What The Heck Is Wave Season

In simple terms, Wave Season is like Black Friday -- except three months long, and for cruises.
01/22/2016 11:36 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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What the heck is wave season?

In simple terms, Wave Season is like Black Friday -- except three months long, and for cruises.

Wave Season rolls ashore (pun intended) in January and runs until March - conveniently after the holiday buzz has died down and when consumers have extra time to focus on their travel plans for the coming year. As a result, the cruise lines concoct their most aggressive deals at this time to incentivize travelers to get onboard.

Hands down, Wave Season is the best time of the year to book a cruise. With access to many diverse offers, Wave Season enthusiasts (that's you!) can expect to see not only hot fares, but extra perks such as:

  • Onboard credits
  • Prepaid gratuities
  • Unlimited drinks
  • Specialty dining packages
  • Shore excursions

Many cruise lines are even giving guests a choice of these amenities, understanding that every traveler's vacation needs are different. Booking early in Wave Season also allows guests to have first pick of the best cabins.

Although last-minute sailings are typically part of the deal, Wave Season is more designed for people planning their vacations far ahead of time -- the rewards are certainly worth the wait.

$2000 Off: 16-Night Antarctica & Patagonia Cruise
Depart Dec. 6; additional dates available

$1399: 7 Nights through the Mediterranean on a Yacht w/Hotel Stay & Credit
Depart June 25; July 9; Aug. 6, 13, 20; Sept. 17 (prime summer dates)

$849: Balcony on World's Largest Ship w/Tips, Credit & Spa
Depart May 7, 15; +$50-$100 other April-May dates

Allison Friendly Kobasky is a deal expert at Travelzoo and based in Miami. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.