embracing early planners, with discounts and perks for booking ahead of the rest. Luxury line, Cunard, is one such line, with itineraries on sale right the way through to summer 2026.

What are the perks of booking early?
If you specifically know that you want a beautiful Balcony cabin in the middle of the ship – a particularly popular choice thanks to the phenomenal views and most-stable position for when the motion of the ocean rears its head – then booking early gives you the best chance of securing your ideal cabin.

The same is true of accessible cabins. Each ship only has a limited supply of completely accessible cabins, with adapted bathrooms and wider entry doors. If this would make your cruise much easier and more enjoyable, book early to secure it for yourself.

Financially, booking a cruise early is another huge benefit. Cruise lines typically reward keen customers with reduced deposits, or extra discounts on the overall cost of the cruise.

Balcony cabins give passengers extra space as well as fantastic views. Credit: Ambassador Cruise Line

One year out
Iglu Cruise is offering early bird discounts on P&O Iona’s 14-night Atlantic Oceans from Southampton itinerary, departing March 18, 2025. This sailing – a full year away – heads south towards the Canary Islands for some reliable springtime sunshine.

For something exotic, Iglu Cruise has a great upfront price for Norwegian Star’s 18-day South America and Antarctica cruise from Buenos Aires, which includes a two night hotel stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina too. If you book early, the perks include £50 off per person, reduced deposits, and Free at Sea upgrades thrown in for good measure.

Or take some early bird savings on Royal Caribbean’s 20-night Australia and Indonesia extravaganza onboard Ovation of the Seas, departing March 30, 2025. This enticing repositioning cruise starts in Sydney and includes the Great Barrier Reef as the ship moves across to Singapore. Book today to save £50 per person and benefit from a reduced deposit.

Buzzing Buenos Aires is the tango capital of the world. Credit: Shutterstock

Even further ahead
2026 might sound like a long way away, but it’ll rush around surprisingly quickly – especially with an exciting cruise to look forward to, bought on discount thanks to how early you jumped onboard… metaphorically speaking.

Norwegian Dawn is visiting the Seychelles, Maldives and Madagascar in January 2026, on her way to Mauritius. Booking early opens up a number of early booking offers, including Norwegian Cruise Line’s ‘Free at Sea’ upgrade package being rolled into the price of the cruise, giving you free drinks, speciality dining, unlimited WiFi and shore excursion credit.Plus all tips are covered!

Or get yourself a guaranteed cabin onboard MSC’s new itinerary to Portugal and Spain from Southampton. This 14-day no-fly cruise includes stops in both Lisbon and Barcelona and the Summer ’26 launch offer means you could be cashing in on discounts of more than £500 per person.

Cunard is known all around the world, and you can get yourself a confirmed cabin onboard the newest Queen, Queen Anne for her bestselling one-week Spain and France itinerary from Southampton. Booking a couple of years ahead means you’ll also secure free parking near the port in Southampton or some free onboard spending money.

Lisbon with its cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and red roofs stands out as special. Credit: Shutterstock
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