We are often asked, “When/how far in advance should I book my river cruise?” A common myth is that booking 3-6 months before your scheduled trip is the best time to book, except making reservations too close to your traveling date can cause difficulty due to the intimate, smaller size of river boats (capacity restrictions), and also the rising popularity of river cruising. So the real answer to the question of when to book is: the earlier the better!

Here are a few perks of booking early:

#1: Options!  You can choose the most ideal time of year for your cruise

Seasoned cruisers tend to book very far in advance, leaving little availability left for the newbies. River excursions sell out quickly (many cruises are already booking out into 2015, and we are only two months into 2014!) Cruises are typically available from mid to late March through the holiday season, so schedule accordingly to ensure that you get your top choice of river cruise line and itinerary.

The most popular and most requested time to river cruise is the summer months into early fall. If you are wanting a more quiet trip, we recommend early spring, late fall, or the holiday season when there are fewer cruisers. It’s really all about what is the perfect time for you to travel, and when you will enjoy it most. That time is different for everyone. Some cruisers enjoy the hustle and bustle of a full ship of travelers around them, while some want a quieter experience. But whatever your preference, we can help you find the right fit for you!

#2: Cabin Choice and Amenities Options Before Anyone Else!

One of the most enjoyable parts of river cruising is the impressive views right from your window. Most river cruise lines offer a variety of room options, including some with picture windows, partial windows, or even French balconies. Beyond the beautiful room options available, the variety of extra amenities provided to make your stay more comfortable are endless. Possible options include complimentary WiFi, luxury toiletries, plush robes and slippers, personal refrigerators, hair dryers, and in-room safes.

#3: Discounts/Rewards for Early Reservations

Often times there is a financial perk to booking early, including discounts off your cabin, or even the entire trip. Some cruise lines also offer loyalty and points programs to those who continue to book with them, and do so earlier rather than later. Booking early often leads to your top choice in travel itinerary. Seasoned cruisers love to book early because payments are also more flexible and manageable. Typically, you can make an initial deposit on your trip, and make final payments 90 days before your trip begins, making it much more affordable!

#4: “The More the Merrier” is Better Earlier

When booking a cruise for groups of people, booking early is the best option and is highly encouraged! Not only is cruising with your family and/or friends an unforgettable shared experience, it’s also a great way to save! Many cruise lines offer discounts or special amenities/incentives for booking group trips.

River cruises are wonderful for celebrating birthdays, holidays, reunions, anniversaries, and any other special occasions you can dream up with your entire group of friends and/or loved ones. Many cruise lines go above and beyond to personalize your shared experience, provide you with service and excellent support during your trip, and will work with you if you are wanting to create a one-of-a-kind, unique cruise itinerary for your group!