Yes indeed! Unlike ocean cruises where it may pay to book closer to departure dates, river cruises must be booked early or you risk not going as there is great demand for river cruises and river cruise ships have a much smaller capacity. Other reasons to book early are:
The sooner you book the flight, the better. Most airlines, both scheduled and low cost, have better fares many months in advance and most reservation systems allow you to book a year ahead. This means that you not only get a better choice of airline but more often than not a far better fare. For any routes with non-direct flights you are also more likely to get better flight times for the connecting flights.
By booking early you can take control of your accommodation and get your preferred cabin type and even deck. Upper and Middle Deck cabins on a river cruise ship are often the preferred option as they tend to have the large panoramic windows whereas lower decks usually have portholes. So if you like to have fine views provided by a large window or balcony, booking early means you get exactly what you want.
Many of the river cruise companies offer fantastic savings for booking far in advance. Booking early is the best way to take advantage of special river cruise savings as well as to enjoy the best choice of cabins.
By booking early you also get to travel on the dates you want. River cruises tend to sell out very early sometimes up to 12 months or more ahead. If you are planning to travel in summer 2018 then book at least 10 months in advance. European river cruises also have shoulder seasons which tend to be early and late in the season (April/October) when cruises can be had more cheaply. May, June and September are the most popular months and prices during that time are usually 15 to 20% higher.
And the best thing about booking early? Without doubt it’s having a fantastic holiday to look forward to – by booking early there’s a tantalising and well deserved reward for your all your hard work where superb service, great food, beautiful landscapes and interesting sites await.