I just pontificated on Cruise Critic, talking about Transatlantic cruises, when and how to choose which one. This was in response to a specific question about whether others waited until after final payment date to take advantage of possible price drop. Thought I would share those thoughts here…
The things I consider when looking at transatlantics or other repositioning cruises:
1. What time of year? Early fall or late fall? Early spring or late spring? Weather conditions?
2. Start point. End point. Are these places I would like to spend extra time? Our first TA was from Southampton to San Juan. Great! Visited friends and relatives pre-cruise, spent some quality time in San Juan post-cruise. Our most recent was Civitavecchia to Lauderdale. Good time in Florence for a few days before heading to the port. Easy to get out of South Florida quickly post-cruise.
3. Cruise line. Available lectures, games, whatever, which will amuse us and keep us from boredom on multiple sea days? Not a big issue for us, we can find plenty to amuse ourselves, but some will go stir crazy.
4. Cabin availability? We like to pick our own. Particularly on longer trips.
There is a site that keeps a list of Transatlantics. You could look there for possibilities. See how they might fit your priorities similar to above.
I have adopted the strategy of booking almost as soon as a desired itinerary is announced. I then watch the price, get my fare adjusted down if/when the price drops. If I had a bit more flexibility I wouldn’t mind a last minute booking either. Biggest downer might be the higher air fares with a late booking.
I sometimes read horror stories about cruises being ruined (and maybe lives being ruined forever!) because of a cabin issue. Too hot, too cold, too noisy, no good shows on TV, bed too hard, bed too soft, whatever. I like to choose, but I’ve booked “guarantees” as well. You are on a cruise. People waiting on you hand and foot. Plenty of good food, drinks. Interesting other people around you. The ever changing ocean as far as you can see. Brilliant stars at night. How can one not be happy no matter how bad the room is?