When Booking a Cruise, you can break it into 2 basic categories. When and how long.
How long a cruise should we book... This will partly depend on your budget, but that consideration aside, we choose cruises longer than 7 days.
Our reasoning is simple. You avoid much of the more problematic cruisers. Short cruises, 3-4 days, have a tendency to be full of people just looking to spend a weekend drunk. Hence the phrase “Booze Cruise”. While I mean no disrespect, I would rather not be tripping over other passengers passed out in the halls or have to duck inebriated passengers fighting with each other. Just not a fun time for us.
So for us, we find the best results from a cruise in excess of 7 days. (Longer the better) It’s also about value. Cruises often cost in the ballpark of $200-$300 a day for a couple and the cost per day often goes down as the number of days increases. That includes food, booze, entertainment, specialty dining, wifi, etc. Try to find that value while staying in a destination hotel.
You also have fewer kids running around on the longer cruises since most don’t want to keep the kids out of school for over a week. Nothing against kids, but a bunch of teenagers can create quite a havoc around the pools, hot tubs, buffet, etc. We prefer our cruises to be relaxing and find a bunch of kids running around can make that a bit challenging.
When to book a cruise… First, we avoid summer. This is because of the above concern with kids I mentioned, but also because we generally book Caribbean cruises, and it’s quite hot and humid there in the summer. Also, because kids are out of school summer cruises are often booked more, causing the prices to go up.
Our basic time frame for Booking a Cruise is October to March. Being from the midwest we love to get away from the snow and the cold weather at home, and the weather tends to be pretty good in the Caribbean during that time of year.
Holiday Cruising… My favorite time to cruise is over Thanksgiving week. You might not think about it, but its so nice to have a fully prepared Thanksgiving dinner with zero work, and the cruise lines do a great job with dinner on that holiday. We’ve managed to be in Aruba on a few thanksgivings and love being on the beach for lunch knowing a great dinner is awaiting us on the ship.