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Celebrity Edge (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Celebrity Edge (Photo: Cruise Critic)

Rolling Out the Deals: Why Now Might Be a Great Time to Book a Cruise

Celebrity Edge (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Celebrity Edge (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Senior Editor, News and Features
Aaron Saunders

Last updated
Sep 14, 2020

(Updated 1:27 p.m. EDT) -- With the cruise industry mostly paused across the globe due to the ongoing health pandemic, cruise lines are rolling out the deals in order to encourage passengers to book for 2021, 2022 and beyond.

Rather than offering deep-discounted fares, however, these deals are including an almost-absurd number of perks; incentives that wouldn't normally be seen in the "before times."

Ranging from deep-discounts on deposits to fares that bundle in everything from complimentary gratuities, Wi-Fi internet plans, beverage packages and more, the overall goal here is a win-win. Cruise lines want deposits, and passengers want a good deal.

Should you book ahead? As with anything, this remains a personal decision. With cruise lines rolling out itineraries into 2022 and even as far out as 2024, reserving a bucket-list cruise down the road could result in substantial savings.

Cruise Critic took a look at what various cruise lines are offering up right now.


Exterior of AmaWaterways AmaMagna (via AmaWaterways)
Exterior of AmaWaterways AmaMagna (via AmaWaterways)

AmaWaterways has a number of promotions on now, though the one likely to be of interest to most cruisers is the line's offer of free roundtrip airfare on select 2021 sailings in Europe.

Other sailings offer free airfare for the second guest. Both promotions include airport transfers to and from the ship and is available from select gateways in the United States and Canada.

For those who don't want the air credit, AmaWaterways is offering up to $2,000 in savings per stateroom on these select voyages.

This offer applies to bookings made for 2021 Europe sailings that are reserved by September 30, 2020.

American Queen Steamboat Company

(Photo: Sean McVeigh)
American Duchess TA Listings Page Image

American Queen Steamboat Company is running a Labor Day Flash Sale that allows passengers to save up to $1,400 per stateroom on select 2021 cruises, along with a $250 onboard credit.

The sale, which runs between now and September 17, is available on select 2021 voyages on American Queen and American Duchess, along with certain sailings operated aboard sister-brand Victory Cruises' Victory I and Victory II. Travelers have to call and mention offer code "Flash Sale."


Azamara Quest
Azamara Quest

Azamara is offering a two-part promotion it calls "Double Upgrade Plus Double Points" on voyages departing between March 20 and April 1, 2021.

Azamara's "Double Upgrade" event runs from now until November 18, 2020 and offers passengers the ability to book a veranda stateroom at the price of an interior. Customers can also choose to book a Veranda Plus stateroom for the price of an oceanview; or a Club Continent Suite at a veranda price.

Conversely, Azamara's "Double Upgrade Plus Double Points" promotion runs from now until September 18 and offers the Double Upgrade promotion in addition to double loyalty points on select voyages. This promotion is geared towards past passengers that are part of Azamara's "Azamara Circle" past passenger program, but also applies to new customers who sign up in advance for Azamara Circle.

Guarantee staterooms aren't eligible for this promotion. Price description 'FREEUP' must be listed in the reservation at time of booking.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

(Photo: Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line)
Grand Classica TA Listings Page Image

Bahamas Paradise is offering a Buy-One, Get-One Free offer on 2021 sailings. Travelers can book a sailing to Freeport (Grand Bahama Island) departing between January 1 and April 30, 2021 and sail again for free any time between August 16, 2021 and February 28, 2022.

Bahamas Paradise operates two-night cruises out of West Palm Beach, Florida aboard Grand Celebration and fleetmate Grand Classica.

Bahamas Paradise states this is a "limited time offer" but doesn't provide an exact end date.

Carnival Cruise Line

Exterior on Carnival Splendor
Exterior on Carnival Splendor

Travellers looking for a cruise to the Caribbean or the Mexican Riviera can save up to 30 percent on all sailings to both regions through April 2023. In addition, Carnival is rolling out two-for-one reduced deposits; and best available room upgrades.

