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Here’s the Cheapest Time of Year to Cruise from Galveston

As Galveston has grown as a cruise port, it has gone from dozens of sailings each year to hundreds. Carnival and Royal Caribbean now sail year-round, and Disney offers seasonal service.

This is fantastic for cruisers. The boom in sailings means we have more options than ever on cruise lines, dates, and ships. It also means there is more competition than ever, leading to some pretty good deals. That said, it doesn’t mean every cruise from the island is dirt cheap.

We always knew that prices for cruises varied wildly and that it seemed more expensive to cruise in the summer. What we didn’t know, however, was just how much prices could vary, or when you could find the lowest prices.

That’s why we decided to do some research into prices. Given that there are dozens of different combinations of cruise lines, itineraries, and trip lengths, this was tough. For instance, there might be a Royal Caribbean trip that cruises the same route regularly (which gives us the chance to look at prices each week), but will then shift to a completely different trip.

There was one cruise we found, however, that sails regularly for the next year. This gives us the ability to compare prices week after week.

Carnival offers a 5-day trip that sails from Galveston to Progreso, Mexico and then to Cozumel. This trip runs regularly for at least the next year, giving us a chance to map prices over the course of 12 months. Right now the trip is aboard the Carnival Triumph, but will soon be sailed by the Carnival Freedom and Liberty.

We took at look at every sailing from now until October 2016, which comes out to 45 different trips. Below we’ve charted the prices for a single person in an interior room (this is the lowest rate available). Take a look:

The first thing that jumps out are the huge spikes in prices. We labeled each of these spikes, which correspond with times like Spring Break and Summer Break. This confirms the rule of thumb that it’s most expensive to cruise when kids are out of school and families can sail.

But what about the cheapest time to cruise? For this trip we found six dates that offer a trip for $309, which was the lowest rate for the next year. Those dates were:

January 25, 2016
February 8, 2016
September 5, 2016
September 10, 2016
September 19, 2016
September 24, 2016

As you can see, this list is dominated by September 2016 — right after the end of Summer Break.

Keep in mind that prices can and do fluctuate, so you might not see the exact prices you see in the chart above. That said, the peaks and valleys of pricing will stay the same.

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