Right now — from January to March — is "wave season," a three-month period of time where cruise lines and travel agents are booking out cruises for the year. 

But is wave season really the best time to book a cruise? According to data tracked over time from the booking website of Carnival Cruises ($CCL), the largest cruise line in the world by passengers carried, wave season doesn't appear to be the most frugal time to drop some money for a course for the open seas.

The  average price of all possible listed configurations for Carnival Cruises is pretty level over time, but there is one key trend that has emerged in the past two years of data.


Wave season, according to the data, shows an overall price increase — the opposite of what cruise experts would have you believe. At the end of October, the average price for a cruise sinks and stays at the lowest levels for the year up until the end of November or December.

Even then, for individual ships, destinations, and itineraries, pricing can fluctuate. Inventory (i.e. rooms available) and special deals from outside vendors (travel agents) can make for better purchases during this season.

But, in terms of inventory on Carnival's website, the data shows that there are more rooms that go up for sale during the months when prices are low.

So while your options may be limited when booking a cruise in November, if you're just looking to get away for a few days, it may actually be the best time to book — and yes, probably better than "wave season."

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