Carnival's current special runs until Tuesday, September 8.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Summit
Celebrity Summit

Celebrity is running its "Book Now Bonus" through September 15. This offers savings of up to $500 per person on cruise fares ($200 for regular accommodations, $500 for cabin categories in The Retreat), along with complimentary Classic Beverage Packages for all cabin occupants.

Celebrity's current promotion is available for all new bookings made by September 15, 2020. Voyages must be four-nights or longer, and include sailings departing between January 1, 2021 and May 4, 2022 excluding voyages to the Galapagos.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Crystal
Celestyal Crystal

Although it is paused until the spring of 2021, Celestyal Cruises is rolling out the incentives for travellers looking to book one of its 3,4,7 and 14-night inclusive cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Bookings made between now and September 30 for 2021 departures (or November 30 for 2022 departures) are eligible for reduced fares and reduced deposits of only $150 per stateroom. Single supplements for solo travellers have also been reduced to just 15 percent.

Celestyal just added a new addition to its fleet during the pandemic, purchasing Costa Cruises' former Costa neoRomantica and re-naming it Celestyal Experience. It joins Celestyal Olympia and Celestyal Crystal in operating Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea voyages next spring.

Cunard Line

Transatlantic Cruise Tips (Photo: Cunard Line)
Transatlantic Cruise Tips (Photo: Cunard Line)

Cunard's Labor Day Sale is on between now and Tuesday, September 8. It offers a total of over 50 select voyages aboard the line's three iconic vessels for as little as $999 and 50 percent reduced deposits.

Cunard is currently paused until Spring 2021, making these offers applicable on sailings departing for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

Emerald Waterways

Ship Exterior on Emerald Star
Ship Exterior on Emerald Star

Emerald Waterways is offering up a special deal on its 2021 river cruises through France.

Passengers booking any 2021 French river cruise of eight days or longer will receive either $1,500 savings per couple, or economy-class airfare roundtrip for $295 per person. Passengers booking 2021 river cruises through France will also be treated to all DiscoverMORE shore excursions -- which normally carry an additional fee -- for free.

Travellers booking the five-day Christmas river cruise through France will receive $1,000 savings per couple; or roundtrip airfare for $695 per person.

Emerald Waterways is running this offer on bookings made through October 31, 2020.

Holland America Line

Exploring Alaska with Holland America Line (Photo: Holland America Line)
Nieuw Amsterdam in Alaska (Photo: Holland America Line)

Holland America is rolling out its "Save Now, Cruise Later, Have it All" promotion on 2021 voyages to Alaska and Europe.

Passengers who book voyages to Alaska and Europe in 2021 are being offered free drinks, free gratuities, a free signature dining package; free Wi-Fi for passengers booking suite accommodations; and a 50 percent reduced deposit.

In addition, shore excursion reservations are 20 percent off until September 9.

This promotion is valid for new bookings made for the aforementioned destinations by September 9, 2020.

MSC Cruises

MSC US Feb Advertorial
MSC US Feb Advertorial

MSC Cruises has ongoing special running for its 2021 Caribbean cruises departing from Miami and Port Canaveral (Orlando). MSC's "All-In" offer includes free drinks with MSC's Easy Drink package, along with complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Drink packages and Wi-Fi also work on MSC's own private island, Ocean Cay.

Cruises currently start at $329 per person.

Princess Cruises

Exterior shot of Caribbean Princess in the Caribbean
Caribbean Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

Princess is running its "Upgrade Away" sale between now and September 30, 2020, on all cruises and cruisetours departing March 2021 and beyond.

This includes a free stateroom location upgrade on all applicable sailings, along with Princess Plus perks that include a premium beverage package with gratuities; unlimited Wi-Fi internet access; and all shipboard gratuities covered.

When booking online, customers should look for the Princess Plus designation or the Upgrade Away designation. Unbundled fares that do not include Princess Plus are still available.

