Grab your cruise cabin during National Plan A Cruise Month.
P&O's short cruises are becoming increasingly popular.Image: Mark Fitz Photography.

It’s the eternal question – how long should I wait to book my cruise, in order to get the best deal possible?

There’s no simple answer to that question as different cruise lines are almost constantly rolling out new offers, promotions and incentives to get Australians across the line. That said, a new initiative supported by most of the major cruise lines, scheduled for October, will most likely result in the mass release of some of the most competitive fares across both ocean and river cruising lines across the world. Travellers are in the box seat to reap the benefits.

It’s called “National Plan A Cruise Month” and it’s the time when many travel agencies across the country and many cruise lines all join together to create, promote and sell some of the best value fares for voyages all over the world. More often than not, you’ll be able to secure a cabin for a great price, but with a whole host of free extras such as onboard credit, a specialty dining experience or two, or maybe even a cabin upgrade or a free shore excursion.

Australia will welcome Emerald Princess for the first time in November.
Emerald Princess will be cruising Australian waters from November this year.

October however is still six months away and between now and then, you’ll see many more promotions pass before your eyes, so if the deal is right for you, go ahead and book. The initiative is an expansion of a similar promotion – Cruise Week – which has been running in Australia for a number of years.

If you’re a regular customer of your local travel agent, there’s a good chance you could even score an invitation to some special events they might be planning for National Plan A Cruise Month. Go along, enjoy some champagne and canapés, learn more about the different cruise lines you might like and take advantage of some of the deals that will be on sale at the time.

National Plan A Cruise Month will run for the entire month and coincides with the start of the peak cruising season, when all of the biggest ship are arriving back in local waters for the summer. In fact, this can also work to your favour if you’re ready to pack your bags and set sail with little notice, as a cruise line may also sweeten the deal to an irresistible level on their cruises departing in the immediate weeks thereafter.

Great cruise deals are always available during National Plan A Cruise Month.
If you’re booking your cruise in October, look out for this logo and you’re on the money.