Regent Seven Seas

Seven Seas Splendor (Photo: Regent Seven Seas)
Seven Seas Splendor (Photo: Regent Seven Seas)

Luxury line Regent is rolling out the deals for 2021, offering a free two-category suite upgrade on select 2021 voyages to Alaska, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean as part of its "Elevate Your Experience" promotion.

The two-category upgrade is offered up to the Penthouse Suite level.

Customers booking Concierge Suites will be offered a complimentary one-night, pre-cruise hotel stay.

Regent is also reducing deposits to just 10 percent of the total fare under this promotion. The line is also offering its "Regent Reassurance" program that allows travellers to cancel up to 15 days in advance of their sailing provided bookings are made by September 30, 2020 for voyages departing through October 31, 2021.

Regent's Elevate Your Experience promotion runs until September 30, 2020.

Royal Caribbean

Exterior shot of a lit-up Oasis of the Seas sailing at sunset
Oasis of the Seas (Image: Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 60 percent off the second guest and up to $150 in instant savings off 2021 sailings, plus "kids sail free."

Booked passengers, however, will find a lot to like about Royal's new "Sun's Out, Sale's On" program that offers beverage packages for up to 45 percent off the normal rate; up to 40 percent off shore excursions; up to 65 percent off available VOOM internet packages; up to 55 percent off dining packages; and up to 20 percent off shipboard activities like Royal Caribbean's "All Access" behind-the-scenes tour.

Royal Caribbean's "Sun's Out, Sale's On" promotion runs until September 9 and is valid on sailings departing from November 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.


Exterior shot of Scenic Eclipse cruising the Northwest Passage coastline
Scenic Eclipse (Photo: Scenic)

Scenic is offering a suite upgrade credit on its 10-day Aegean Adventure itinerary departing from Piraeus (Athens) on April 26, 2021.

Among the highlights of the itinerary is the ship's maiden call on the Greek island of Kea, also known as Tzia. Here, passengers will be taken on an underwater excursion aboard Scenic Eclipse's six-person submarine, Scenic Neptune, for a look at the undersea landscape that is home to several shipwrecks, including that of the HMHS Britannic, sister-ship to the RMS Titanic, which sank off Kea in 1916.

Passengers booking this sailing before October 31 will enjoy a $500 per person suite upgrade credit.


Ship Exterior on Seabourn Ovation
Ship Exterior on Seabourn Ovation

Seabourn is offering its Sensational Suite Savings promotion between now and September 30 on select voyages to the Mediterranean in 2021.

Prospective passengers can take advantage of several offers that Seabourn says may include a 50 percent reduced deposit; complimentary suite upgrades; up to $600 USD shipboard credit per suite; per-guest air credits; and up to 600 minutes of complimentary shipboard internet.

Passengers booking one of Seabourn's Penthouse or Premium suites can receive up to $2,000 shipboard credit per suite, along with an unlimited internet package.


Aft exterior shot of Silver Moon during the ship's sea trials
Silver Moon (Photo: Silversea)

Luxury line Silversea offers a number of promotions at the moment, including early booking promotions and reduced solo occupancy fares.

Silversea's Double Bonus promotion, however, is the one that will likely interest most cruisers. The line is offering a reduced deposit plus $1,000 onboard credit per suite and is combinable with other offers.

This offer is valid on bookings made by October 31, 2020.

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady arrives in Dover
Scarlet Lady in Dover (Photo: Dover Strait Shipping)

Virgin is one of the few lines offering pricing discounts on future cruises. If the pricing for Virgin's initial 2020 voyages was off-putting, its late-2020 and early 2021 sailings are a downright bargain in some cases.

Passengers can save on the line's four, five and seven-night voyages to the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

The current lowest-priced sailing, a four-night journey in December 2021, starts at just $575 per passenger, or "sailor" in Virgin Voyages' nautical parlance.

This promotion is ongoing.

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